In this article, we will explain everything that has to do with tipping in the United States because we know that going to a restaurant is a fundamental part of the experience of visiting another country as a tourist or as an English student.
In each country, tipping is different. In some, giving them is an offense, as in Japan; in others, the offense is not giving them. But what are tips like in the United States?
Tipping in the United States?
The custom of tipping in restaurants was born in Europe: when an aristocrat paid, he always left something extra. Soon this began to be copied by the rest of the population.
Tipping in the United States arose as a direct consequence of this European custom. Those who had traveled to Europe began to leave additional amounts at North American restaurants.
Mind you: even for Europeans, American tipping got out of control. Suddenly, it began to be said in Europe that Americans tipped too much.
Tipping become so common in the United States that in the 1960s, the U.S. Congress allowed some restaurants to pay their employees below minimum wage, as long as they got tips. This remuneration was called “Tipping credit”.
How does tipping work in restaurants and cafes?
Tipping is not mandatory in the United States, but it is so common that if you don’t tip, you can earn the dislike of your service providers and even other customers.
The common consensus is that the tip should be between 15% and 20%. As long as it is in that range, your tip will be considered normal or correct. But really, any tip less than 20% will make waiters wonder what they did wrong.
Tipping in the United States: Tips are the real salary
For those who work in cafes and restaurants, tips are the real salary. Remember what we explained above: in the 1960s, an act of Congress allowed restaurants and cafes to pay below minimum wage to their employees as long as they compensated with tips.
For example, it is common for waiters to work 30 hours a week for a monthly salary of $200. This is unimaginable even in depressed economies. The difference is in the tips.
Thanks to tips, waiters can even earn more than $200 a night – or much more – depending on where they work.
Tips mean a lot to waiters. Many pay for their studies, their rents or assume family expenses from them.
Tipping in the United States: Sincerity comes first
Waiters usually invite their customers to be honest about the service and the quality of the food. But they are also willing to overcome all objections and confront customers. In other words, it is normal to have a debate if you don’t want to leave a tip.
The waiter is unlikely to remain silent in the face of what he considers an injustice, and that makes tips a constant presence in payments.
Of course, when you have had a bad time because of the restaurant or the coffee, it is common to be well rewarded.
Tips on other items
The custom of tipping is so naturalized in the United States that tips are handed out even in restaurants. They are also expected in cabs, hairdressers, and anywhere customer service is provided. But let’s take a look at the main ones.
Tipping in the United States: Tipping in transportation
Cab drivers usually have a digital display on which people can choose how much to tip. The minimum is 15%.
And what is the customer’s benefit in all this? Careful attention. Cab drivers will try to give you the best deal possible so that you don’t just leave them 15%, but more. And if you decide not to tip them, they will ask you what they did wrong.
In the case of valets, it’s a good idea to always have some dollar bills on hand. They generally expect a tip of between one and three dollars.
Tipping in hairdressing salons
In the case of hairdressers and barbershops, the work requires so much commitment to the client and his tastes that it is common to offer a tip of between 20% and 25% of the total price.
For those who don’t, you can be sure that it will be best to change salons next time.
What is the correct way to tip?
The workers of any commercial establishment will be deeply grateful if you leave them tips in cash. Otherwise, they will first pass through the hands of the manager.
However, never let that be an excuse for not tipping. Tips are the driving force behind the work of the entire service industry in the United States. So, when you come, always keep that in mind.
Do you want to come to the United States to study English?
If you want to spend an unforgettable time in the United States learning English and getting to know the culture of the nation, write to us today!
At Lingua Language Center, we offer different English programs to help you learn the language quickly through total immersion. We take care of all the details of your logistics: where you will stay, your food, and your entertainment…
Don’t miss this opportunity. Our consultants are ready to give you all the information you need.