Whether you’re dining at a fancy restaurant or just heading off to the coffee shop for a latte fix, you need to know the basics about tipping your server or barista. Tipping is designed for patrons of a business to show appreciation for quality service; some industries such as restaurants and cafes rely exclusively on tips for paying their staff, while others such as hair salons and spas provide a tipping option for great service only. Tipping appropriately shows respect for your server, and can also help you get great service on your next visit. The guidelines vary by country, but there are some general expectations to follow; here’s what you need to know:
TIPPING AT A HOTEL
Tipping at a hotel is recommended, and the amount you tip will depend on the level of service received. In general, you need to tip the maid at least $1 per night of your stay, and between $1-$2 for the doorman and bellman. Anyone who goes out of their way to make your stay more comfortable can be tipped $1-$2, and room service and dining follow the same rules for servers. It’s best to check with the hotel if they include gratuities as part of the bill; some hotels do add a percentage for tips onto your total bill for your stay.
The general rule for servers at a restaurant is a minimum of 10%, and upwards of 20%. If you received mediocre service, 15% will suffice; 20% is best for service that was great, and anything beyond that is appreciated for exceptional service. Do keep in mind that some restaurants add gratuity to the bill automatically, and this can range anywhere from 15-18%+. Just do a quick check of your bill to make sure you’re not double-tipping, and don’t be afraid to add a few dollars if you think service was exceptional.
Coffee shops usually pay their baristas an hourly wage, but tips are appreciated in the “tip jar” or handed to your server independently. The best way to tip for your cup of coffee is to just round up your total to the next dollar, or add $0.50-$0.75 per order. If you plan on camping out at a coffee shop for a few hours, make sure you tip extra if you’re only ordering one or two drinks!
TIPPING AT A SPA OR HAIR SALON
Massage therapists can be tipped 10-15% depending on the quality of service received, and you can leave this with the front desk. The same rule applies for cosmetologists and other spa staff members who are involved with your body treatment or facial, and you can always tip more for exceptional service. Hair stylist and colorists need to be tipped at least 10-20% for services, and you can tip extra if they squeezed you in with a last-minute appointment!
A FEW EXTRA "TIPS"
Holidays and special occasions call for a little extra on the tipping scale, and the amount you choose to tip may also depend on how often you visit a particular place and the quality of service. Do make sure you learn about the establishment’s policy on tipping beforehand, and report any major issues to the manager or supervisor if needed. Tipping doesn’t have to be awkward or confusing when you learn the basic guidelines; just keep these tips in mind on your next venture and show your appreciation for great service whenever possible.