AskDefine | Define gratuity

Dictionary Definition



1 a relatively small amount of money given for services rendered (as by a waiter) [syn: tip, pourboire, baksheesh, bakshish, bakshis, backsheesh]
2 an award (as for meritorious service) given without claim or obligation

User Contributed Dictionary



From the French gratuité, pl. gratuities


  1. A reward, service, or payment provided freely, without obligation.
  2. (common usage) An additional charge placed for services rendered; see also: service fee.

Derived terms

Extensive Definition

A tip is a payment made to certain service sector workers beyond the advertised price. The amount of a tip is typically computed as a percent of the transaction minus taxes. These payments and their size are a matter of social custom. Tipping varies among cultures and by service industry. Though by definition a tip is never legally required, and its amount is at the discretion of the person being served, in some circumstances failing to give an adequate tip when one is expected would be considered very miserly, a violation of etiquette, or unethical. In some other cultures or situations, giving a tip is not expected and offering one would be considered condescending or demeaning. In some circumstances (such as tipping government workers), tipping is illegal. A tip is sometimes called a gratuity.


The word originates from the 16th century verb tip, which meant "to give unexpectedly", and was derived from the German word tippen, meaning "to tap." The modern German version would instead be Trinkgeld, literally meaning "Drink Gold", or "Money to Drink"
The notion of a stock tip is from the same slang, and the expression hot tip, as in a sure winner in a horse race, also comes from the act of tapping. In the old days, during card games, gamblers would have an accomplice in the room. This accomplice would signal the player regarding the contents of an opponent's hand by "tipping the wink" - that is, by "tapping" out a code with his eyelid. The Oxford English Dictionary states that tip is derived from the English thieves (which may be taken to mean "gambler") slang word tip, meaning "to pass from one to another" (cf. "to give unexpectedly.")
The word "tip" is often inaccurately claimed to be an acronym for terms such as "to insure prompt service", "to insure proper service", "to improve performance", and "to insure promptness". However, this etymology contradicts the Oxford English Dictionary and is probably an example of a backronym.
Some claim the origin for this term is a concept from Judaism, in that it was a chiyuv (obligation) for a seller to "tip the scales" in favor of the customer. The Torah says, "Nosen lo girumov (Give to him a tip)." For example, if your customer has asked for three pounds of onions, you should measure out the three pounds plus one extra onion, tipping the scale in his favor.

Circumstances of tipping

In countries where tipping is the rule (for example United States), complicated social rules and etiquette have developed over the exact percentage to tip, and what should and should not be included in this calculation. In other cultures where tipping exists it is more flexible and no specific assumptions of the tip amount exist. Some establishments pool tips and divide them to include employees who lack customer contact. At some restaurants, agreements among the staff require the servers to tip out members of the support staff (kitchen, bartender, and busser) at the end of their shift;; this means that servers pay a certain fixed percentage of their sales (most often a portion less than 15 percent of total sales) to the other staff. Thus when a patron leaves a small tip, it results in the server having to receive less from the tipping pool than other staff.
Tipping is not expected when a fee is explicitly charged for the service. For example, a service charge for all patrons that is automatically added to the tab with no tipping the rule in Brazil. Bribery and corruption are sometimes disguised as tipping. In some places, police officers and other civil servants openly solicit tips, gifts and dubious fees using a variety of local euphemisms. For example, a traffic policeman in Mexico might ask a commuter to buy him a "refresco" (soft drink), while a Nigerian officer might expect "a little something for the weekend."

