Tipping, New York City

46 Reviews

Know about this?

hide
  • tip the cab driver
    tip the cab driver
    by machomikemd
  • tip the attendant
    tip the attendant
    by machomikemd
  • tip the bartender
    tip the bartender
    by machomikemd
  • Off to NYC soon

    by Gill0912 Written Sep 4, 2012

    We are going to NYC for our 2nd trip in just under 2 wks, I was looking for info on tipping to remind myself, and came across this. I think it's awful that these people have to rely on tipping to make a decent wage. For us personally, we have just put everything on our credit card for this holiday! We don't make a lot ourselves, so it will be difficult enough to afford the bills when we get home, we will tip the expected amount of course, but I just feel it's a lot to add onto our bills also - we are visiting for a week and will have to eat out most of the time - we will have to allow for these extra costs, perhaps the waiting staff could remember this also, I am not a miserable person by any means, but just to appear grateful - even if you are not!!!

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

    Was this review helpful?

  • machomikemd's Profile Photo

    Tipping in Manhattan

    by machomikemd Updated Nov 20, 2010

    1 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    tip the waiter
    4 more images

    Here are some assorted tipping tips in manhattan:

    Delivery people: variable, depending on the size of the delivery and the quality of the service. For small packages $2.00 is fine, but if there are several packages, the tip should be $4 - $5 dollars.

    Doorman: variable, depending upon the service provided. For getting a cab or opening a door, $1.00 is fine, but if he/she carries packages up to your apartment, the tip should be $3 - $5 dollars. Remember, a good doorman is a great asset.

    Hairdressers/barbers: between 15% and 20%. This also applies to manicurists, pedicurists, and masseuses.

    Hotel Staff: between $2.00-$3.00 for each time they clean your room. Usually, this tip is paid at the end of your stay.

    Parking garage attendants: between $1.00-$2.00 each time they deliver your car.
    Skycaps: they should get at least a dollar for each bag you check. You may want to tip more, remember, your luggage is in their hands.

    Taxi drivers: between 10% and 15%. If the service is excellent you can tip more, but if its poor, tip less, or not at all if the driver is downright awful.

    Waiters/Waitresses, Bartenders: between 15% and 20%. If you are with a party of 6 or more, you should tip 20%. Again, the quality of service is a factor. In restaurants and some other places, tips are shared by the "bus boy", "bar tender" and others.In most cases, tips are given directly to the service person, however, at restaurants, clubs and bars, tips can be added to your bill if you pay by credit card or if you are dining at the restaurant of the hotel you are staying in, you may include a tip on the house charge slip. In either case, you must write the amount of the tip on either the charge card slip or the house charge slip and enter a "total" amount at the bottom.

    Related to:
    • Wine Tasting
    • Food and Dining
    • Beer Tasting

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jenniflower's Profile Photo

    Tips!Tips!Tips!

    by Jenniflower Updated Aug 26, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    1 more image

    We are very good tippers, always giving more than the local accepted tarrif.

    New York is the first place we have ever visited where we have felt bombarded to pay a tip (as if it's assumed we would not be going to...), and we were even told on one occasion how much to give to the cent!!! Which we of course thought was a bally cheek!

    The two most irritating times were on the open top tour bus, and a local cafe across the road from our hotel. It put us off eating there again!

    In one of our bus trips (it was a hop and off type bus), there was this very loud and brash guy (OK, we are in New York haha), and he would be telling us about the history or significance of a place as we drove by, but at each and every stop he would go on about how he earns minimum wage and relies on tips, and then he goes and stands right by the front exit door, so you have to go past him to get out, talk about pressure!

    After a few times we were getting off thankfully, and he was the ONLY person, on principal, that we never gave a tip to. We did not like his aggressive behaviour, or the sarcastic comments he would trail behind those who got off and did not give him a tip.

    We pay a lot of money for the tickets themselves, and tips are not obligatory... so we really didn't appreciate his forcefulness and attitude!!!

