Ahh yes, welcome to the next step on your path to true adulthood: tipping etiquette. Whether you’re at the chic new ramen restaurant in your neighborhood, your friend’s fave bar downtown, or staying the weekend at a hotel in the city, it’s important that you don’t end up being that person. How does one make sure they aren’t tipping like a jerk you ask? That’s a good question, and one that these eight tips can help you answer.
1. Know the standard tipping percentages at restaurants.
At any restaurant, be expected to tip 15 or 20 percent of the total bill. Whether you take it from the pre-tax or post-tax amount is up to you.
Restaurant service professionals work their butts off to bring you their best. Regardless of how you think service or food quality was, it is common restaurant etiquette to tip whether you want to or not.
#SpoonTip: Be sure to read up on how other countries view tipping before traveling abroad.
2. The “service charge” and tip are not the same thing.
Many high-end restaurants, banquet spaces, and luxury suites at sporting events include a service charge into your total bill. You are required to pay the service charge, however tipping is still optional—but very, very highly recommended. (The service charge covers things like bottle service, accommodating large parties, and service at a private banquet.)
Just remember that since it is a mandatory gratuity (an added charge where the restaurant determines the amount and the customer pays), it goes towards servers’ medical insurance and other benefits, not towards a restaurant’s profit.
3. Going to a bar’s happy hour? Always tip your bartender.
The same restaurant tip percentage rules apply here. Simple, right? For outstanding service, go over 20 percent for your bartender’s tip.
4. Staying at a hotel? Leave the maid a tip.
Just like restaurant service staff, hotel cleaning services are working day and night to ensure that you enjoy your vacation without the hassle of, you know, having to make your own bed. They change your towels, refill those fab mini hotel shampoos and conditioners, and empty the trash all while pushing heavy supply carts up and down hallways. The recommended tip amount is $3-4 per night.
5. See that tip jar at your favorite coffee shop? Use it.
Tipping at your usual coffee shop is the perfect way to show your fave barista some love. The recommended amount is $1-2.
6. Did your hairstylist listen to your work drama and flawlessly touch up your roots? Thank them for it.
They should be tipped between 15-20 percent of the cost of the service you had done. If more than one person assisted you (shampoo person, colorist, hairstylist, etc.), you can spread the tip out as you see fit amongst them.
7. Got your car valeted for date night? Tip your valet.
If you were running a little late for your reservation at the new rooftop bar in town and had to valet your car, don’t forget to tip your valet after your car is returned to you at the end of the night. The recommended amount is $2-5.
8. Hired a moving company to help you move? Tip the moving personnel.
Hauling all your crap is some serious back-breaking and labor intensive work, especially if it’s in the middle of summer or you didn’t notify them that you live on the 10th floor of your apartment building that has no working elevator. The recommended amount per person varies on if it was a full day (8+ hours) or half day (less than 4 hours) job. For a full day, $20 per person is sufficient whereas for a half day, $10 should be good.
#SpoonTip: No, you may not swap out tipping for giving them beer. That’s tacky and also raises liability issues.