Millennials Are Terrible At Tipping And Here’s Why

One in 10 say they usually don’t leave any tip.

Millennials Are Terrible At Tipping And Here's Why
Photo by Sam Truong Dan via Unsplash

You’d think a generation known for avocado toast and Unicorn Frappuccinos would be generous with tipping, but that’s far from reality. According to a new survey from CreditCards.com:

  • Ten percent of Americans ages 18 to 37 say they routinely leave no tip. Nearly one in three leaves less than a 15 percent tip at restaurants. Older adults tip more.
  • When presented with a variety of suggested tipping options, as you might find at a food truck or coffee shop or after taking an Uber, about one in six millennials say they regularly choose the lowest option, and nearly one in five gives no tip – the highest figures of any age group.
  • Young adults are the most likely to say they would prefer to do away with tips and have the service charge included in restaurant food prices. About 27 percent of millennials say they favor that option to the existing system.

Senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com, Matt Schulz, told Moneyish that “In some ways, it’s not surprising at all because of the well-documented financial struggles of millennials — whether it’s struggling to get their feet under them career-wise, or student loan debt, or any of myriad other reasons.”

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He said on the flip side, the typical restaurant worker is a millennial. “So in some ways, it seems a bit self-defeating.”

It makes sense. The older you are, the more money you’re likely to have. So it’s not just a case of Millennials being cheapskates.

And while older people prefer tipping over young adults, almost everyone wants to see those they’re tipping get paid more. “There are people who want to pay waiters more, but when you say you’re going to pay for it out of higher menu prices, they are not so thrilled,” says Michael Lynn, a tipping expert at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

According to the survey, 30 percent of college graduates and 26 percent of people making more than $75,000 a year would also like to do away with tipping at restaurants. However, only 21 percent favored higher food prices and no tipping.

Shulz says:

Tipping can be tricky and awkward because there’s really no right or wrong answer. 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.

Other takeaways from the survey: women are more generous tippers, diners in the Northeast and Midwest tend to tip more, and married people tend to tip more than singletons.

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