Pew Research Poll Reveals Alarming Lack of Tipping Among Americans

A poll by Pew Research Center reveals that the majority of Americans leave a 15% tip or less for a typical sit-down meal, and many are dissatisfied with other tipping situations

Recent survey findings indicate that many Americans are not being as generous to their servers when it comes to tipping.

The Pew Research Center poll of 12,000 people, which came out on Thursday, shows that 57 percent of American diners tip 15% or less for a typical sit-down meal, “including 2% who say they wouldn’t leave any tip,” Pew researchers wrote.

Only about 22 percent of people said they would leave a tip of 20% or more,” Pew found.

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Factors Influencing Americans’ Tipping Habits

The poll found that the amount people tip varies based on factors such as age, income, and other criteria.

Younger adults are slightly more likely to be more generous with their tips than their older counterparts, who tend to be more conservative with their wallets, the poll found.

According to Pew, for some, the tipping pattern changes depending on the location. At fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle and Sweetgreen, or quick stops at coffee shops, only about 25% of Americans say they will usually or frequently tip.

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Americans’ Growing Frustration with Tipping Expectations

Many survey respondents expressed frustration over the increasing expectations to leave tips in various settings beyond restaurants.

According to Pew, 72% of people said that tipping is now expected in more places than five years ago. Only about a third of respondents said they find it easy to determine when and how much to tip for different types of services, like food deliveries and pet sitters.

To alleviate the guesswork and ensure that their staff receive adequate tips, many bars and nightclubs now include gratuity in the bill, typically ranging from 18 to 25%.

“I’ll look at the bill and see a 20 percent gratuity charge,” Lawrence Edgerton of New York City told USA TODAY about some of his experiences getting drinks with co-workers.

“Like, how they even know I like the service?” said Edgerton, a membership coordinator at a private club. “In cases like this I don’t add an extra tip.”

Kaia Grey, a 24-year-old flight attendant in Washington, D.C., says it seems like service fees are the norm at bars, restaurants and lounges in the country’s capital.

“I literally can’t go anywhere in D.C., and it will be a service fee,” she said. “I have to be mindful when ordering because the more I order, the higher the surprise fee is.”

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When to Tip?

While tipping is a common practice when dining at a restaurant, there appears to be confusion around when to tip in other settings. Many people are uncertain about when and how much to tip in situations such as hotel stays, haircuts, or rideshares.

“Even as Americans say they’re being asked to tip more often, relatively few have a great deal of confidence about when and how to do so,” Pew researchers said.


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