Reporter's Notebook

Average U.S. diner tips 18 percent, study indicates


Average U.S. diner tips 18 percent, study indicates


U.S. restaurant guests tip an average of 18 percent for good service, a study released this month indicates.

Older adults tip higher percentages than younger customers, and men generally tip higher than women, according to a Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Michelin, the tire company known for its restaurant guides.

Harris polled 2,019 U.S. consumers older than 18 and found 70 percent said they usually tip between 15 percent and 20 percent for good service when dining out, and one in 10 said they typically tip more than 20 percent.

In that big-spender category, 12 percent of men said they tipped more than 20 percent and eight percent of women. Just one percent of consumers said they left no gratuity for good service.

Thirty percent of Americans aged 18-34 said they normally tip less than 15 percent for good service, the survey found, and only 16 percent of adults 35 and older said they left less than 15 percent.

Geographically, diners in the Northeast appeared to be more generous than those in other parts of the nation. The survey found only 15 percent of Northeasterners tipped less than 15 percent; in the South, the number was 22 percent with the Midwest at 26 percent and the West at 24 percent. The national average of less-than-15-percenters was 19 percent.

The poll, conducted online from Dec. 11 to Dec. 13, found one in three Americans said they had left 30 percent or more for good service, and 12 percent said they had left 50 percent or more.

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Reporter's Notebook is NRN's newsroom blog, where our editors give their points of view on news happening in the restaurant business.


Lisa Jennings

Follow @livetodineout From the Los Angeles office, Lisa Jennings covers companies based in the West, including California, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Alaska and...

Ron Ruggless

Ron Ruggless covers the states of Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. He joined Nation's Restaurant News in 1992 after working 10 years in...
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