A Complete Guide to Tipping in the United States

Tipping in the United States is common in restaurants and bars. It shows thanks for great service. If you’re new to the U.S., get the facts about how to tip in America.

When Dining Out

A server carrying a tray of food

Most waiters make a minimum wage. This is about $2.15 an hour for tipped workers, and tips are designed to boost these wages. The 15 to 20 percent tip is added to the cost of your meal. At high-end restaurants, you may tip as much as 25 percent. If you are eating with a large group, the tip might be added to the bill.

In most cases, though, you will add the tip yourself. Tipping is not required by law. However, it is polite to tip. Not tipping can result in poor service.

For Take-out

If you pick up take-out food, you don’t need to tip. Some cafes have tip jars. Many diners put a dollar or two in the jar or some spare change. If you have food delivered, you should tip the driver. A delivery tip of 10 to 15 percent is common. As with dining out, this amount is added to the bill.

At the Bar

When drinking at an American bar, you should tip the bartender. They are considered tipped workers like waiters and also make a minimum wage of about $2.15 In general, tip $1 for every drink. For table service, tip at least 10 percent.

During Travel

At a hotel, tip $2 to $3 each night for housekeeping service. If a porter or concierge helps you, tip $1 or $2. A generous tip, in this case, is $5 or $10 for exceptional service. If you take a taxi, tip the driver 10 to 20 percent of your fare.

Learning common tipping practices can help you become more familiar with American culture. If you want to immerse yourself in both culture and language, consider English courses with ALCC American Language. We have been serving students from all over the world in New York City since 1975. Contact us (212) 736-2373 or learn more about online registration.

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