How to Tip in 2023, According to Experts & Industry Pros

The ultimate guide.

February 10, 2023
Photo by Rocky Luten

Tipping is more common than ever these days—you likely see an option to tip at coffee shops, takeout counters, and in all sorts of delivery apps—but is it required? And if so, how much should you leave? It can be confusing to navigate tipping across different industries, so we’ve gathered insights from a variety of experts to pin down tipping best practices in today’s day and age.

The following is a comprehensive guide to tipping in 2023, including everyone from servers to tattoo artists. (Spoiler alert: When in doubt, 20 percent is a safe bet.)

All Things Food & Beverage

Many workers in the food and beverage industry rely heavily on tips to make a living—because they’re often considered “tipped employees,” their hourly wage can be as low as $2.13. For this reason, tipping is especially important when you go out to eat, and you should budget it in as a mandatory part of your meal.

Restaurant Servers

A tip of 18 to 20 percent of your pre-tax bill is standard for waitstaff. “I've found that sometimes customers don't realize tipping makes up a large percentage of income for hospitality and food and beverage workers,” explains Julia Kesler Imerman, Founder & Owner of Daily Chew. “I always recommend 20 percent, and even going over that a bit more if you receive better than expected service.”

If you’re not totally pleased with your service, consider talking to the manager to find a resolution instead of withholding a tip.


Even if you’re not ordering food, it’s recommended to leave a small tip for the bartender who serves you. “If you get drinks and leave, I recommend $1 per drink,” recommends Amanda Richards, a bartender in Rhode Island. “If you hang out at the bar and get entertained, leave 20 percent, like a meal.”


Tipping isn’t necessary at your favorite coffee shop, as baristas are paid (at least) minimum wage, but it’s always appreciated. Bankrate recommends leaving 10 to 15 percent (which generally shakes out to just $1 or $2), especially if you have a complicated order or received great customer service.

Food Delivery Drivers

Thanks to an abundance of delivery apps, you can get all sorts of food brought straight to your door, including takeout, groceries, and more. While there are “delivery fees” for most of these services, that money doesn’t go to the driver, so you should be leaving a tip for the person doing the hard work.

GrubHub recommends leaving $5 or 20 percent for your delivery driver—whichever is higher. You should also consider adding a few extra dollars for large or complex deliveries, as well as when the weather is bad. If you aren’t willing to brave the rain/snow/cold to pick up your food, it’s nice to offer a little “thank you” for the person who does.

Pizza Delivery

If you order pizza from your favorite local joint, be sure to tip the delivery driver. It’s common to give $3 for orders under $20, or 10 to 15 percent on larger orders. (This is different from app-based food delivery, as pizza shops typically pay their drivers an hourly wage.)

Takeout Counter

If you’re simply picking up a takeout order from a restaurant, there’s no need to tip, according to etiquette expert Emily Post. However, if you have an overly large order (think: food for an entire office luncheon) or use curbside delivery, a 10 percent tip is appropriate.

Beauty Industry

Tipping is also a common practice in beauty and personal care industries—in salons, spas, and barber shops, many providers rent their chair or treatment space, meaning they don’t end up taking home the full cost of the service. Plus, you’re trusting them with your appearance, so it makes sense to thank them for a job well done and build a good relationship for next time.


The general rule of thumb is to leave 20 percent for your hairdresser, whether you’re having a trim, highlights, or anything in between. And yes, this goes for barbers, too.

You may want to consider bumping up to 25 percent for particularly complex tasks (think: multi-hour dye jobs) or if they’ve gone out of their way to accommodate you (e.g. if they fit you in last-minute or if you show up late).


Whether you’re getting a facial, wax, or other skincare treatment, you’ll want to leave a tip for your esthetician: “20 percent of the cost of your service is recommended,” says Lia Marchand, an esthetician in Boston. “This also applies to makeup applications!” Follow the same rule of thumb for nail techs—you may even want to leave more if your manicure includes complex nail art.

Massage Therapists

In a spa setting, it’s common practice to leave your massage therapist a 20 percent tip. (Can you see a common trend in this industry?) However, if you’re getting massages at a chiropractic clinic or physical therapy office, tipping generally isn’t required.

Tattoo Artists

Don’t forget to tip your tattoo artist. “A safe range is 15 to 25 percent of the total tattoo price,” says Jingxi Gu, owner and artist at Patch Tattoo Therapy. “It's even more important if the tattoo artist went over and beyond. If touch-ups or future tattoos are needed later, it also helps to build good feelings.” This practice holds true for classic tattooing, as well as permanent makeup and other cosmetic tattoos.

