Why Tipping Is So Out Of Control In The U.S.

Why Tipping Is So Out Of Control In The U.S.

Tipping in the United States is on the rise and experts are calling it tipflation. In the fourth quarter of 2022, the number of tips provided at full-service restaurants grew by 17% from the fourth quarter of 2021. Meanwhile the tip frequency at quick-service restaurants rose 16% during the same time period. Experts say that’s because of the newer and sleeker-looking Point-of-Sale, or POS, systems by tech companies like Square, Toast and Clover, who also have increased their sales as a result. The pressure to tip well in front of the tip receiver, before a service is completed, or in front of other customers makes a difference for many. After customers swipe their credit card, they’re typically prompted with three large tipping options on a screen. While businesses can opt out of the tipping feature, most aren’t. In fact, even Starbucks started prompting customers for tips in stores in September 2022. With Americans being pressured to tip higher percentages and for more services, the question is, where is the tipping point?

00:00 — Introduction
02:25 — Why we tip
04:09 — Tipping in 2023
05:45 — Big Tech
09:14 — Tipping point

Produced by: Emily Lorsch
Edited by: Jacob Harrell
Senior Managing Producer: Tala Hadavi
Graphics by: Midnight Snacks

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Why Tipping Is So Out Of Control In The U.S.

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38 Responses

  1. BrainOwn says:

    Its literally a way for employers to get out of paying there employees. Passing the responsibility to pay onto the customer.

    • Dat F&F says:

      @Joe Jensen i never accept low offer order, it is not worth for 1 hour. Spark make their system stupid as 1 hour for 1 order. $8.5 10 or even $14 for 1 hour?

    • Jason Allen says:


    • Robert DesVeaux says:

      U nailed it

    • Dave S says:

      This is also true at casinos where dealers have come to expect geneous tips. With the amount of money that casinos make, I think they can afford to pay their dealers well.

    • Robert A says:

      he employees agree to the terms before they start the job, dont they? I tip 20% for expected good service and less if its bad in any way the waiter could be at fault!

  2. kirasmom says:

    I used to tip consistently and was extremely generous during the pandemic, but now, I’m avoiding places that always ask for a tip. I recently visited a Starbucks and bought a brownie, not heated. I did not leave a tip and was the only customer in the store. There was a group of three ladies who came in behind me.They all ordered food and drinks. They were all served their food which was heated and prepared, before I received my brownie. Coincidence? I live in California where minimum wage is at least $16.00 an hour, more in some cities. For me, it ruins the experience and just pushes me away from visiting food establishments. It’s a treat when I buy a snack and being asked to leave a $1.00 or more tip for a $3.50 brownie seems excessive.

    • Oscar Galvan says:

      @Darling2021 I call and tell them I’ll dispute and claim fraud. I always get a refund.

    • Iane Howe says:

      If server get paid 16/h then no one should tip. In NJ is 3.75/H that’s why we tip and i believe its wrong. Yet by law they do have to receive per hour the minimal per day if tip doesn’t cover. don’t tip if I’m picking up, or Starbucks etc

    • JAY says:

      Tipping is for the birds.

  3. JD Jackson says:

    My biggest issue with tipping is doing it before the service is completed. Like on Uber Eats and Other delivery apps. That’s just crazy! I tipped before and they got my order wrong. That’s ridiculous.

  4. Ben C says:

    When I first visited America in late 90s, tips were about avg 10%. Now minimum is 18%, avg 20-22%. Basically every time you dine out, you have to pay 20% more.
    Also, the pre-printed suggested tips on the bill are usually wrong because they include tax in the calculation. Remember, do NOT include tax in the calculation, you don’t need to tip Uncle Sam also. It won’t go to Uncle Sam’s pocket anyway.

  5. Scotto97 says:

    Restaurant prices have gone up some much in the past year, a 15% tip now gives the server a larger tip than 20% did back in 2021. That’s why my wife and I have decided to reduce our dining service tips from 20% to 15%. Business owners are using these larger tips to avoid giving servers a well-deserved wage. This will only continue if we allow it.