Tax and labor-law treatment

In some jurisdictions, tipped workers qualify for a lower statutory minimum wage from the employer, and therefore may supplement deficient pay with tips. For example, the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires restaurant employers to ensure that the total tip income reported to them during any pay period is at least eight percent of their total receipts for that period. If the reported total is below eight percent, employers must allocate as income the difference between the actual tip income reported and eight percent of gross receipts. Therefore the IRS is implicitly assuming the average tip to be eight percent.
Legally, tips should be reported as income for tax purposes by the recipient,
A tronc is an arrangement for the pooling and distribution to employees of tips, gratuities and/or service charges in the hotel and catering trade. The person who distributes monies from the tronc is known as the troncmaster. When a tronc exists in the UK, responsibility for operating PAYE on the distribution may lie with the troncmaster rather than the employer. (The word 'tronc' has its origins in the French for collecting box.)

Tipping by Continent



Tipping in Egypt can be tricky. Most public bathrooms are staffed, and visitors are expected to tip the attendant. Some restroom attendants, especially at tourist sites, will dole out toilet paper based on the tip they receive. Some locals have been known to attempt to demand baksheesh for minor services, such as assisting people out of their cars or helping people up if they trip in the street. Foreigners may be especially susceptible to this, and although some locals ask or demand tips, they are often not warranted. There is no rule for what is considered tip-worthy, so one must be ready to hand out an Egyptian pound or two just in case to use the bathroom or to get into some buildings. For services such as tour guides or translators, a tip of 20% or more is generally accepted. Taxis don't run on meters, just on agreed upon prices, so there is no additional tip to give, although some drivers may ask for extra. Tips are expected at restaurants, and can range from a few pounds to 15%.

South Africa

In South Africa, the customary tip at restaurants is 10 percent, although some restaurants charge a mandatory service fee for large parties. A small amount is occasionally given to petrol station attendants for additional services, such as cleaning one's windscreen. Toilet cleaners at service stations along major road routes are sometimes tipped when they provide good service and keep the facilities clean. "Car guards", who claim to "look after" one's parked car are often given a small tip if they are in uniform and authorized; however those without uniforms are usually regarded as a nuisance, and tipping them is not compulsory, despite the fact that they often harass motorists looking for payment.


In Ethiopia tipping is common in hotels, restaurants and bars. One is also expected to tip parking lot attendants whether officially hired by institutions or self assigned. In some restaurants it is customary to tip any dancers, and this is usually done by sticking the paper money bill on the forehead of the dancer.


Tipping is frowned upon in Asia and shows anger at the low prices, although there are regional variations.


In China, traditionally there is no tipping. However, hotels that routinely serve foreign tourists may allow tipping. An example would be tour guides and associated drivers. In Mandarin, the term used is 小費 (xiǎo fèi, lit. "small change") or 打賞 (Da shang, lit. "give awards"). In Cantonese, the term used is tip屎 (tip si), transliterated from the word 'tips'.
Hong Kong
Tipping in Hong Kong is customary in some situations, but it can create legal issues due to some Hong Kong specific ordinances prohibiting tipping for certain services such as public utilities. Waiters, who have already receive a compulsory 10% service charge, may occasionally be given an additional gratuity.
  • Restaurants: 10% is usually included in the bill presented to the customer.
  • Bars: tipping is not a normal occurrence, though some may round the bill.
  • Hotels: service charge is always included, but bell-boys may expect a small gratuity.
  • Taxis: the driver customarily rounds the bill. No matter how long the trip is, extra tipping is not expected.


In India there has traditionally been little or no tipping. Tips in India are never a percentage of the total value. Many traditional restaurants in India do not expect a tip. However many have started placing jars at the cashier for people to drop in some change if they feel so. Most Clubs in India have a complete ban on its members from tipping. Usually no other service expects a tip. It is illegal for taxi drivers to charge anything above the meter.


Tipping is not the common custom in Japan and it is almost never done at casual restaurants, as it is considered rude, implying that servers must be paid extra to ensure they do their job. When tipping occurs, the term used is チップ (chippu, from English "tip"), or 心付け (kokorozuke, lit. "pay from the heart").


Tipping is not customarily done in Malaysia.


Tipping is not required in Singapore; however it is common for restaurants to levy a 10% service charge before GST.