    Then at the cafe we had a light-ish meal, and before we had finished eating we asked for the bill as per usual. I had popped to the loo, and the waitress gave my husband the bill and said at the sam time, 'and your tip is $x.xx'... down to the cents!

    My husband was taken aback.. we have travelled to many countries and never before have we been told what tip we should give!!! Plus she had added on a 20% tip, and sorry, but this was a cafe, a 15% tip would be the max we would give her. A 20% tip is for a proper restaurant. We are not fools.

    'What a cheek' I thought when hubby told me what she had said... she is lucky that I wasn't there when she said it as I would have let her know that what she was saying was out of order to customers.

    The food was good, the cafe quite sweet, but this left a bad taste in our mouth and we did not return there, which is a shame, as it was a handy little place across the road from our hotel.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Photography
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tipping is part of our economy...its important

    by Romulusisthewolf Written Jul 15, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    See, the thing is...if you refuse to tip, it might not affect you...although you will get extremely dirty looks at the very least. But tipping is really a legal requirement, cuz here, waiters only get paid about $2 per hour usually. This is way under the legal minimum wage of almost $7. If everyone were to stop tipping, resteraunts would eventually be legally required to pay thier staff a minimum wage of $7...which would drive prices way way up(and thier already sky high)
    So again, tipping is important to our economy...if you don't tip, everything gets screwed up.
    Also, its jsutr the decent thing to do. There's nothing worse than a tourist who knowingly breaks the social laws. When your here, you have to do your best to act like us.
    And for everyone who complains about being on a budget, at least you have a budget in which you can travel, waiters do not.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tipping on Tour Buses

    by richard3206 Written Apr 16, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    There has been much written about tipping in New York - just do it, it's the norm, however much you object. But I am commenting specifically on tipping the tour guides on the Grayline (and other) tour buses. On each trip, the guide gives a speil about how they are in the service industry, and rely on tips. I'll accept this, but one guide suggested that the proper amount was $5 per person! For a bus that holds over 50 people, that's $250 for a 1 1/2 hour trip. That's just too extreme.

    Was this review helpful?

  • cosmicroy's Profile Photo

    To Tip or Not to Tip - it's not an offence........

    by cosmicroy Written Oct 15, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ok, this is an outsiders view on tipping, hey correct me if I am wrong but isn't tipping based on the service given rather than feeling obliged to do the 'local thing' ?

    Ok prime example, you go to a restaurant, the service is great, your waiter/waitress is just fab..tip time...double the tax and round up, maybe a few more dollars on top as you leave there happy and content !

    The otherside of the coin now..the service is mediocre but hey you have been told that these guys and gals work on a minimum wage and rely on tips.....well hello, the service industry isn't there to deliver miserable non attentive service and expect tips at the end of the day ! Work for your money if that is your chosen job...ok we all have a sob story but that is life, charity is for the real charity cases !!

    The worst senario...OMG..is that person for real, am I dreaming or is this the worst service ever??? Did I order that??? Where is my food? Why is this service staff being so rude???? Rule of thumb...don't leave a tip....... what are they going to do???? Say a few words to you....big deal...you are out of there and probably never going to return..

    Ok, so not leaving a tip is a bad thing? It isn't the worst thing that can happen! Why should any consumer pay for something they are not happy about? Just because it is a custom or 'what the locals do' does not mean that you have to do it. It might also make the bad members of the service industry sit up and say to themselves.... 'Well, I have to do better' , rather than just expect to be tipped !

    I have not left tips in restaurants on numerous occasions in NY....because I feel that they don't deserve it for shoddy bad rude service. You should not have to ! The waiter or waitress are not going to use physical violence to extract money off you as that is a criminal offence!
    On the other hand, good service deserves it's rewards, don't be bullied or think you have to tip ! Remember, you earned your holiday cash, why give it away for the sake of things!

    Enjoy your stay in the Big Apple !