    • Gabe Lincoln says:

      Inflation. That’s why you don’t be broke

    • auguste k says:

      this is still very generous and a very good tip.

    • Pooja says:

      Not to mention that the 15% or 20% or whatever calculation is done AFTER adding sales tax on your bill!

    • •sEaDrAgOn• says:

      And the best part…. After the customer pays the wage they aren’t given a tax deduction like anyone else paying wages.
      But but but…. The g taxes the employee that received the gift after a certain amount.
      The company gets away with paying less wages, receiving tax breaks, and making record profits in MOST cases. Tips gotta go.

  6. Eyesyt7 says:

    You’re right, the tablets are so annoying. This entire thing has gotten so out of hand. Tips are supposed to be for good service, to reward someone for doing well. It shouldn’t be an excuse to pay people less and force customers to compensate. The solution is to start ignoring peer pressure and people’s fake moral demands.

  7. Dilla Dude says:

    Companies need to step up and pay their employees more. Don’t leave it up to the customers to provide decent wages!

    • Mykyta Yemelianovskyi says:

      ​@B B OK, and?
      What’s so bad about the prices rising, if that eliminates the need to tip servers every time?

    • zunedog31 says:

      @Manny Cry harder

    • Mark Bounds says:

      @Manny  not smart, many people make great money from tips. While we are making assumptions I’ll bet you think hamburger flippers at fast food chains should make 15$ per hour??

    • Manny says:

      @zunedog31  You clearly have a tenuous grasp of economics and financial concepts. Fact of the matter is, somebody has to do that job because there’s clearly a demand for it, and whoever those people are need to make enough for it to be a job worth doing at all, otherwise that job goes undone and then you’d have one less group of people to feel superior to. You clearly think there are people who deserve to make less than a job is worth while serving you as some sort of second class citizen. You’re not half the man you think you are.

    • Mark Bounds says:

      Quit being so cheap. Tip servers that do a good job. If they ask you for it then no way.

  8. Ed A says:

    “guilted” nailed it on the head. Even someone taking your order at a counter🤦🏻‍♂️.
    Tipping is for someone that *serves* you.

  9. Gymnasticsforever16 says:

    My main issue with tipping is that now it’s an obligation. You tip BEFORE you pick up your coffee or food in most businesses. Doordash and Grubhub are the same way too. Frankly it’s a concern to me that someone might spit in my drink/food or mess with it if I don’t tip well. There’s essentially a bribe effect going on; I’m bribing you with a tip to not mess with my food or drinks by tipping beforehand. And with everyone and their cousin and brother asking for a tip it feels like everything is higher than normal because you’re being pressured to tip for everything + the price of the item itself so a $5 coffee becomes a $6.75 coffee or a tea becomes $3 instead of a $1.75… and yes, for all the geniuses who are going to come for me saying ‘if you can’t afford to tip stay home’ yes I don’t go out regularly and when I do yes, I do in fact tip

    • el huge o says:

      you need to tip for delivery drivers. The cost of gas and taxes leaves them earning less than minimum wage. 95% of delivery people are only doing the job temporarily to pay bills.

    • el huge o says:

      ​@here to I’m sure it’s come with some added water n salt 💦 spit.

    • here to says:

      ​@Lazirus951 damn I never tip and my food comes fast when you live in good area you get good people

    • m ph says:

      @Louie Jimenez Nice thing about the delivery app is drivers get to see how much they get paid on the order before they accept it. So they just turn it down and it sits if it doesn’t pay enough🤣

    • Louie Jimenez says:

      ​@m ph sounds like a pretty stupid thing to work a job where you may not get paid. Living off the generosity of others is a risky thing to do.

  10. tou xiong says:

    Yes! I’m tired of seeing that tipping screen when I pay for food. Also, I’m tired of the donations being asked from billion-dollar franchises. I don’t mind tipping for excellent service when I DINE IN, but not when I’m there for takeout.

    • Celena Chandler says:

      Yes never donate through a billion dollar franchise. They use the amounts donated by consumers as a tax write off. Just donate directly to a charity instead. We cannot keep enabling these billion dollar company CEO’s to keep skirting tax obligations.

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