South Korea

Tipping is not the custom in South Korea and it is almost never expected. Many hotels and a few tourist restaurants add 10% service charge on their checks. However, it is deemed customary (although not mandatory) to tip porters and maids in international hotels, and it is always considered a generous gesture to ask taxi drivers to keep the change.


In Taiwan tipping is rare except when a customer uses a porter at an airport, which is usually 50 new Taiwan dollars per luggage, or wants to show appreciation for exceptional service. Many restaurants and hotels already add 10% service charges. Taxi drivers may not wilfully refuse to make change or ask for tips.



In Australia, tipping is very rare and traditionally not encouraged (similar to the UK). Beyond the hospitality industry, no service providers will expect a tip (it can even be considered insulting to do so). In country towns, tipping will often even be regarded as insulting, as it is thought to suggest servitude. In the Australian English, the term "tip" is also the name used for a garbage dump, rather than having anything to do with gratuities.
When paying for a transaction with cash, it is acceptable to offer to a seller “keep the loose change” and avoid a pocket filled with coins. More common is the gesture to drop these coins into a charity tin kept near the cash register to raise money for the service club or charity. A tip is not expected when using a credit card as the total would include a service charge.
Australian employers pay a sufficient living wage and do not expect their employees to supplement their income with tips. The tipping practice of American tourists is increasingly common at some hospitality establishments in larger cities for exceptional service. In recent decades, tip jars have been sighted in some urban areas although it is still regarded by locals as a personal and optional choice.
Casinos in Australia generally prohibit tipping of gaming staff, as it is considered bribery. (For example, in the state of Tasmania, the Gaming Control Act 1993 states in section 56 (4): "it is a condition of every special employee's licence that the special employee must not solicit or accept any gratuity, consideration or other benefit from a patron in a gaming area." )

New Zealand

Tipping is not part of New Zealand culture and is often treated with suspicion or actively frowned upon, as many people view it as a largely American custom that over-compensates certain workers while others are left out; additionally there is a feeling that tipping is paying twice for one service. Despite this, some forms of tipping are common, such as rounding up a taxi fare. It is almost as likely, however, that the taxi driver will round the fare down to the nearest dollar. Some cafés keep a jar on the counter marked "tips for staff" in which customers can leave small change. Occasionally tips are given in a restaurant for exceptional service; particularly in the larger cities like Wellington or Auckland. Others may feel that the people who do this are being ostentatious and showing off their wealth. New Zealanders traveling overseas often find the custom difficult and confusing.
However, many New Zealanders travel and live in other countries, often returning to New Zealand; bringing the tipping habit back with them.
In general, people who perform a service in New Zealand, such as waiters and hairdressers, are tipped with a smile and a thank you.


In general, in the European Union and other parts of Europe, tipping is uncommon, although there are regional variations.


In Austria, waiters receive sufficient wages such that tips are not expected. Tipping is however common and, although legally not mandatory, often considered as socially obligatory. Giving 5% to 10% of the total amount is common; more signals exceptionally good service. Paying a multiple of a Euro is usual, for low sums the amount paid is often a multiple of 50 cents (i.e. a bill of 7.80 can be paid as 8 or 8.50).
Tipping is not practised when the goods are exchanged over the counter (i.e. in fast-food restaurants or at street stalls). Traditionally, the owner of a restaurant (known as "Wirt" in German) does not receive a tip. A tip is known in the German language as Trinkgeld, which literally translates as 'money for drink'. In similar fashion, the French expression is pourboire. It is also common practice to tip other service employees, like taxi drivers or hair dressers.


Tipping, called бакшиш (bakshish) in Bulgarian, is not the custom in Bulgaria, although one can leave a tip as a sign of appreciation.


Tipping is not particularly common, although it may occur in restaurants and bars. Prices are usually already adjusted upwards, and labour laws ensure a minimum wage for all workers, therefore tipping is usually not expected.
A unique practice of tipping exists among the pensioners who receive their pension via mail in rural settlements. They may leave any coinage to the postman who delivers it as a sign of appreciation.

