Americans tipping less now amid pandemic than in 2019, survey shows

Zach Fuentes Image
Saturday, June 11, 2022
Americans tipping less now than in 2019, survey shows
According to a report, people in the U.S. are tipping less now amid the COVID-19 pandemic than in 2019.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Service workers of the shops and restaurants throughout the Bay Area work hard to help others relax.

Much of their income, relies on tips.

But according to this report from, people in the U.S. are tipping less now than in 2019.

"Well, it's the opposite of what I do," said Milton Johnson who frequents local restaurants, "I tip more because people have been unemployed, they've had difficult times so they need the money."

Still, not everyone is as generous according to the report.

RELATED: California tippers some of the worst in the nation, according to new study

In 2019, 77% of U.S. adults always tipped servers at sit-down restaurants, but this year - that number has dropped to 73%.

Inflation is cited as a major factor along with hiring shortages that make it difficult to hire top of the line service.

Restaurant owner Randy Musterer says the pandemic and staffing did impact his businesses and potential tips.

They added an 18% gratuity to every check but recently removed it.

"All of our staff, were concerned about removing that 18% forced gratuity," he said, "But now they're excited because we're seeing what people are all about and wanting to tip a little bit extra."

VIDEO: Do you understand surcharges and tips at restaurants?

Are you more and more confused with your bill every time you go out to eat at a restaurant? You might have noticed an "extra line" on your receipt. It's probably a service charge, a healthcare surcharge, or a minimum wage surcharge.

Gaurang Panduie owns an ice cream shop in Campbell, his workers don't serve customers at a table but can still use the tips.

"Kids are working over here you know, for their education or their college, they're looking for summer jobs," Gaurang Panduie said, "During school time they are also looking for these kind of jobs, part-time, so it's very important."

Sushi Confidential customers still pay a "living wage surcharge".

Musterer says the 3.5%, goes towards paying employee health benefits.

Though tipping in addition to that isn't expected, he says people have been more than generous.

"People are excited to be out dining," he said, "Getting back to normal and willing to tip extra."

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