I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend and enjoyed the extra hour of sleep (or time spent anyway you pleased). Today's Manners Monday post was actually prompted by a reader, Amber Y., who wrote me a message on my Facebook wall last week and requested more information on how much to tip for various services (things that go beyond just restaurant tips).
Every classy woman should be armed with the knowledge of what to tip and when. So, today we'll explore various venues and general amounts that are appropriate as it pertains to everyday tipping etiquette in North America. We'll explore international tipping as well as holiday tipping at a later date so this post doesn't become insanely long. ;)
Everyday Tipping Etiquette
1. Host or Maitre d'- $10-$20 if they have gone above and beyond to provide you with a special table with a view, in a particular location of the restaurant, for a special evening or occasion or on a busy night. Nothing is required if they offer the standard of greeting and showing you to your table.
2. Restaurant Server (full service/sit down)- 15-20% is customary, the higher amount showing that you were quite pleased with the service, atmosphere and food. Tipping percentages are based on the before tax amount (there is no need to tip on top of tax). If an automatic gratuity is built into your check, you are not required to provide anything further, it is optional to tip on top of the amount included which is typically 18% for upscale restaurants and is typical when dining as a party of 6 or more.
3. Restaurant Server (basic service/buffet)-10% is customary before tax since these servers are generally replenishing drinks and clearing plates vs. taking full orders, specific requests and serving you multiple courses of your meal.
4. Take Out- 10% is optional if the order was large or complex, otherwise you are not obligated.
5. Curb-side pickup-Same rules apply as take-out, they'll bring it out to your car.
6. Home Delivery Service-10-15% of the bill is sufficient. Usually $2-5 dollars for pizza delivery depending on the size of the order and how difficult it is to get to the location is standard. (Think long country roads in the snow at night)
7. Bartender-$1-$2 on a per drink basis or 15-20% of the final tab
8. Tip Jar- Optional. Many people feel obligated to leave a tip when they see a tip jar but it's set up for Baristas at cafes, dry cleaners, etc. Anything is acceptable and is shared among the staff.
9. Valet- $2-$5 is customary upon the return of your car.
10. Restroom Attendant- Anywhere from 50 cents to $3.00 depending on the service offered. Such attendants usually supply paper towels, lotion, feminine products, mouthwash etc inside the restroom of upscale restrooms, special events and clubs for your convenience. You can simply avoid the extra service by not using any products and simply saying, "No, Thank you."
Salon & Spa Services:
1. Hair Stylist- 15-20% for hair cuts, color, highlights & updos. If you're service pertains to your wedding day and you feel more is appropriate, your stylist will be grateful for the extra. *Please note that if you cannot afford such a tip on top of the cost of a pricier salon, you may want to receive your services elsewhere or stretch out the time between visits. Know what the cost is going in and calculate the tip so there are no surprises and yours stylist gets what they deserve.
If you have one person that provides the cut and another the color or shampoo, be sure to either pay each person individually in cash or indicate on the receipt who gets what amount if paying by credit card. Many used to follow the rule of not tipping the owner who provides the service, modern etiquette recommends otherwise-tip no matter what as they are still providing good service to you.
2. Special Shampoo service-$2-$5 is the average for those who provide your shampooing service. If they are gentle, avoid splashing water on your face, use products that stimulate the scalp and most importantly provide a wonderful scalp and neck massage, do tip them! They'll remember the next time you come back and you'll be sure to get a relaxing shampoo experience again.
3. Manicurist-15-20% is the standard for all nail treatments for manicure and pedicure. Extra credit goes to those who give a relaxing forearm and hand massage or foot and calf massage for more than just 2 minutes. If they provided something extra or did an ultra amazing job on the polish 20% or more should be given.
4. Massage Therapist-15-20% can be given for massages although be aware that some therapeutic massage establishments actually frown upon tipping (make sure you ask ahead of time when you make the reservation). If you are receiving treatment after a car accident or injury and the massage is being billed via insurance or you are being reimbursed, use your discretion on tipping in such cases as it is more about body restoration than relaxation.
5. Waxing services- Again, 15-20% as it is a salon service.
6. Makeup Application- Anywhere from 10-20% tip. If they take a few minutes to show you how to apply eye shadow like a pro or provide tips for you on how to get a more dewy look (or whatever questions you may have or that they feel they want to share), tip them accordingly.
Hotel & Travel Services:
1. Door Man- $1-$4 for carrying luggage or anything that involves them going out of their way for you and is not in their description. $1-2 is recommended for hailing a cab for you.
2. Bell Hop-$2 for the first bag and $1 for each additional bag thereafter. For each additional service (such as room delivery), tip $2-3.
3. Housekeeping- $2-5 per day depending on the level of service. Always include a hand written note that thanks the housekeeper and indicates it's for them. It's best to do this on a daily basis as you may likely have a different person each day.
4. Concierge-$5-10 if they got restaurant reservations of special tickets for you. Add an extra $5 if the tickets or reservations were hard to come by. Of course, you need not feel obligated to tip for having them answer a few questions for you.
5. Taxi Driver-A minimum of $1 for very short rides, 15-20% of the cab fare. If they are assisting your with luggage/bags, add $2 for the first bag and $1 for each thereafter.
6. Sky Cap (air travel) -This is a specialty service for air travelers to make life easier, $2 for the first bag and $1 for each bag thereafter (as with other venues) is appropriate.
Tips on Tipping:
It's important to remember that tipping is a personal gesture and at the discretion of the giver, while guidelines are set, if you have been extremely disappointed by someone's service provided or delighted when someone has gone above and beyond, your tip should reflect. A lady knows that certain things are done in private and the act of tipping is no exception. Tipping should be done discreetly, it was never intended to be an opportunity to appear as the big spender nor should you compare amounts with others, everyone's experience is different. Also, be mindful that for many in the service industry, their tips are the bulk of their income as hourly compensation can often be meager and as such tips are always greatly appreciated.
Today, it seems that even when someone has experienced horrific service, many feel compelled to leave the standard 15%. In such cases, it's best to speak to management and make them aware of the issue (without causing a scene or fuss of any sort), only then can they help correct what you were displeased with and speak to the person in question. It is considered poor taste to leave pocket change or nothing at all upon receiving services, especially within a restaurant environment, for poor service a tip of 10% of the check's total should be the absolute minimum. Other members of the restaurant are often affected (in many restaurants bus boys, dishwashers, food prep and chef receive a portion of the server's tip and they should not be penalized in the process).
***A note on gift certificates and Groupon or group coupon deals. Even if your gift certificate covers a large portion of your meal or spa service, tipping is always made on the full value of the services or meal before tax and not on the portion that remains after your gift card.
Have you had someone provide exemplary services and have re-warded them as such for their thoughtfulness and/or skill? I'd love to hear what they did to make you so happy, please share the positive vibes in the comments section! :)
Thank you for reading!