Czech Republic

Although it is customary to tip in the Czech Republic, it has very little to do with the size of the bill, and more to do with a sign of appreciation.

Denmark, Sweden and Norway

The service charge is not separated from the bill, but adjusted for in the salary of the person. Traditionally, the tip has not been common, but is being introduced by outside influence. Tipping should only be given as a token of real appreciation for the service. Be aware that the tips will most often be split between the waiters and the kitchen. If you want to thank a specific person, make sure to tell them it is a personal gift Taxi drivers do not expect tips, any extra service (such as carrying bags) will be listed on the receipt according to rate. In this region, tipping is sometimes referred to as driks (Norwegian) but usually just tips, drikkepenge (Danish) or dricks (Swedish), meaning for drinks.


In Finland tipping, known as tippi ("tips") or juomaraha (literally "drink money") is entirely optional. Coat checkers generally have a compulsory service fee. Tips are preferred in cash instead of credit cards, because of avoiding sharing with the employer and with the tax office. For clerks, police, etc. tipping is not allowed, and could lead to legal problems.


In France, service charge is always included, and so tipping, or le pourboire (lit. "for a drink"), is not expected.


In Germany, sufficient wages are paid to most service employees. However, tips (das Trinkgeld, lit. "drink money") are expected in many situations. In bars, restaurants (except fast food places without table service), guided tours, taxicabs and sometimes barber shops, tips are expected to be about 5% of the total amount if the guest was satisfied with the service. The owner of the business was usually not tipped even if he served his customers personally, but this is changing. When the bill is presented, pay any multiple of 0.50 Euro, because very poor tips are considered rude. If the customer does not want to give an appropriate amount, he should rather give no tip at all. However, it is acceptable to leave cents in change money behind adding "Stimmt so!" (pronounced: shtimt zo; meaning: I'm OK with this).
Public toilet ("WC" in German) attendants are often tipped €0.30 to €0.50, usually by leaving the money on a plate by the door.
It is customary to give a relatively large tip around Christmas time to such people as house cleaners, postmen, garbage collectors, and the newspaper delivery men.


In Greece tip is known as filodorima (meaning gift for a friend). Tipping traditionally is not based on a predetermined percentage. Customers usually leave a tip to the 'maitre',waiters,valets and bell boys, varying from few coins to large amounts of money, according to how satisfied they are by the service. In some cases, waiters gain more money from tips than their wage. Tipping to taxi drivers is uncommon.


Tips are given in Hungary for some services: in restaurants, in bars, to cab drivers, to hairdressers, and often to people that fix things around the house, like plumbers and electricians. Tips are called borravaló, "a little something for wine", in Hungarian.
Although not legally required, social norms encourage that tips are given. The amount varies by profession: in restaurants the normal amount is around 5% to 10% of the total bill, but hairdressers can expect 25% or more in tips, since they are expected to make more money in tips than in wages.
Additionally there is the custom of hálapénz (gratitude money) that may be classified as a tipping system in Hungarian healthcare. Because of the comprehensive healthcare system where everyone receives healthcare for free, and the generally low wages for health care professionals, doctors and nurses can often expect to receive fairly substantial sums of money or goods from their patients.


In Iceland tipping (þjórfé, lit. "drink money") is rare. Service charges are generally included in the bill.


In the Republic of Ireland, tipping has not been established as a custom, though has become much more commonplace in the period of increased wealth through the Celtic Tiger. Many people working in the service industry, particularly in restaurants, would expect a tip. It is increasingly common to tip hairdressers/barbers and for a taxi ride; the fare would normally be rounded up. It is not customary to tip bar staff, or any 'over the counter' server, though often waiters in pubs (known as lounge staff) are tipped a token amount. It is not usual to tip in a restaurant when a service charge is included (which is the norm for large groups), except in the case of exceptional service. Where no service charge is indicated, a tip of about 10% to 12% is appropriate for good service.


