How to Tip in the United States

international student voice magazine Restaurant-tip
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Leaving a tip can be different depending on the type of restaurant you visit and what you order. Check out our tips!

At Restaurants

  • Typically 15%-20% of the total bill before taxes
  • If wine was served with dinner, it’s still OK to tip 15%-20% of the total bill, including the alcohol.
  • If you just get alcohol and need to tip the bartender, it’s usually 15%-20% of the bill (also called a tab) or tip $1 for beer or wine and $2 for mixed drinks.
  • If you order at the front of the restaurant and then they bring to the food to your table, it’s OK not to tip. For example: you are at Wendy’s and they have to bring you the food because it wasn’t ready yet. You wouldn’t leave a tip.

At Cafes

  • Most cafes have a tip jar at the counter where you can leave money. This is optional. If you decide to tip it’s 5%-10% for good service or complicated orders.

At Buffets

  • If it’s a “fast food” setting and no one really has to wait on you, no tip is necessary.
  • If you have a waitress or waiter who takes your drink order and checks up on you, then $1 or $2 would be an appropriate ti

At Fine Dining

  • If it’s valet parking, the parking attendant usually receives $1-$3.
  • If there’s a coatroom attendant, it’s usually $1 per coat.
  • The tip for the waiter is 15%-20% of the total bill before tax.
  • If you have a wine steward it’s 10% of the total wine bill.
  • If there’s a restroom attendant it’s usually 50 cents to $1.

Pizza Delivery

  • Minimally $1, but usually 15% of the total bill. Try to tip a little more if the weather is bad.


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