The History Of Tipping [Infographic]

Matthew Gates 3m 708 #tipping

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In the United States and probably most other places in the world, it became acceptable for nearly all businesses in the food industry, specifically restaurants to forego paying a livable salary and letting their employees survive solely on tips.

Providing tips became a common practice in the 18th century and is most likely dated back to a much earlier time. There are certainly many places where servers, known as waiters or waitresses, and even bartenders can make up to $100 to $500 a night which may just explain why restaurants feel they do not need to pay their employees a reputable salary.

Tipping is expected in the United States and the majority of employees in restaurants rely on those tips in order to pay their bills and make a living. It is expected that customers will tip no less than 15% to 18% of the bill, which is fair. The proper way to actually tip is not on the total, but the subtotal. Yes, most servers may or may not know this little secret, but the total bill includes the taxes, which helps them get larger tips because you are basing their tip on your meal plus the taxes. The proper way, however, is to actually tip on the cost of the meal — the subtotal.

So how did it all start? This infographic explains the History of Tipping.

The History Of Tipping [Infographic]

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The History of Tipping

Where does tipping come from?


Some say the term comes from the English pubs in the 18th Century. It is said that urns were displayed with the label “To Insure Promptitude”, in which patrons could place their money for better service.

Giving money to servants for better service quickly spread across Europe. Many visitors expressed amazement when they visited America and found most waiters and coachmen thought of themselves as employees, not servants. As such, they would not accept tips from the travelers.


Tipping slowly began to be accepted, and by the 1910s about five million workers in the United States, more than 10% of the labor force, and tip-taking occupations.

In 2003

Tips from United States Restaurants Reach Almost $26 Billion

Do some people tip more than others?

A study found that 63% of African Americans did not understand the standard restaurant tip is 15 – 20% compared to 30% of Caucasians.

Expectations of a lower tip from Africa-American patrons can lead to poor service, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy for the restaurant-goers.

Why Do People Tip?

Pressure from fellow patrons.

Perceived pressure from employees.

Desire to impress others.
-People often feel embarrassed if they don’t tip.

To encourage good service in the future.

Fearful of food-tampering in future visits.
-People feel that a better tip will encourage better service the next time they visit.

Desire to show gratitude for good service.

Desire to conform to social norms.
-People want to feel good about themselves by fulfilling society’s social contract.

How much should you tip?

Hair Cutter
15% – A minimum of $1

About $1, depending on price

Cab Driver
15% of fare, round up
Help with bags, $1 per bag, $2 if heavy

Waiter at buffet-style restaurant
5-10% depending on how much is done

Large delivery
$5 – $10 per person

Flower delivery
$4 – $5, or more if heavy or large

Gas station attendant
$1 to $2 for pumping gas
Cleaning glass
$2 – $5, less if you need to ask

Pizza delivery
$4 – $10, more for long distances or bad weather

15% – 20% of the bill, tip more if you have a large group of people [or if service was really great]

Parking attendant
Around $1

10% – 15% of the bar bill

Wedding hair/makeup
15% – 25%, depending on quality of service

Wedding musicians
$15 – $25 per musician
Good DJs
$50 – $100, tip more for taking requests

How Can You Get Better Tips?

According to research, there are 4 reliable ways for waiters and waitress to increase their tips.

  1. Give name to customers.
  2. Squat next to customer’s table.
  3. Touch the customer.
  4. Give after-dinner mint to customer.

One simple method of increasing tips, drawing a smiley face on the bill, increases a waitress’s tip by 18% but decreases a waiter’s tip by 9%.

Original Source:

Matthew Gates is a freelance web designer and currently runs Confessions of the Professions.




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