Tips (la mancia) are customary in Italy, but not essential. The tradition of the tip remains impervious to change, even though café or restaurant prices now more and more often include both cover charge and service. On paying the bill, if it is paid in cash it is a matter of leaving a few notes from the change, or saying to the waiter "va bene così" ("it's all right"), when the difference between the amount paid and the actual bill automatically becomes the tip. When using a credit card, there are two possibilities: if the total on the credit card slip is the same as the bill, again leave some notes as a tip; but if the amount or the total are blank, simply round up the total to include the tip when signing the credit card slip.. Tipping in bars and discotheques is not expected and very rare.

The Netherlands

In The Netherlands, tips, or de fooi in Dutch, are common in restaurants. Tips are expected to be around 5% to 10% of the total amount (depending on the quality of service), unless the service has been poor. Tips are generally not expected in bars, but are not uncommon. In addition, in the holiday season, it is customary for the newspaper delivery person to receive a tip of around 2.50 to 5.


The tip is usually 10% of the bill and is expected in restaurants, coffee shops, taxi, hair dresser. Many other shops not frequented by westerners refuse tips, perceiving them as a form of bribery.


In Russia, tipping (На чай, na chai, or Чаевые, chaevie, lit. "for a tea", in Russian) is not necessary. Still, it is necessary to pay about 10% tips in restaurants, especially in Moscow. Some restaurants may include service into the amount, but it's very rare. Tipping is not considered customary for taxis.


Tipping is known as напојница/napojnica or бакшиш/bakšiš (baksheesh) in Serbian. Tips are not considered a strict social obligation, however leaving a tip (10-15%) is usually expected in restaurants if the customer is not dissatisfied with the service. Tips are also accepted in bars and taxi cabs (usually by rounding up the amount paid).

Kosovo (Serbia)

In Kosovo, a Serbian province currently under UN administration, generally tipping is not expected by anyone. Most likely locals are not expected to tip. However, foreigners and visitors are often welcome to tip. Tipping varies by the location and the type of the restaurant. Restaurants near the international institutions usually have more international visitors so tipping may be common, but not necessarily expected.


Tipping is not customary in Slovenia and traditionally it is almost never done. In recent times, however, high-tourist areas have begun to accept tips, which are welcomed but not obligatory. In such cases, the amount is typically 10 percent, but may range higher in exceptional circumstances.


Tipping is not customary in Spain and it is almost never done among natives. While in bars and small restaurants, Spaniards only leave as a tip the small change they receive in a plate after paying the bill. In more sophisticated restaurants it is customary to leave between 5% and 10%. No tips are expected outside the restaurant business.


Swiss workers enjoy a very high per capita income and minimum wage. As a result of this and modern cultural influences, tipping is typically low (for example a maximum of CHF5 regardless of bill size), if not non-existent. Tipping is also very rare outside of restaurants and is even rare at bars.

