An overabundance of tipping requests is eating into earnings for restaurant workers and other professions that have traditionally relied on tips as their primary source of income. Consumers say they are asked to tip for different services at different establishments at least five times a week, on average. With 60% of consumers reporting that they live paycheck to paycheck, more say they are pulling back on gratuities. This is according to a nationwide study of 1,000 U.S. consumers by Popmenu in November 2023.
5 Tipping Trends to Watch
1) Consumers feel under pressure: 61% of consumers feel pressure to tip while 70% say they feel guilty if they don’t tip, especially when standing in front of a worker during checkout. More than half (53%) say they are fed up with being asked to tip by so many service providers.
2) Tipping is often motivated by protecting one’s rep: When asked if they tipped someone when they didn’t want to or didn’t feel it was necessary, 48% of consumers say they did so because they just wanted to be kind while 43% didn’t want to look like a jerk and 34% didn’t want to look cheap.
3) Tips of 20% of more for restaurant workers is trending down: 1 in 4 consumers (26%) say they tip restaurant delivery drivers 20% or more, down from 32% in 2022 and 38% in 2021. The percentage of consumers tipping restaurant servers 20% or more (42%) is little changed from last year (43%) but is still down from 56% in 2021.
4) Consumers expect to spread extra holiday cheer at restaurants this year: 65% of consumers say they tip restaurant staff more over the holidays; 67% expect to tip them 20% or more—29% expect to tip 25% or more.
5) Northeasterners are the most generous to servers while Midwesterners are the most generous to delivery drivers: 50% of Northeast consumers typically tip restaurant servers 20% or more compared to 45% for those in the Midwest, 41% in the West, and 38% in the South.Nearly one-third (31%) of Midwest consumers typically tip restaurant delivery drivers 20% or more compared to 28% of consumers in the Northeast, 27% in the South, and 20% in the West.
“While growth in restaurant gratuities has leveled off to a certain extent as guests contend with tighter budgets and tipping fatigue, around 30% of consumers say they still tip restaurant staff more than they did a few years ago,” said Brendan Sweeney, CEO and Co-founder of Popmenu. “Great service will always prevail in terms of gratuity size, but the impact of digital tipping across industries is something to keep an eye on as operators evaluate compensation practices.”
Popmenu conducted an anonymous, nationwide study of 1,000 U.S. consumers from November 6 to November 7, 2023.