Tipping 101: Your Guide to Giving the Right Tip Every Time

Finally, your "who, when, and how much" questions about tipping, answered.

01_Tips_Tipping_101istock/studiocasper

Tipping is arguably the most stressful part of eating out (besides actually choosing a restaurant). There are no set rules to tell you the exact amount you should give your server, so you’re left guessing how to convert service quality into cash. Plus, figuring out tips for other services, like travel or beauty treatments, is just as confusing.

Luckily, we got you covered. We’ve compiled the best tips on tipping from The Emily Post Institute, Thrillist, and MoneyTalksNews. Here’s the low-down on who you should tip and how much.

Dining and take-out:

Wait staff: 15-20 percent for average service; 10 percent for horrible service; 30 percent or more for excellent service (These are the secrets your waiter wishes you knew.)
Bartender: $1 per drink at high volume bars; 15-20 percent at a cocktail bar
Take-out (whoever prepares your to-go order): No tip necessary; if it’s a complicated order, 10 percent
Delivery driver: 10-15 percent; 20 percent if the weather is bad; $2-5 for pizza, depending on the size of the order
Barista: $1 per drink; no tip necessary for coffee chain employees (Starbucks baristas don’t appreciate these annoying coffee shop habits.)

Hospitality:

Housekeeper: $2-5 per night in a hotel; leave the note with the cash so the housekeeper knows it’s a tip (Here’s how professional cleaners keep their own homes clean.)
Taxi driver: 15-20 percent; extra $1-2 per bag
Valet parking: $2
Doorman: $1-4 for carrying luggage; $1-2 for hailing a cab
Bellhop: $1-2 per bag; extra $2-3 for room delivery
Coatroom attendant: $1 per coat

Salon/spa:

Hair stylist/barber: 15-20 percent (Stylists reveal how to make the most out of your appointment.)
Manicurist: 15 percent
Spa services (waxing, massage, etc.): 20 percent (Before you head to the spa, read up on proper spa etiquette.)

Other tips on tipping:

  • Before you tip, check if gratuity has already been added to your bill.
  • Calculate tips based on original prices, even if it’s happy hour or your order has a discount.
  • If you want to become the beloved regular at your bar, tip bartenders generously (50 percent). For the same title at a coffee joint, put $5 straight into the tip jar. Being friendly and starting conversations will also get you remembered, and getting on the employees’ good side could get you a free drink in the future.
  • Don’t leave your tip out in the open. Give it to the server directly, put it in the holder the check came in, or use a credit card.
  • If people can’t or won’t accept tips, still give them a handshake and a sincere “Thank you.”

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