Do You Tip in New York? Understanding Gratuity Etiquette in the Big Apple

Written by Jim Belt in How Much To Tip

In New York, a bustling metropolis where the service industry thrives, tipping is not just a gesture of appreciation; it's a critical component of the incomes for service professionals. This guide teaches you how and when to tip in NYC.

In New York, tipping is standard practice. For dining in at restaurants, 15-20% of the pre-tax bill is customary. For taxi rides, a tip of around 15% of the fare is typical. It's also common to tip hotel staff, such as housekeeping and bellhops, a few dollars for their service.

Tipping Customs

Tippping is customary


  • Tipping is an integral part of the service industry's income in New York City.
  • Customary tipping rates are expected for services received in restaurants, hotels, and transport.
  • Understanding tipping etiquette ensures a positive interaction with service providers.

Tipping Basics in New York City

In New York City, tipping is a customary practice to show appreciation for the service you've received, especially when you've experienced excellent service from service workers.

Understanding Tipping Culture

In New York City, tipping is not just appreciated; it's expected. Service workers in various industries rely on gratuities to supplement their income. Hospitality, restaurants, and transportation are fields where tipping is the norm. For instance, when dining out, a gratuity indicates your satisfaction with the service.

Determining How Much to Tip

Knowing the right amount to tip can feel tricky, but there are guidelines to help you:

Service Type Suggested Tip
Restaurants 15-20% of the pre-tax bill
Transport Services (Taxi Drivers) 15-20% of the fare
Hotel Bellhops A few dollars per bag
Hotel Housekeeping $2-5 per day
Food Delivery Varies

For services such as food delivery, check how the new NYC delivery law affects tipping. It's essential to consider the quality of service when deciding on the tip amount. If you're ever in doubt, there's no harm in tipping on the more generous side, especially for great service.

Tipping at Restaurants

When you dine out in New York, understanding tipping customs is crucial for showing appreciation to those serving you. Providing a cash tip to servers and bartenders is a key part of the dining experience, affecting their overall income significantly.

Dining Setting Suggested Tip
Sit-down Restaurants (Servers) 15-20% of the pre-tax bill
Bars (Bartenders) $1 to $2 per drink
Buffet and Casual Dining 10-15% of the total bill
Casual Restaurants (Counter Service) Tip jar or round up change

Tipping Servers and Bartenders

In New York City restaurants, it's customary to tip your server between 15% to 20% of the pre-tax bill. For exceptional service, you may decide to tip more than 20%. If you're enjoying drinks at a bar, a $1 to $2 tip per drink is standard. When you're paying with a card, consider tipping in cash as this can often be more beneficial for the server or bartender.

Tipping for Buffet and Casual Dining

Buffet-style and casual dining spots usually require a smaller tip, typically 10% to 15% of your total bill, since you may be serving yourself parts of your meal. Yet, don't forget that staff still provide service and clean up after you, so a cash tip is always appreciated. Even at casual restaurants where you order at the counter, leaving a tip in the tip jar or rounding up your change is a kind gesture that acknowledges the staff's effort.

Tipping for Drinks and Bars

In New York City, understanding tipping customs at bars and nightclubs is essential. The amount you tip can reflect your appreciation of the service.

Venue Suggested Tip
Bars $1-2 per drink or 15-20% of the total bill
Nightclubs 15-20% for bottle service or tab

Tipping Bartenders

When you're at a bar, it’s customary to tip your bartender. A good rule of thumb is to tip $1-2 per drink. If you're starting a tab, a tip of 15-20% of the total bill is expected once you close out. If you've received exceptional service or enjoyed a more complex cocktail, consider tipping on the higher end.

Tipping at Nightclubs

At nightclubs, where the atmosphere is more dynamic and the drinks often have a higher price tag, tipping well can also enrich your experience. For bottle service or when running a tab, 15-20% is standard, similar to bars. Always remember to tip on each transaction unless a service charge is already included in your bill, in which case there’s no need for an additional tip.

Tipping for Accommodation

When staying in New York City, understanding tipping etiquette in hotels is key. From the moment you step through the hotel doors, various staff members play a pivotal role in your experience.

Staff Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Porters/Bellhops $1-2 per bag For handling luggage
Doormen $1-2 For hailing a cab
Hotel Concierges $5-20 Based on the complexity of the task
Housekeeping $2-5 per day Leave with a note for daily service
Room Service 15-20% of the bill If gratuity is not already included

Tipping Hotel Staff

The service you receive from hotel staff, like porters and bellhops, typically warrants a tip for their assistance. A good rule of thumb is to give $1-2 per bag they help you with. For the doormen who hail your cab, a dollar or two is also customary. When it comes to hotel concierges, who handle your special requests, a tip of $5-20 based on the complexity of the task is appreciated. Regular housekeeping should not be overlooked—a daily tip of $2-5, left in the room with a note, is a thoughtful way to show gratitude for their service.

