Tipping Survey: Most Feel Leaving Tips Should Not Be Mandatory

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Posted Oct 24, 2013
Anne Pilon

Tipping has long been a part of dining out. But some people have suggested that restaurants should simply build service charges into the price of food so that tipping isn’t necessary or just reserved for exceptional service. What do restaurant customers think about the practice of tipping in general?


Restaurant Customers

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, 5% of respondents said they go out to eat every day. 18% said they go out to eat a few times per week. 18% said they do about once per week. 20% go out to eat a few times per month. 15% go out to eat about once per month. 20% said they rarely go out to eat. And just 3% said they never do.Just 24% of restaurant customers said they think tipping should be mandatory. 46% said they don’t think tipping should be mandatory, but that people should leave tips most of the time. 20% said that tipping should just be reserved for exceptional service. And 5% think that service charges should just be included in food prices so that guests never have to tip.

Acceptable Tips

But even though many don’t think that tipping should necessarily be mandatory, 70% said they always leave tips when they go out to eat. 17% said they tip most of the time. 7% said they tip about half the time. 4% said they rarely leave tips. And just 1% said they never do.But how much do they normally leave? 6% of respondents said they feel that 25% or more is an acceptable tip for good service. 29% said they think 20-24% is acceptable for good service. 16% feel that 17-19% is acceptable. 26% said that 15-16% is an acceptable tip. 16% feel that 10-14% is an acceptable tip. 6% feel that less than 10% is an acceptable tip. And 1% said it is acceptable to leave no tip for good service.

Food Service

Overall, just 3% of respondents said they currently work in a food service job where they receive tips. 36% said they have worked such jobs in the past. Those who have worked food service jobs were 5% more likely to think that tipping should be mandatory and 8% more likely to leave at least 20% for good service.You can view the complete survey results in the widget below and be sure to click “Open Full Report” to take advantage of all the chart and filter options.Photo Credit: Rice Village restaurant, Iowa City from FlickrWhat do you want to know? If you need some consumer insights on a particular topic, let us know in the comments below and we’ll consider it for an upcoming survey post.

Results were collected on October 23 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

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