United Kingdom

Tipping throughout the UK is strictly optional. A tip may be offered for good service in a restaurant, barber's, hairdresser's or for a taxi journey but it is clearly understood that a tip will not necessarily be given.
Tipping a policeman, fireman, nurse, doctor or other public-sector workers is prohibited and in the case of the police may be considered attempted bribery. For other public servants, however, a box of chocolates, flowers or possibly a bottle of wine may be considered appropriate as an expression of special gratitude. Some private companies may require their employees to refuse tips for various reasons. For instance, the John Lewis Partnership states to employees that customers should not be expected to pay more for good service, and that any tips that are received should be handed in.
In some table service restaurants, a 'service charge' is common (and sometimes added to the bill, in which case there is no obligation to tip further), but not compulsory and some people never tip. Unlike in many other countries, there is no percentage perceived to be 'correct' when tipping. However, 10% is a considered a good minimum within the restaurant industry and is generally considered the default. In self-service establishments, tips are not usually given, except in exceptional circumstances. Many restaurants will allow tips to be added to a credit card bill, but it is generally considered better to leave cash at the table. The reason for this is that cash is deemed to have been given to the waiting staff directly, whilst credit card payments and cheques are legally payable to the restaurant. Whilst a tip given by credit card or cheque will almost always be passed on to the waiting staff, it is legal for restaurants to pay their staff less than the minimum wage if the amount given in tips via the restaurant management augments their wages to the level of the minimum wage.
Tipping the delivery person upon arrival of a take-away is also quite common especially when delivery is fast.
It is not normal to tip for drinks in a pub or bar, although offering to buy the barperson a drink is considered acceptable and they may then take (money) for the value of a drink (which is in effect taking a tip). In cases where the pub is also a restaurant, the serving staff may be tipped. It is less usual to tip in cafés and coffee shops than in restaurants.
In some establishments, tips are kept individually by the waiter or waitress, whereas in others they may be pooled and divided amongst all the staff. In other instances, tips may be set aside for some other purpose for the benefit of the staff, such as to fund a staff party or trip.

North America


Tipping in Canada is very similar to that in the United States due to the close cultural nature of the two countries. For example, while tipping for waiters in the United States is 15-20% for good service, waiters in Canada also receive 15-20% for good service. Quebec and Ontario allow employers to pay lower minimum wages to workers who would reasonably be expected to be receiving tips. In Ontario, the minimum wage is $8.00 per hour, with the exceptions for: Students under 18 years old and employed for not more than 28 hours a week, who are paid $7.25 per hour; and Liquor servers, who are paid $6.95 per hour.
Workers who receive tips are legally required to report the income to the Canada Revenue Agency and pay income tax on it. However, many workers have been known to not report any income from tips at all or, perhaps more commonly, to "lowball" the figure. In response, the CRA has vowed that it will closely check the tax returns of individuals that it would reasonably expect to be receiving tips to ensure that the tips are reported, and that the amount reported on the returns is realistic.
Many places where there is gambling involved and one wins a large amount of money, a tip is expected as a thank you for the dealer or salesperson.(eg. lottery retailer, casino, bingo hall, etc.)


Tipping in Mexico is also similar to the United States. In Mexico a tip is known as una propina in Spanish. It is usually from 10 to 15%.
Meals have a 10% to 15% tip (this includes fast food deliveries). This tip is usually left by most people in restaurants, although it is not so common in street restaurants or stands, where the tenders usually have a can or box where people deposit coins.
In Mexican bars and night clubs it is often seen that they charge directly into the bill the 15% of the total amount (taxes included) which is illegal in most cases because of the imposition of the tip and because they calculate the 15% with taxes included.
In large groups, or in night clubs the barmen expect the customers to deposit their tip in a cup left on the table before serving the drinks. This way, the service they give is in function with the tip they received.
Viene vienes ("Car guards")
It is also customary to give a tip to the person who sometimes guard the car as if they were valet parking; in Mexico these people are often called "viene viene" (literally: "comes, comes") and usually people give them from 3 to 20 Mexican pesos depending on the zone, although viene vienes sometimes ask for bigger sums of money when the car is left close to a night life area.
Retail Stores (Supermarkets)
In medium and large retail stores such as Wal-Mart there are uniformed helpers, usually children or the elderly, who bag the products just after the clerk has scanned them. This role is called cerillo (Spanish for "match"). It is common for these helpers to not have a base salary, so all the money earned is from the tips people give them. Most customers give from 2 to 5 Mexican pesos depending on the quantity of products. Cerillos also put the bags in the cart and if the load is large they can even help bringing it to the car and unloading the bags; in these cases they normally receive more than 15 pesos.
Tipping is not expected in cabs or buses, except when it is a tour. In some populated Mexican restaurants wandering musicians enter, play, and expect the customers to pay something, although this is voluntary. In filling stations, the workers usually get from 2 to 5 pesos for every gasoline load. In stadiums people give a small tip to the person that shows the place where they should sit. Tips are also given to bell-boys, to barbers and people that work in similar services.