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Business Travel
    • Food and Dining

    Was this review helpful?

  • kenHuocj's Profile Photo

    Tipping ~ Brooke Astor's Philanthropic Style

    by kenHuocj Written Aug 14, 2007

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Astor Row, Harlem  photo: James Estrin/the NYTimes
    2 more images

    Brooke Astor, 105, First Lady of Philanthropy, Dies
    from NY Times "Remembering Brooke Astor" . . .
    Mayor Bloomberg calls he "a quintessential New Yorker
    and one of the greatest philanthropist of our time."
    Mr. Rockefeller says " . ."a leading lady of New York"
    "she never let it go to her head."
    "Most endearing of all, she ewas great fun. . .

    Brooke Astor 1902 - 2007 ". . . She was known as New York City’s unofficial first lady, establishing her presence in both the luxury apartments of Fifth Avenue and the tenements of East Harlem, using her inherited millions to help the less fortunate. . . . "

    and she quoted The Matchmaker's leading player
    “Money is like manure; it’s not worth a thing unless it’s spread around.”

    does that not sum up a unique socialite !

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture
    • Seniors
    • Luxury Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • SIMPLIFY & Abolish Tipping

    by steamboatII Written Jul 19, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The current culture of tipping may be too entrenched to abolish, but one can dream. Tipping is obviously in the best interest of those in the restaurant industry. I have no problem promoting self interest, except that in this case, it’s at the expense and frustration of their customers. Simplify it and include the cost in the price of the meal. (By the way - If tipping is truly at the discretion of the customer, and not required the law, how can the government justify taxing tips ? )

    Michael Lynn, a professor at Cornell University's hotel school, has calculated that over $26 billion a year is spent on gratuities in the United States alone. Despite occasionally being under tipped, the majority of servers make more money under the current tipping system than they would as low-skilled salaried employees. Servers in good restaurants can pull down $150 in tips a day (& much more in better restaurants). That’s $40,000 (and up) a year. That’s ridiculous for that skill level.

    Tipping creates unnecessary complications for the customer (as well as some for server, restaurant manager/owner, and rest of the staff). Tipping can promote an antagonistic division between the customer (who might perceive the service as mediocre), and the server (who assumes the tip is a given). Why are the customers put this position and why are we expected to participate as a financial planner for the server ? Why is it the customer’s job to provide the restaurant’s employees an incentive to perform? Isn’t that the job of the restaurant manager/owner ? The customer’s only involvement should be assessing the quality of the food, service, and atmosphere, and determining if it’s worth a future visit. What if this insanity was the norm for every industry out there ?

    It’s about time that the restaurant industry stop biting the hand it feeds. Why shouldn’t it be simplified ? (something we should also ask the IRS).

    Was this review helpful?

  • When In Rome...

    by tuthaliash Written Apr 19, 2007

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    It seems Brits share at least one trait with many Americans...when they travel abroad, they expect that things ought to be the way they are at home. I don't particularly enjoy paying double what everything is worth in London, but I do. If you think tipping is tough in New York, try Milan - they won't even seat you at some restaurants without adding an extra charge, called a coperto, just for sitting down at a table, and then there is a 15% gratuity added to the bill, upon which you are expected to tip an additional amount.

    Like it or not, different countries and cities have different customs and ways of life. Being a visitor to New York does not exempt you from them. Wages for service personnel in the US are quite low, and these people really do depend on tipping for their livelihood - besides which, as someone else pointed out, most of them don't get health benefits as people do automatically in other countries, including Britain. If that's inconvenient or incomprehensible for you, stay home by all means. It's true that tipping is commensurate with the level of service, but even for indifferent service I have never, NEVER left less than10 percent at a restaurant; I will, however, mention the server's inattentiveness ot the management on my way out.

