Tipping Survey: Two Thirds Always Tip Restaurant Servers

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Posted Jun 25, 2014

A restaurant in Kentucky recently decided to do away with tipping. Instead of relying on customers to pay service charges to its employees, the restaurant simply pays servers 20% of their food sales or a higher hourly rate. So far, it seems the new system has helped improve employee morale, but tipping is still common practice at most restaurants. What do customers think about tipping?


Restaurant Customers

In Ask Your Target Market’s latest survey, just 5% of respondents said they go out to eat at restaurants daily. 36% go out to eat at least once per week. 35% go out to eat at least once per month. 19% said they rarely go out to eat at restaurants. And just 5% said they never do. Of those restaurant customers, 67% said they always leave a tip when they eat at restaurants. 19% said they leave tips most of the time. 6% said they tip about half the time they eat at restaurants. Another 6% said they rarely leave tips. And 2% said they never tip their servers at restaurants.

Acceptable Tips

In general, 5% of customers said they would consider 25% or more to be an acceptable tip for good service at a restaurant. 31% consider 20 to 24% to be an acceptable tip for good service. 15% consider 17 to 19% to be acceptable. 27% think 15 or 16% is an acceptable tip. 16% think 10 to 14% is an acceptable tip. 5% think less than 10% is an acceptable tip. And 1% think that no tip is acceptable. Even though service isn’t always great, servers rely on tips to supplement their income. And so many think that tipping at restaurants should be mandatory, at least with the current system. 23% of overall respondents said they think tipping at restaurants should be mandatory. 48% said it shouldn’t be mandatory, but people should leave tips most of the time. 16% said that tipping should be reserved for exceptional service. 9% said they think restaurants should do away with tipping and just build service charges into their food prices. And 3% had no opinion.

Employee Opinions

Just 5% of overall respondents said they currently work in food service positions where they receive tips. Another 36% said they’ve worked in food service positions in the past. And 59% said they never have. Those who have worked in food service were just 3% more likely to think that tipping should be mandatory, and 4% more likely to say that customers should tip most of the time. 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: Cartagena de Indias (Colombia) 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 June 24 via AYTM’s online survey panel.

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