Tipping differs for men and women, Northerners and Southerners, cardholders and cash payers
Personal Finance Writer
Her work appears regularly in Reader’s Digest, Parents, Real Simple and more.
Think you tip better than the next guy at a restaurant? If you’re a baby boomer, live in the Northeast or vote Republican, you probably do.
A new CreditCards.com survey offers a rare look at who the big spenders really are when it comes to leaving gratuities for the wait staff at sit-down restaurants. Topping the list of best tippers:
- Baby boomers.
- Anyone who tips with a credit or debit card.
Those groups all leave a median tip of 20 percent of the total bill when they dine out, making them the best tippers among diners at U.S. restaurants. Women, by contrast, leave a median tip of 16 percent, and the median for Southerners and Democrats is 15 percent.
The scientific telephone poll of 1,002 adults conducted June 22-25, 2017, found that overall, 4 out of 5 Americans say they always give a restaurant tip, and the median tip is 18 percent. It also found that credit and debit card users were significantly more likely to tip than diners tipping with cash. See survey methodology.
University experts who study tipping, and waiters interviewed by CreditCards.com, say the results ring true. Michael Lynn, a Cornell University professor who studies gratuity practices, says many factors influence tipping habits. But in general, he says, the wealthier you are, the more you tend to plunk down at the end of the night. That observation is reflected in the survey, which shows those making $75,000 or more per year are indeed the most frequent and generous tippers.
Who we do, don’t tip