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The Tipping Point

3 Minute Read

For years, the gold standard for tipping in the service industry has been 15%. Restaurant servers, hotel workers, valets and cab drivers could usually expect a tip somewhere in the 15% range for providing good service.

But have things changed?

Wallet Pop recently reported an Allmenus.com survey that says tips on pizza deliveries dropped 2% during the recession. Another study by Payscale indicated that some servers experienced a 50% drop in their tips—which, if you know the service industry, make up a large portion of their income.

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As the economy has slowly rebounded, Wallet Pop says tipping at restaurants and for food delivery has slowly rebounded. But has the economy changed the way you tip?

We recently asked this question to Dave’s fans on Facebook and received nearly 600 widely varied and highly opinionated responses.

“My tipping habits do not change,” Sarah said. “I worked in that industry during college and know how it is. If I can afford to go out to eat, I can afford to tip appropriately.” Renee agreed: “15% minimum…more according to the level of service. Waiters and waitresses only make about $3 an hour without their tips. Plus, they have to tipshare!”

Joy says her tipping has increased: “I used to tip servers 15%, more if service was excellent. Then I made the conscious decision to be more generous. If I can afford to eat out, I can afford to tip the hardworking wait staff generously. Now I tip 20% minimum, usually more, unless the service was terrible.”

On the other side of the issue, Karl compared tipping to tithing. “10% for all,” he said. “If it’s good enough for the Lord, who’s to complain?” Needless to say, Karl’s comment wasn’t well received on Facebook.

Mark thought 10% was too much to tip. “For me, I leave between 5% and 7%, and I feel that I am being very generous. I just feel that the restaurant should pay their own help, not the customer.

Courtney adds, “I don't understand why servers think they deserve a tip for just doing their job. None of the rest of the world gets a tip for just doing what they are supposed to. I tip 20% when the service is excellent, and that is the only time.”

So where do you stand on tipping? Does the percentage you tip change based on how you are doing financially? Or do you stay consistent with how much you give to wait staff and others in the service industry? What is your tipping point?

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