Tipping at Home

If you have service people who work in your home, tipping can help build rapport and trust. General tipping practices (aka 20 percent of the service cost) are appropriate for one-time services, but if you have a recurring provider, such as a weekly landscaper or house cleaner, you may want to tip once or twice a year.


There are a few different ways that you can go about tipping a house cleaner. If it’s a one-time visit—for instance, a deep clean before you move out of your apartment—it’s common to tip 15 to 25 percent, depending on how much work is required.

For a recurring housekeeper, you don’t necessarily have to tip at every visit (though you can, if you’d like). Some people choose to offer a tip once a month, while others simply provide a larger tip at the end of the year. In the latter case, it’s standard to tip one week’s pay.


If you have a gardener or landscaper who cares for your yard throughout the year, it’s common to give an end-of-the-season tip. Standard practice is to offer the cost of one week of service—so if you pay $100 per week, tip them an extra $100.


The cost of professional movers can be quite expensive, so it doesn’t always make sense to tip a percentage of the cost. Instead, experts recommend basing your tip off the time it took.

“While there is no flat rate for moving tips, a good rule of thumb is to tip each of the movers $4 to $5 per hour,” recommends Nancy Zafrani, General Manager of Oz Moving & Storage. “So, if the moving process took 5 hours, it’s appropriate to tip each mover $20 to $25 for their service. For a day-long move that takes eight hours, tipping a maximum of $40 to each mover is appropriate.”

Furniture Delivery

It isn’t mandatory to tip furniture delivery people, as you’ve likely already paid a delivery fee, but it is a nice gesture. Consider tipping $10 to $20 per person, especially if the item is extra heavy or if they have to carry it up stairs.

Other Home Deliveries

There are a number of other delivery people who might show up at your door from time to time, and while tips aren’t necessary, they’re always appreciated. For instance, it’s common to give $2 to $5 for a floral delivery.


If you have a babysitter who watches your children, a tip may occasionally be warranted. If they help you out on short notice, handle an unexpected situation, or simply go above and beyond when caring for your little ones, it’s nice to offer a little extra to thank them. There are no hard-and-fast rules here—you can give a few extra dollars, 20 percent of the total, or even an extra hour’s worth of pay.

Other Home Services

When you hire a plumber, electrician, or appliance repairman, there’s no need to tip them, as they’re typically paid a premium hourly rate. As an alternative, Angi recommends offering them a coffee in the morning or a bottle of water on a hot day. However, if they go out of their way to help you, coming during off-hours or fitting you in last-minute, you can always show your appreciation with a 10 to 20 percent tip.

If you use TaskRabbit (or a similar app) to hire someone for odd jobs around the house, tipping is optional. Taskers actually set their own rates through the app and choose the jobs they want to take, so they don’t have to rely on tips.

Other Times to Leave a Tip

There are a few other situations when it’s customary to leave a tip these days.


When you use valet parking at a restaurant or hotel, it’s customary to give the attendant $2 to $5 when picking up your vehicle.

Hotel Housekeeping

After a multi-night stay at a hotel, you’ll want to leave a few dollars per night for the housekeeping staff. An extra $5 is also encouraged if they accommodate special requests.

Rideshare Drivers

If you’re using Uber, Lyft, or another ridesharing service, try to leave 10 to 20 percent of your fare as a tip, according to experts at The New York Times. You might offer a little extra if the driver was especially accommodating or their car was particularly clean. The same general rules apply to taxi drivers, according to Charity Cab—leave 10 percent for an average ride or 20 percent if they unload your luggage and provide pleasant chit chat along the way.

Bathroom Attendants

While not common anymore, bathroom attendants—whose job is to keep the facilities clean and well-stocked—can still be found in high-end restaurants and other establishments, and it’s customary to tip them on your way out. If all they did was hand you a paper towel, a tip of $0.50 is plenty, but you may want to leave a few dollars if they helped you fix a hem or offered more personalized service.

