Survey: fewer people say they "always tip" when they go out to eat in 2021

Posted at 5:35 AM, Jul 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 05:37:08-04

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot about the way Americans buy their meals and despite more people relying on carry-out or delivery, our tipping habits may not have kept up.

A new poll, published Monday on CreditCards.com, found that about 75-percent of customers who eat at sit-down restaurants in 2021 always leave a tip and about five percent never do. The number of people who always tip is down two points from 77-percent in 2019, according to the survey. The number of people who tip their delivery drivers also fell about four points to 59-percent.

But the number of people who tip regularly also depends on how old you are. In fact, CreditCards.com looked at how each generation tipped and found that older generations are more likely to tip restaurant staff every time they dine out. The website put together this graph to break it down:

The survey found that fewer consumers who are Millennials and in Generation Z will tip regularly but when they do, they tend to tip higher amounts.

Overall, though, customers will tip the standard amounts for various food services; people typically leave a 20-percent tip when dining at a sit-down restaurant, tip food delivery drivers about 17-percent and leave a 15-percent tip when picking up takeout meals.

How much should you tip?

The amount you tip really depends on the scenario you're in. CreditCards.com created these guidelines for you to follow when considering how much you tip:

SettingService PersonScenarioTip Amount
Sit-down restaurantServer/waitstaff or a bartender who serves you a full meal at the barYou order drinks and mealMinimum of 15 to 20-percent, or more for exceptional service
Breakfast/lunch restaurantStaff who fill water glasses and clear dishesSelf-service buffet$1 to $2 per diner
RestaurantCashierPicking up takeoutTip not required, but a few dollars is a nice gesture
Taxi or rideshareDriverGetting a rideMinimum 15-percent, and 20-percent or more if they assist you with heavy luggage
Grocery or discount storeEmployee/shopperCurbside pickupMost stores do not allow tipping, but a few dollars is a nice gesture if allowed
Restaurant meal deliveryDelivery driverGetting a meal delivered to youMinimum 20-percent or $5, whichever is higher
HotelHousekeepersGetting your room cleaned daily$3 to $5 per day, and don’t wait until the end of your stay to tip since staff change

You can find the full survey, along with tips on tipping from etiquette experts by clicking here.