    Bottom line: realise that things are different in various places, accept it, be polite, and know that what you put out into the world comes back to you multiplied.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Alpha_Ghana's Profile Photo

    Restaurant gratuity

    by Alpha_Ghana Updated Mar 21, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    In USA, services and taxes are not included on the price.
    Whatever you buy, you have to add the tax.
    But if you are in a restaurant, you have to pay a tip to the waiter.
    Usually, you give 10 to 15 % but in NYC, in the non franchised restaurants, waiters expect at least 20%.
    On many bills, they already calculate the tip for you, so that they are sure you don't made a mistake in the low side.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tipping in NYC

    by travelgem1 Written Dec 30, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Don't fret too much on tipping. Use common sense - higher tips for good service, lower or no tip for poorer service.
    Here's what this native does:

    Taxi
    Good idea to be able to give exact fare. Keep a bunch of $1 and $5 available.
    Cabbies generally make good $, but they work hard and usually a tip is called for.
    Regular service - round up tab to next $ then minimum $1.00 or add 10%.
    Exceptional - guy is courteous, drives politely helps with bags (other than popping open the trunk) etc around 20% - heck the guy deserves it!
    Crummy - I'll round up to the nearest $ and pay - I'm not waiting around for change!

    Restaurant
    Beware - some restaurants tack on 15% (or more) automatically, especially for groups of more than 4, so check you bill and signs in the rest.
    Regular service - 15% before tax tab or double the tax (around 17%).
    Exceptional - I'll take 10% of final bill (move the decimal point one left) and double that amount - so 20%+
    Crummy - Depends how bad - sometimes 10% pre-tax, sometimes I wouldn't leave anything.

    No one has ever come running after me, but if they did I would call 911 and would feel especially vindicated about the tip (or lack of). Crying about a tip is not proper behavior for anyone. No matter what anyone here says, no matter where you are, a tip is never mandatory. But do tip for service and food presentation, not flavor - if the flavor is not to your liking that is an issue between you and the restaurant not you and the server.

    Hotels
    I never rented a hotel in NYC, but $2 to $5 / day should be sufficient. Again if poor service, no tip.

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tipping in NYC...

    by tan1415 Written Dec 26, 2006

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hi All,

    Tipping in NYC or the states in general is always tuff.The biggest problem is that it's pretty high and frankly hard to calculate.

    When I tip..I expect to get good service in return.In the usa that's mostly not a problem.(I found that most europeans are not so demanding compared with the american counterparts.I guess because americans pay tips, they are used to demanding more service.In europe it's not like that.Here in europe depending because the service is mostly included, level of service is expected according to establishment.For example in McD's we expect less service than in a michelin start restaurant)

    But what really bother me...people still expect to get a tip even if there service was awfull. And sometimes they can get really really rude about it.
    Some of these people really know how to make you feel uncomfortable if your tip is to low..
    And I hate that and also understand that 15% is expected..so that's what i pony up.

    But 15% is not an easy number to calculate. I follow a tip I read in a travelguide. Just double the tax of about 8% and adjust that downwards.That way you get close to the 15% tip.But if you are a foreigner/foreign looking you can get away with lower tip. But please let it be 10% and above if you want to avoid a not so nice situation.

    20% tip what is suggested here is rather expensive...why that's 1/5 of your bill. Are you telling me that the waiter serving me is 1/5 of the total costs!!That's pretty high ratio to me.

    Also in the fancy restaurants where u have a maitre D', sommelier and waiter....all of them seem to expect a tip.I think I have been screwed over....because I always end up paying more than 15% tip.

    Furthermore is there are a maximum on the amount of tip? Or is that 15% of teh total bill? I have paid $100+ tips a couple of times when i ate at some expensive restaurant. Its still 15%...but 100$ tip. Yikes.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • Can't tip? Stay home

    by aynne35 Written Dec 5, 2006

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Please please do not come into my establishment and make me wait on you and then stiff me. It's not just New York, it's everywhere in the country. I make 2.13 per hour, and all of you people that yammer on about making the extablishments pay us a decent wage, it's not your responsibility, well, don't cry when that it reflected in your price increase. You know already the custom, and 15% is the mimimum for good service! That person earlier that said 1$ per round to the bartender? Are you nuts? It's 1$ per drink, not round. Unless you are only having one round, because at 1$ per round your next round will suck. Trust me on that! Please go to waiterrant.net for the true insider info on how to act and tip when you go to a nice restaurant!!!!

