Did you know that the amount you tip should greatly depend on the type of restaurant or store that you are visiting?
While the basic 15-20% tip is a good measure to live by, in certain situations that may not be the case.
That said, it is very important to tip at any U.S. restaurant because the federal mandated hourly minimum wage for tipped employees is actually only $2.13, compared to $7.25 for all other employees.
This is because the employee is meant to make up the difference in tips from customers.
While this system may not be the best, and other countries generally don’t have differential minimum wages for tipped employees, the U.S. does and therefore tipping at least 15% for a full-service meal is a necessity.
Read on to learn three situations where this rule may not apply, and how much to tip based on the type of food and service.
How Much to Tip in Three Scenarios
Navigating tipping etiquette can be difficult in unusual restaurants, and you may be over-tipping without even realizing it.
Make sure you are familiar with the rules below before heading out on your next delicious outing.
1. Buffet-Style Restaurants
For buffet-style restaurants, it can be hard to gauge the tip amount when the server is not bringing all of the food out to you or taking your order.
However, these servers still clear your plates, answer any concerns or questions, and refill beverages for your table.
Therefore, it is generally best to tip about $1 per person at the table, or you can decide on a percent between 5-10% based on the level of service.
2. Coffee Shops
In coffee shops, especially independent ones, it can be difficult to know the appropriate amount to tip your favorite barista.
Moreover, more and more shops provide you with the option to electronically tip at the end of the transaction, forgoing the need for cash and coins.
If you ordered a more complex or expensive beverage, opt to tip around 5-7%. For a $5 latte, that works out to be a little more than a quarter.
However, if you ordered a drip coffee or another easily prepared beverage, don’t worry about foregoing the tip and saving yourself money.
3. Carry Out and Delivery
For takeout, it is still best to tip about 10%, as generally the preppers and the cashier are dependent on tips for their income as well.
Additionally, the answer to how much to tip for food delivery will depend on the type of food delivery service you choose.
For pizza delivery, somewhere between $2 and $4 is best, as the delivery fee does not include their salary. If your order is very large, consider tipping more, especially if they are willing to help you get the pizza inside.
Other types of delivery such as Door Dash or Uber Eats will depend on how much you order, but generally, you should be tipping at least $5, and somewhere between 10-15%.
Tip the Right Amount Every Time
Overall, it can be hard to remember how much to tip every time, but this article should help guide you in these three scenarios.
In addition to these general rules, it is also important to consider the type of dining experience you had, if you are on a date or not, and how fancy the restaurant is.
In closing, always aim to tip at least 10% when there is food involved, and closer to 5% if you are just getting drinks from a coffee shop.
For more information about restaurants etiquette, check out our article on the most important unspoken rules to remember when dining out.