When to Tip and Not to Tip: A Guide to Navigating Tipping Etiquette

With our guide on “When to Tip and Not to Tip,” you’ll discover how to navigate social situations with ease.


It is our intention to provide you with a comprehensive overview of when and when not to tip. The purpose of this article is to examine tipping etiquette in various industries, discuss cultural differences in tipping customs, and examine the impact tipping has on social norms by exploring the basics of tipping. This guide covers all the bases, whether you are a seasoned tipper or if you are uncertain when or how much to tip. So let’s get started!

When To Tip And Not To Tip
When To Tip And Not To Tip

When to Tip: Understanding the Basics

What is a tip?

Generally, a tip is an additional payment on top of the base price of a product or service that is given by customers as a gesture of gratitude for the service provided by the service provider.

Who should you tip?

Restaurants, hotels, and taxi services are commonly associated with tipping. Other professions, such as hair salons, spas, bars, and delivery services, also practice tipping. Ensure that you are aware of the specific customs in each industry in order to provide the appropriate tip.

How much should you tip?

You should always check local customs or guidelines, as the amount to tip varies based on the country, industry, and level of service provided.

Why do people tip?

Tiping is primarily used to show appreciation for good service. It is a way of acknowledging the efforts of service workers and rewarding them for their hard work. Tipping also assists workers in industries where wages may be lower as a result of the expectation of tips to supplement their income.

Tipping Etiquette in Restaurants

How much to tip in restaurants?

As a rule of thumb, tips in restaurants are generally between 15% and 20% of the total bill. However, some restaurants may include a service charge in the bill, so it is important to determine whether tipping has already been included. An additional tip is optional but appreciated if the service charge is included.

Should you tip on takeout orders?

You do not have to tip on takeout orders, but it is a nice gesture if you receive excellent service or the restaurant goes above and beyond to prepare your order. A tip of 10% is generally sufficient for takeout orders.

Is tipping mandatory?

We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the local laws and customs of the country in which you are traveling.

What if the service was poor?

It is still important to tip in a restaurant even if the service was poor. If the service was exceptional, you might want to speak with the manager or leave a note explaining your dissatisfaction.

Who else should you tip in a restaurant?

There may be other individuals who provide personal service in the restaurant who should also be tipped. This may include the bartender, sommelier, coat check attendants, and valet parking attendants.

The Gray Area: When Tipping Is Optional

There may be times when tipping is not mandatory but remains an optional practice. We will explore various scenarios where tipping isn’t strictly expected but may still be appreciated. You will be able to navigate tipping decisions with confidence if you understand these situations.

Tipping at coffee shops and fast-food restaurants

In coffee shops and fast-food restaurants, tipping is generally not expected. In these establishments, customers are often required to place their own orders and pick up their food and beverage themselves. Leaving a small tip in a tip jar can, however, be a kind gesture if you receive exceptional service or wish to express your appreciation for a barista’s skillful preparation.

Tipping in food trucks and street vendors

Food trucks and street vendors may have different tipping cultures. Some vendors may have jars or designated areas where customers can leave tips. You can show your appreciation for the vendor’s hard work by leaving a small tip if they have gone above and beyond or if you have had a positive experience.

Tipping at buffets and self-service establishments

Since customers are responsible for serving themselves at buffets and self-service establishments, tipping is generally not expected. You can, however, consider leaving a small tip as a gesture of appreciation if a staff member has provided exceptional service, such as refilling your drink, clearing plates, or assisting with special requests.

Tipping for professional services

Tipping is generally not customary or expected for professional services such as lawyers, doctors, or accountants. These professionals usually charge fees for their services and tipping may be considered inappropriate. You may wish to express your satisfaction instead of tipping by providing positive feedback or recommending their services to others.

Tipping for repair and maintenance services

A tip is not typically expected in the field of repair and maintenance services. Plumbers, electricians, and technicians are paid for their expertise and time. It is possible to offer a small tip as a token of appreciation to a technician who goes above and beyond, provides exceptional service, or handles a difficult situation with professionalism.

It can be challenging to navigate the gray area of tipping, but understanding the norms and expectations in different situations can assist you in making informed choices. Although tipping is optional in these scenarios, a small gesture of appreciation will greatly enhance the recognition of exceptional service.

When to tip and not to tip?

When To Tip And Not To Tip
When To Tip And Not To Tip

Knowing when to tip and when not to tip can help navigate social situations and show appreciation for good service. Generally, it is customary to tip in service industries such as restaurants, bars, taxis, and hotels, where tipping is expected and appreciated. In these situations, tipping around 15-20% of the total bill or fare is common practice. However, there are instances when tipping may not be necessary, such as in self-service establishments like fast food chains or when service charges are already included in the bill. It is important to consider cultural norms, the level of service received, and individual preferences when deciding whether or not to tip. By understanding tipping etiquette, you can confidently show gratitude while respecting the circumstances.

1. When should you not leave a tip?

You should not leave a tip if the dining experience is consistently poor from beginning to end. There are situations in which it is evident that the staff lacks enthusiasm, is not providing good customer service, and creates an unwelcoming atmosphere for both themselves and the customers.

2. How do you know when to tip?

The level of service provided should be considered when tipping: When a service requires greater skill and expertise, you should tip more generously. It may also be appropriate to tip a higher amount if you have a personal relationship with the service provider who understands your preferences and provides exceptional advice or higher-quality services.

3. Do you tip every time?

It’s important to note that tipping should always be a matter of personal choice. Parker acknowledges that some view the tipping culture in the United States as being overly generous, but in terms of etiquette, tipping should be determined solely by the quality of service received.


For navigating social norms and showing appreciation for exceptional service, it is crucial to know when to tip and when not to tip. Although tipping is common in many service industries, it is important to take into consideration factors such as the quality of service received, cultural practices, and individual preferences when tipping. Knowing situations in which tipping may not be expected, such as in self-service establishments or in countries with different tipping customs, allows us to make informed decisions. You should always tip based on your level of satisfaction and gratitude for the service you have received.

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About The Doers Firm

The Doers Firm is a studio that focuses on web development and digital marketing. They specialize in creating websites and implementing digital marketing strategies. The team at The Doers Firm is highly regarded and consists of passionate individuals. They have also developed a useful tool called the Tattoo Tip Calculator, which helps solve a specific problem.

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