    Was this review helpful?

  • Tipping 101, from a service worker.

    by fiction1117 Written Sep 4, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Here is a tip for everyone, be pleasant to your servers. In most instances, they are working hard to improve their lives. There is nothing worse than a table that just acts plain rude, and treats a server like they are from a lower class. I have regular customers who, while they might not tip so great, I enjoy serving them, because they are warm, and they can bring a smile to my face. (Unfortunately I can't pay my rent with a smile...)

    I am a bartender/waitress in a NYC restaurant. Let me tell you a little about the service industry. The government sets the minimum wage for servers much lower than the minimum wage for other jobs. Our hourly wage is usually less than $4/hour. Out of that money, almost all of it goes to taxes, so our checks for those wages are usually for less than $5, per week. We do not get health/dental insurance, sick days, vacation time, etc. Out of our tips, we tip out other people in the restaurant: runners, bussers, barbacks, bartenders, sommeliers, expeditors, etc. When I am serving, at least 30% of my tips go to other people in the restaurant, more if I have made an unusual amount money, or if someone on the support staff really helped me out a lot.

    Many restaurant workers are actors, singers, and students. Our days are filled with auditions and classwork, so many of us are only able to work part time. I, personally, am a full time student, juggling about 16 credits with a full-time job.

    Although we don't always get paid so well, restaurant workers that I know are all very giving and generous with their time and money. I don't know any worker who would tip less than 20% even for just OK service. This amount is not expected from normal folks, but 18% considered a descent tip. And believe me, if you tip 10% and/or act like a jerk to your server, they will remember you, and the next time you come in, you probably won't get top-notch service, because our time is better spent trying to help the customers who appreciate our hard work.

    Was this review helpful?

  • tomhoward's Profile Photo

    Tipping the NYC way 3

    by tomhoward Updated Jul 21, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Throw in the hidden sales taxes, and you can easily see a New York holiday budget ballooning once you are there. I suggest planning out your holiday and multiplying the budget by 1.20 just to be sure you’re covered. Most restaurants have priced menus on their websites anyway so no bill should come as a shock to you.

    On a typical holiday to New York, the bulk of your tips will go to taxi drivers, bar staff & waiters. Compared to the UK, taxis are quite cheap so I don’t begrudge the extra $$, as the actual meter fare is probably just covering fuel, car depreciation etc. Also, if their English is good enough (almost none are American), most cab drivers have got pretty interesting stories to tell about their lives.

    Don’t mind the 15% in restaurants as most of the wait staff put English service in the shade. A good tip I read recently (from an American) on VT recently advised tipping 15-20% on the FOOD TOTAL (i.e. minus the wine). Presumably as most main courses are similarly priced and it is personal choice if you want a $30 or $300 bottle of wine. I have only refused to pay the 15% once – in Koi – and the waiter, along with other diners, were pretty stunned. Surprisingly, or not maybe, he took money off the bill, but kept his 15% on the revised lower total.

    Bar staff are probably the most useful people to keep on side. If you sit at the bar and start chatting to them, invariably you will get a free round or two. When you leave, simply leave a larger tip than you would normally. In the case of one free round, I left a tip equal to slightly less than a round total. You save money and the bar staff get a larger tip. This beautifully plays the system back to the bar owners – the only loser in the transaction. We lost count of the number of free drinks we got this way. In the better bars they’re also a great source of knowledge for nightlife tips and celebrity gossip.

    Related to:
    • Business Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Romantic Travel and Honeymoons

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: New York City

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

82 travelers online now

Comments

View all New York City hotels