The Pros and Cons of Leaving a Tip

There is a move afoot by some weary domestic travelers, hit up at every turn with an outstretched hand, to drop the American tradition of tipping. The practice took root around the time of the Civil War and has lingered on our continent while losing favorability on most others.

“Most consumers should realize if there’s no tipping, [businesses] still have to compensate the staff, so the money is going to be built into menu prices anyway,” suggests University of Houston’s Dr. Dennis Reynolds, Dean of the Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management. “I think tipping is good because I think it provides an incentive for good service.”

Food services that don’t include tips, on average, add 21-25% to the cost of menu items. Tipping gives you the choice instead.

But, says Dr. Reynolds, you should always tip when expected. If the service isn’t good speak to the manager, but don’t withhold a tip. Odds are, whatever your problem with a dish, it wasn’t the servers fault, and the person whose work disappointed you probably won’t be impacted by your failure to provide a tip to someone making $2.13 an hour, the standard minimum wage for someone whose salary includes tips. How much to leave? “Standard for most people, at least in the United States, is 15% for average service, and 20% for fantastic service. You can always tip more,” says Dr. Reynolds.

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