While most people think that too many places ask for tips, they’re also frequently happy to pay a little extra for good service, according to new data from BentoBox. The restaurant-marketing platform checked in with more than 2,500 diners across the United States for a comprehensive look at the state of tipping in the country, breaking down the numbers by type of establishment, diners’ income level, and more.
When it comes to full-service dining, 68 percent of respondents said that tipping is always necessary, with 88 percent saying that fine dining deserves a gratuity. Upscale restaurants fared quite well overall: 58 percent of those who eat at fine-dining establishments tip 10 to 20 percent, and one in five add more than 20 percent. Compare that with one in 10 when it comes to casual diners.
High earners—defined by BentoBox as those making more than $100,000—are more likely to be eating at these fine-dining restaurants, and their thoughts about tipping are somewhat conflicted. In the survey, they expressed that they liked tipping because of the control it gives to diners, with high earners responding most positively to statements like “The practice of tipping leads to better service overall.” However, this same group is the most likely to call for tipping to be replaced. A whopping 85 percent said that restaurants should pay a living wage instead of asking for gratuity, while 45 percent said they’d prefer that a restaurant add an “adequate percentage” to the bill.
That is consistent with the overall trend exhibited in the data. While 62 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t miss tipping if it were gone, 56 percent also said that their preferred method of tipping is choosing the amount themselves, rather than having gratuity automatically added to the bill or paying slightly more for items to avoid tipping in general. And a whopping 80 percent of diners said they like tipping because it rewards good service.
Americans may not be united on whether they want tipping to stick around or not, but they do seem to agree that good service should be acknowledged.