Special Considerations for Room Service

When ordering room service, a gratuity may be automatically included in your bill; if not, a 15-20% tip is standard. Should the hotel maids or housekeeper provide extra services, such as delivering additional amenities, consider an additional tip to reflect your appreciation for their extra effort.

Tipping for Travel and Transport

When navigating New York City, knowing how much to tip those who help you travel can save you from uncertainty and ensure you're expressing gratitude appropriately.

Service Type Suggested Tip Additional Information
Taxi Drivers 15-20% of the fare Tip more for luggage assistance
Rideshare Drivers (Uber/Lyft) 15-20% of the total cost Tip through the app
Valet Parking $2-$5 Upon return of your car
Parking Lot Attendants $1-$2 For parking or additional services
Tour Guides 10-20% of the tour price For a satisfying tour experience
Driver of Tour or Limousine $2-$5 For assistance with bags or city information

Tipping Taxi and Rideshare Drivers

Taxi Drivers: When you take a taxi, a 15-20% tip on the fare is standard. If the driver assists with heavy luggage, consider tipping at the higher end.

Rideshare Drivers (Uber/Lyft): Similar to taxis, 15-20% of your ride's total cost is a good rule of thumb. You can tip directly through the app after your ride.

Tipping for Valet and Parking Services

Valet Parking: A $2-$5 tip is customary when your car is returned to you.

Parking Lot Attendants: If an attendant parks your car or provides extra service, such as washing, a $1-$2 tip is appreciated.

Tipping Tour Guides and Drivers

Tour Guides: If you've enjoyed your tour, a 10-20% tip of the tour price is a nice gesture.

Driver of Tour or Limousine: Aside from your guide, if a separate driver is included in your experience, consider a $2-$5 tip, especially if they assist with bags or provide insightful information about the city.

Additional Tipping Situations

When venturing beyond dining and taxi rides, tipping in New York extends to those who make your daily life more convenient. This includes showing appreciation for exceptional service delivered by your building staff and those who care for what's dear to you, like your children and pets.

Service Provider Suggested Tip Additional Information
Sitters (Babysitters) 10-20% over regular pay For extra duties or long hours
Pet Care (Dog Walkers, Pet Sitters) 15-20% of the service fee For special instructions or extra care
Doorman $25 to $100 Based on interaction and assistance
Concierge $5 to $20 For securing reservations or tickets
Service Workers (Maintenance) $20 to $50+ For year-round service, consider end-of-year tipping

Tipping for Child and Pet Care

Sitters: For babysitters, it's not unusual to offer a tip over the regular pay, especially after handling extra duties or after a particularly long day. A 10-20% tip can be perceived as a generous gesture for their commitment.

Pet Care: Dog walkers and pet sitters appreciate a tip for their faithful companionship to your furry friends. Aim for around 15-20% of the service fee, particularly when they've managed special instructions or extra care.

Tipping Building Staff

Doorman: Your doorman is a friendly face who often goes above and beyond. A tip for their dedicated service might range from $25 to $100, depending on level of interaction and assistance provided.

Concierge: For exceptional service, a concierge who routinely secures hard-to-get reservations or tickets deserves recognition. Depending on the level of difficulty, tipping $5 to $20 can show your gratitude.

Service Workers: Consider holiday tipping for staff like maintenance workers who help keep your living space in top condition. The end-of-year tip can be $20 to $50+, depending on the frequency and quality of their service.

Remember, these amounts are just guidelines. When someone truly enhances your day-to-day experience, adjusting your tip to reflect your appreciation is always a welcome gesture.

Tipping Etiquette FAQs

Navigating tipping practices in New York City can be tricky, especially when determining where your generosity is expected or unnecessary. This section will answer some common questions to help you handle these situations with ease.

When Tipping Isn't Necessary

You might find yourself in situations where tipping isn’t typically required. In New York City, there’s no need to tip for basic information or directions provided by someone on the street. If you are shopping at a retail store or picking up a takeaway order from a restaurant, tipping is also not customary.

Handling Tipping Discrepancies

When faced with a service that falls below your expectations, it’s normal to feel uncertain about tipping. In New York City, if service is unsatisfactory, it's acceptable to leave a smaller tip or no tip at all. Communicate any issues with the service provider respectfully, and if you believe the situation merits it, you can explain the reason for the reduced tip. Carry a mix of cash tips to cover various scenarios.

Published: 26-01-2024

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