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Tipping Guide for New York City

bartender counting money from tips

Most workers in New York’s service industry earn minimum wage or slightly above it. They make a large portion of their income through tips. This encourages New Yorkers in the service industry to provide better service.

This tipping guide for NYC teaches the tipping etiquette in the City That Never Sleeps. 

How Much Should You Tip in New York City?

It depends on who you’re tipping. Generally, tipping in New York City aligns with the national average, which is  15–20% of the total bill. 

While tipping 15–20% of the total bill is considered standard, it’s up to you to put a price on the quality of the service you’ve received. Although 15–20% is standard, you can tip a custom amount.

A few other things you should take into consideration when tipping are the type of establishment you’re in and the order size. Having said that, let’s take a look at the tipping etiquette for a few different positions.

How Much Should You Tip Waiters/Servers in New York City? 

Unless you’ve received extremely poor service, you should always tip Waiters between 15–20% of the total bill. 

Lately, 20% has become the norm, especially in higher-end establishments in NYC. 

You can also round up the number if it’s a few dollars off from a whole number. So, for example, if a dinner for two costs $80, a 20% tip would make the bill $96. If you received good service, you can round up the amount you’ll pay to $100. 

Appropriate Amount to Tip Bartenders in New York City 

You should tip Bartenders at least $1 to $2 per drink. You can also round up the number. So if your drink is $7, you can round it up with a $10 bill. 

Of course, you can be more gracious with your tip if they provide you with personalized service, like a custom cocktail or garnish to make your cocktail more “Instagrammable”.

Some Bartenders, such as flair Bartenders, do more than mix and serve drinks. They also provide a form of entertainment, so it’s customary to tip them a higher amount. Similarly, if you’re in a cocktail bar where Bartenders are the ones providing the focal service, consider giving an additional tip. 

As for larger groups with an open tab, it’s best to tip Bartenders the usual 15–20% after you get the bill.

bartender serving drink receiving tip

Should You Tip a Host/Hostess in New York City? 

In most cases, you won’t be tipping a Host or Hostess in a restaurant or bar. Hosts/Hostesses typically get a portion from a tip pool with other front-of-house staff members. 

However, if you have a special request, such as getting a table with a good view, you should definitely hand a tip to your Host/Hostess to increase your chances of being accommodated.

How much you tip is up to you, but most people tip in the $5–$10 range. In high-end establishments, you may even want to up the tip to $20. 

Sommelier Tipping Etiquette in New York City 

The job of a Sommelier is to recommend wine and food pairings in upscale restaurants. While tipping them is considered optional, they can be instrumental in your overall dining experience.

In that case, you should consider tipping them $10 to $20 directly, or include the tip in the total bill.

How Much to Tip Valets in New York? 

The appropriate amount to tip Valets is between $3 to $5. You can tip them before or after the service. Most people tip after.

If you think the Valet provided an exceptional service, consider tipping $10. The same applies if the Valet works in a high-end establishment or if you drive an expensive car. 

valet providing valeting service

General Tipping Tips for New York City 

While you now probably have a general idea about how much you should tip different service personnel, here are a few best practices that you should follow: 

  • Most service workers prefer cash tips, so consider having $1, $2 and $5 bills on hand. 
  • Some restaurants and bars include gratuity (or service charge) in your total bill. Gratuity is usually applicable to large groups, depending on the establishment’s policy. That said, check your bill carefully to avoid double-tipping. 
  • Tip the pre-tax amount. There’s no need to tip on taxes.
  • At coffee shops or your fast-casual lunch spot, you can leave $1–$2 for your coffee or takeout in the tip jar. You can also opt not to tip if all they did was hand you the order over the food counter. At the end of the day, tipping is voluntary. 

How Much Should You Tip Other Service Industry Workers in NYC?

Tipping Hotel Concierge and Housekeeping in New York City 

You don’t have to tip a hotel Concierge unless they’re going above and beyond to meet your specific needs, like a last-minute room change. In that case, you should tip between $5–$10 at least. 

For housekeeping, however, you should always tip $5 a day. You can consider a higher amount if they’re being accommodating towards your specific requirements. 

Tipping Uber Drivers and Taxi Drivers in New York City 

You should tip Uber drivers and taxi drivers just like service staff, which is 15–20% or rounding it up. You can tip Uber drivers through the Uber app, but some New Yorkers prefer tipping the driver directly with cash. 

Tipping Food Delivery Workers in New York City 

Under the new Delivery Law, delivery workers in NYC now make at least $19.56 per hour. This is a considerable increase from the previous $11 an hour. 

That being said, tipping in New York for delivery services is not mandatory, but still recommended. You can round it up to the nearest higher amount, give $5 or tip a percentage of what your delivery is worth. 

Tipping Tour Guides in New York

Tour guides are tipped just like other service workers. If you really enjoyed their services, you should go for a 15–20% tip. Otherwise, you can tip less or not tip at all.

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