Millennials Are Stingy Tippers

Ten percent of Millennials say they usually leave nothing as a tip for a server when dining out at a restaurant, and among those who leave tips for various services, they usually leave a smaller amount than those who are older.

When it comes to tipping, many Millennials (ages 18 to 37) are skimping out, according to a new survey.


Ten percent of Millennials say they usually leave nothing as a tip for a server when dining out at a restaurant, compared to just 3% of those who are older. Furthermore, 18% typically decline to leave any amount when presented with pre-entered tipping options in a taxi/Uber/Lyft, at a food truck, at a coffee shop, etc., versus 12% of older adults.


The median restaurant tip for a Millennial diner is 15%, less than the overall median of 18%. While over half (51%) of those ages 38 and older normally tip at least 20% at restaurants, that number falls to a little more than one-third (36%) of Millennials. When given a choice of pre-entered tipping options, 14% of Millennials pick the lowest one, twice as many as those who are older.


Overall, the restaurant tipping sweet-spot is 20%, as noted by more than two in five (42%) respondents. Approximately one-quarter (23%) typically leave 15%, while another 17% do tip, but leave less than that. Additionally, 6% say they usually leave nothing, and 4% tend to top the 20% threshold.


When selecting pre-entered tipping amounts for things like car rides, coffee or take-out meals, Americans either play it safe (33% select the middle option) or go off the grid (35% enter a custom amount). Fourteen percent say they usually leave nothing in these circumstances, while the propensity to leave the highest and lowest amount is about evenly split.


“Tipping can be tricky and awkward because there’s really no right or wrong answer,” says senior industry analyst Matt Schulz. “However, the truth is that many workers rely on tips to generate a large portion of their income. To them, it’s not just about etiquette. It’s about being able to provide for their families and put food on their own tables.”


The study was conducted for by GfK Custom Research North America on its OmniWeb online omnibus. The sample consists of 1,000 completed interviews.
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