Service workers in the United States rely on tips as an important part of their income. Whether you’re visiting American soil for the first time or just want to know who to tip when you stay at a hotel, having an understanding of American tipping etiquette is important. Rules for hotel tipping, restaurant tipping and tipping for other services are basically the same throughout the country.
Restaurant Tipping Guide
Whether you’re eating at a diner or a five-star restaurant, any U.S. restaurant tipping guide will tell you that leaving your server a 15 to 20 percent tip is standard practice. If the service you’ve received is exceptional, tipping more than 20 percent is appreciated.
Some restaurants will add a gratuity charge to your bill if you’re dining with a large number of people. In this case, leaving an additional tip isn’t necessary.
Exceptions to this basic tipping etiquette include restaurants that offer only counter service. Generally, no tip is expected. However, if you feel that tipping for services is warranted, most counter service restaurants offer a jar for leaving tips.
For many travelers, hotel tipping can be confusing. In the United States, basic hotel tipping etiquette is as follows:
- Give porters about $1 per bag, or slightly more if it’s a very nice hotel.
- Leave housekeeping staff $2 to $10 per day, again depending on the level of the hotel.
- Tip your hotel concierge $5 to $10 for dinner reservations or other services.
Tipping Etiquette: Who to Tip?
It’s common for workers outside of the hotel and restaurant industries to receive tips as well. Drivers, including taxis and hired cars, should be tipped between 10 and 20 percent of the total bill or fare. This rule doesn’t usually apply to drivers of public transport, unless the driver is also a tour guide. In that case, tipping a few dollars as a gesture of appreciation is standard.
Tipping etiquette also calls for tipping for services from hairdressers, valet parking attendants, delivery personnel, cleaning staff and pet care providers. In such cases, it’s best to use your common sense when deciding how much to tip, keeping in mind the value the services have to you.
If you’re not sure who to tip, a service and restaurant tipping guide can be very helpful. They are available at bookstores and online.