What are your go-to tipping rules? Share with us in the comments.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • wyatt03
  • Max
  • Nick
  • Wendy
  • Trentmoore
Freelance writer, product tester & baking enthusiast.


wyatt03 December 4, 2023
wyatt03 December 4, 2023
This article provides a much-needed guide on modern tipping etiquette, addressing the ever-present confusion in various settings. The insights from industry experts are invaluable, offering clarity on when and how much to tip. Understanding the nuances of tipping across different services is crucial in today's service-oriented landscape. This piece not only educates but also helps in making informed decisions on how to appropriately acknowledge the efforts of those in service roles.
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wyatt03 December 4, 2023
Max December 3, 2023
What about tipping an owner who owns an establishment? I ask because there was a time when that was not expected or required.
Nick December 3, 2023
Tipping culture should be demolished. Living overseas for 3 years in a country where tipping is seen as an insult was glorious. We didn’t miss it at all!! It was considered an insult because you were implying that they were not paid enough, that the owner was not a good employer, or that they should get extra for just doing the job expected of them. We tip well when living here in America, using 20% as the minimum- but we still consider it a stupid custom that meeds to be abolished.
Wendy December 3, 2023
What about end of year tips for essentials like the post man, the garbage man, UPS, Fedex?
Trentmoore November 14, 2023
Tipping a percentage by price is absurd. The amount of work required to serve a $500 bottle of wine is no harder than the work required to serve a $50 bottle of wine. Similarly, serving a $15 burger or a $10 ham and cheese requires the same amount work on the part of the server. Why should one server receive $3 for his/her efforts while the other server receives only $2 simply because he/she server a burger instead of an ham and cheese sandwich? Tipping originated in England when servers at pubs were generally unpaid, volunteer women who would bring drinks from the bar to the patrons, usually aristocrats or other men of means, sitting at tables in hopes of receiving a remuneration for their efforts. Since pay to most servers today is nearly nothing, the practice of tipping continues. The word tip is believed to be an acronym of To Insure Promptitude.
PB W. December 3, 2023
I agree. And why does it matter what's in the bag that's being delivered? If a bag with $30 worth of burgers from the diner weighs no more than the $80 bag of sushi from the Japanese restaurant, why do I have to tip the delivery person more for the more expensive food?
rosalind5 May 13, 2023
This is a helpful guide - but this doesn't take into consideration that in states like CA a) servers must be paid at least minimum wage ($15/hour) and b) extra charges from 5-10% are routinely added on to pay for health care costs etc and c) food is now very, very expensive.. So the food costs are higher, because the servers are getting a minimum income, there's extra for health care, and then we're supposed to pay another 20% on top? It's starting to be too much.
TWL April 12, 2023
I am curious about tipping post delivery personnel or trash pickup. My mother used to leave an envelope for them at Christmas time in Germany. Is that done here in the US?
Nicole P. April 12, 2023
Why should bartenders get $1 per drink? They should get 20% too. If you’re at a table & order the same drink you tip 20% on the bill to the server that didn’t make it. The bartender is creating the drink & serving it, & checking you out with payment & you’re giving them less.
Jillw April 12, 2023
You're missing tour guides in this list. We work seasonally and at the whim of the economy and traveler trends. We often research and organize solely on our own time. Most tour materials do actually tell customers to tip us!
Danettet March 15, 2023
Please tip casino dealers who spend 3 hours teaching and entertaining you - at parties and fundraisers. People like to tease about giving a chip - which THEY KNOW is not a tip. They'll tip a bartender for 15 seconds service - dealers also appreciate tips.
lisafrischel March 15, 2023
This is utterly ridiculous. By this logic, I should also tip my librarian when I borrow a book, the McDonald's drivethru attendant when she hands me my coffee, and my grocery clerk when they bag my groceries.

You do a service, we agree on a rate - let's just call it as it is. Forget this ridiculous tipping thing. Do you tip me 20% for doing my job?
Mar P. March 15, 2023
Let's just hope lawyers don't begin to expect a tip for their services!!!
f52Dublin12# June 24, 2023
Grocery clerks bagging your groceries? Not around here since before the millennium.
mikefidel March 14, 2023
I was surprised that under "Hairdressers", no mention was made about the rule that you typically don't tip your barber/hairdresser, if they are the owner of the business.
pdamm April 27, 2023
They are performing the same service as any other barber/hairdresser. Why do you think they don't deserve tips?
Athena March 2, 2023
At Hair Salons, what should I tip the person who washes my hair? I've been giving them $5 (and this is in NYC). Is this enough?
Myra February 14, 2023
This is very helpful! As someone who has worked in restaurants and used my tips to pay for rent and food, I think it is important to share baseline and guidance. People may not realize that in certain states that employers pay their staff less then minimum wage because tips count as base income. While people may disagree with the tip culture, it is important not to penalize the staff for the economic system.
Mar P. February 14, 2023
Tipping normalizes the explotation of the worker. Bosses should pay better wages. By tipping, you are subsidizing the owner of the business by making their labour expense cheaper.