United States

Tipping in the United States is widely practiced and is considered by some to be an obligation under a variety of circumstances. Many consider the custom to be antiquated, adding an unnecessary level of complication for the customer. Employees in occupations where tipping is common receive very low salaries and the majority of compensation in tips. United States wage laws stipulate much lower minimums for occupations where tipping is expected.
Tipping is often computed on the amount of a transaction, before tax. The practice of tipping varies from place to place. In general, tipping is practiced when services are rendered by an employee in the restaurant, bar, hotel, and/or taxi industries.
Tipping is usually up to the discretion of the person receiving the service, while most establishments add a gratuity to parties of 6 or more. The customer should verify this in advance, in order to avoid double tipping. In the case of excellent service, a customer should feel free to include an extra tip even if the establishment has added some gratuity, as the service professional usually has no say about whether or not there employers use this policy.
When tipping is expected, giving a very small tip, such as a penny, is used as a deliberate snub, to indicate service was awful.
At a restaurant
Tipping is considered by some to be a social custom in restaurants having traditional table service. The customary tip for a restaurant meal in the United States historically ranged from 10 to 15 percent of the total bill (before tax)for good to excellent service. Today 15 to 20 % (before tax for good to excellent service) is apparently now the norm . According to Fodor's: At restaurants, a 15% tip is typical for waiters; up to 20% may be expected by some waiters at more expensive establishments.
Many restaurants include a tip at 18% or more on the bill for groups of 6 or more guests. This should be verified by the customer to avoid double tipping, or if the customer would like to add additional gratuity in the case of excellent service.
Tipping on wine with a meal requires some discretion/judgment, as many restaurants mark up their wine 200 to 400%. Tipping etiquette websites (e.g. etiquette,,,, etc.) suggest a tip of 15% on the meal before tax, and 5-10% on the wine (especially if the total wine bill is near or exceeds the cost of the meal).
With the advent of many traditional table service restaurants offering take-out and curbside service, standards for tipping vary. One source advocates optional tipping. Others say that tipping should be 5-10%. More money may be offered if exceptional service is provided or if the order is particularly difficult.
Tipping at buffet-style restaurants depends on the level of service. If patrons get their own beverages, $1 per head is usual. If patrons order beverages (or more) from the server, then a nominal tip such as 5% of the bill based on service quality may be considered.
Tipping at fast food restaurants and coffee places such as Starbucks (where there is no traditional table service), is not necessary, despite the growing number of tip jars (a.k.a. guilt cans) appearing at them.
It is common for servers to "tip out" portions of their tip receipts to support staff like bussers. Bartenders usually are tipped separately by the patrons ordering drinks at the bar.
At a bar
When purchasing alcoholic beverages at a bar it is customary to tip. If a bartender is taking special care to take and fill your drink orders quickly at a busy bar where others may be waiting for service, a tip in the higher range is appropriate.
At a hotel
Bellmen are customarily tipped approximately one dollar per bag in five star hotels, and often tipped for deliveries (food, boxes, faxes). Room-service personnel at most American hotels expect tips, anywhere between 10% to 15% of the price (before tax) of what was ordered. It should be noted that many hotels automatically add a service fee to room service meals. The customer should verify this in order to avoid double tipping. A small tip for the housekeeping staff is discretionary. Tipping the front desk staff is almost never done unless the service is exceptional.
Delivered meals
The driver is often tipped 10%. A greater tip can be given if the driver has to drive in inclement weather (e.g. snow), carry heavy loads, and/or climb flights of stairs. This issue is complicated by establishments sometimes charging a delivery fee, which is similar to a service charge, although in many cases (e.g. pizza delivery establishments such as Dominos) the driver gets no part of the delivery fee, and may be under-tipped as a result.
Car wash
If a person hand dries the car, he/she is sometimes tipped.
Getting a haircut
For a haircut or salon service, it is customary to tip the barber or stylist 10% to 20%.
At restaurants or hotels where the customer valets their car, it is customary to tip the valet $2-5 or occasionally more at high-class establishments.
Tattoos and Body Piercing
It is also customary for a customer to tip a tattoo artist or body piercer. Although tipping for these professions is customary, there is no set percentage to tip the artist.
Christmas season
Many service staff are tipped annually during the Christmas season, such as newspaper carriers, house cleaners and pool cleaners. Some people also tip their local mail carrier in this manner, not knowing that it is illegal to do so (see government workers below).
In some large cities, the staff of apartment buildings, such as building superintendents, porters, concierges and doormen, receive similar annual tips.
Government workers
Under United States federal law it is considered bribery to tip government employees. However, they are permitted to receive gifts less than or equal to $20.00. A non-monetary gift valued at $20 or less is appropriate. A potential tipper can donate money to a charity related to the government agency. For example, most National Parks have related "natural history associations", in which case the worker that prompted the tip may appreciate hearing that their service prompted a donation.
Many reputable retailers forbid their employees to accept tips (although this is illegal in some states, such as California, due to the fact that state law states "tips are the property of whom they are given, and employers are not allowed to require employees to refuse, give, or share their tips with anyone". Tips are not generally given to parcel-delivery workers, and acceptance of tips may be forbidden by state laws and/or the employer. No tip is expected for retail clerks who bag one's groceries or carry one's purchases to the car. Some grocery stores have a jar for spare change by the cash register, which is not for tips but is used to help cash customers who are short on change (for example, a customer paying a $5.02 bill can use $0.02 from the change jar and thereby avoid paying $6.00 and getting $0.98 back in change).

South America


Service charges are included with the bill. Still, a small tip, around 5% or so, is sometimes given, and is considered polite.


The customary tip at restaurants is 10% for good service, although a few restaurants charge a mandatory service fee for large parties. It is usually not expected in cabs. Tipping a delivery worker is incredibly rare. In fact, most delivery companies will ask the client how he or she is going to pay for the product so that the exact change could be provided. However, it should be noted that many restaurants include a 10% delivery charge in the note. Such a charge often depends on the municipality.


There is no obligation to tip in Chile. This was not the case until 1981, when law number 7.388 was derogated. It stated that tipping was mandatory at places like restaurants, and the tip amount should be between 10% and 20% of the bill. Since then, it is usually assumed that customers will leave a tip of 10%, if the service is considered satisfactory.


Service charges are included with the bill, and tipping is uncommon.


Trinidad and Tobago

Tipping has not been a custom, but is become more commonplace in recent times.
  • Restaurants: Some restaurants, especially those in hotels or those that serve foreign tourists expect a tip. Most do not.
  • Taxicabs: Only airport taxis expect a tip. Local taxis do not.
gratuity in Belarusian: Гасцінец
gratuity in Belarusian (Tarashkevitsa): Гасьцінец
gratuity in Bulgarian: Бакшиш
gratuity in Danish: Drikkepenge
gratuity in German: Trinkgeld
gratuity in Estonian: Jootraha
gratuity in Spanish: Propina
gratuity in French: Pourboire
gratuity in Korean: 사례금
gratuity in Hebrew: תשר
gratuity in Dutch: Fooi
gratuity in Japanese: チップ (サービス)
gratuity in Polish: Napiwek
gratuity in Portuguese: Gorjeta
gratuity in Russian: Чаевые
gratuity in Serbian: Бакшиш
gratuity in Finnish: Palveluraha
gratuity in Swedish: Dricks
gratuity in Chinese: 小費

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