Tipping Etiquette: How Much Should You Tip the Coat Check Person

Written by Jim Belt in Restaurant

Navigating the etiquette of tipping can often feel like a complex puzzle, especially when it involves specialized services like coat check. This guide covers how much to tip coat check staff. It explains proper gratuity etiquette for this service.

When using a coat check service, it is customary to tip $1 to $2 per item checked. This amount can be adjusted based on the level of service or the prestige of the venue.

Tipping Customs

Tippping is customary $ 2 $ 1 - $ 2


  • A standard tip for coat check is typically $2 for a single coat.
  • Consider increasing the tip for multiple items or excellent service.
  • Your gratuity reflects appreciation for the service provided by the coat check staff.

Understanding Tipping Etiquette

General Tipping Guidelines

For coat check services, it's typical to offer a tip as a gesture of gratitude for the person handling your belongings. While not mandatory, it signals recognition of their service. The amount can vary, but a common practice is $1 to $3 per item, dependent on factors like the level of service and the type of establishment. Offering a tip as you retrieve your coat is the norm, and it's preferable to do this in cash. Remember, if the service was particularly exceptional, you may feel inclined to give a bit more as a testament to the quality of care received.

Cultural Differences in Tipping

Tipping can be a complex topic, as cultural differences in tipping exist across the globe. In some cultures, tipping at restaurants and for services like coat check is expected and considered part of the service worker's pay. In other parts of the world, tipping may be unnecessary or even viewed negatively, as service charges are included in the bill or the culture does not traditionally support tipping. It's vital to be aware of these cultural nuances, especially when traveling, to ensure that your tipping habits are in line with local expectations and customs.

How Much to Tip at Various Services

Knowing the appropriate tipping amounts across different services ensures you show your appreciation properly. Let’s break it down by service type.

Restaurants and Bars

When dining out or enjoying drinks, it’s customary to tip your servers and bartenders between 15% and 20% of your total bill for satisfactory to excellent service. If you’ve received outstanding attention, feel free to tip above the standard range.

Hotel Services

At hotels, tipping is a way to thank the staff for ensuring a pleasant stay. For housekeeping, consider leaving $1 to $5 per night. For help with your bags, $1 to $3 per bag is typical for bellhops or hotel porters. Encountered great service from the hotel concierge? A tip of $5 to $20 is appropriate, depending on the complexity of your request.

Personal Services

Personal service providers such as hairdressers and tattoo artists generally expect a tip around 20%. A massage therapist also falls within this range. Remember that these individuals offer a personalized service, and tipping reflects your satisfaction with their work.

Travel and Transportation

In the realm of travel, valet services usually warrant a $2 to $5 tip upon car return. If you’re taking a taxi or ride-share, tipping 10% to 15% of the fare is standard. For airport or hotel shuttle drivers, a good rule of thumb is $1 to $2 per person.

Payment Methods and Tipping

When you check your coat at an event or establishment, you have different payment methods at your disposal to tip the attendant. These methods range from traditional cash to digital platforms. Choosing the right method to tip can impact both the convenience for you and the recipient.

Cash Versus Credit Card Tips

Cash is often preferred for tipping at coat checks because it's direct and immediate. If you're using cash, aim to have small bills handy to avoid requiring change. In contrast, tipping with a credit card may be possible if the establishment's system allows adding a tip when you pay for services, but it's less common at standalone coat check services.

Digital Tipping Options

With the rise of cashless transactions, digital tipping through platforms like Venmo has become a practical option in some venues. If the coat check attendant has a QR code or a Venmo username displayed, you can send the tip directly to their account. Always ensure the amount you send aligns with tipping norms for their service.

Handling Tip at Checkout

If you find yourself at a coat check without cash, you can ask if they accept tips on a credit card at checkout. However, if no such option exists, locate an ATM nearby before checking in your coat. It's courteous to ensure that you have the means to provide a tip for the attendant's service.

When you're faced with a coat check where the usual tipping customs don't apply, knowing how to navigate the situation is key. Here's how to handle tipping when you encounter no-tip policies, takeout or delivery, and special occasions.

No-Tipping Establishments

Some places have a no-tipping policy. If you're at an establishment that clearly states no tips are necessary, respect their policy. Service is included, and there's no need to offer a tip. However, if you feel the service went above and beyond, you can consider a small, discreet amount or another form of gratitude, such as a positive review or compliment to management.

Tipping on Takeout and Delivery

Even though you might not be dining in, those who handle your coat in takeout or delivery situations provide a helpful service. For takeout, a tip isn't standard but always appreciated. For delivery services, especially in inclement weather or holidays, a customary tip ranges from 10% to 20%, reflecting the extra effort.

Tipping During Holidays and Events

During the holidays or special events, consider tipping a bit more than usual. Those working coat checks at parties or events during these times often go the extra mile. An appropriate tip could be 15% to 20% of the usual coat check fee or sometimes a fixed amount such as $2 to $5, depending on the event's formality.

Exploring Alternative Tipping Models

In the realm of coat check tipping, you may encounter several unique approaches aimed at showing gratitude for the service. Let's unpack these to enhance your understanding.

Service Charge Inclusive Pricing

When you utilize a coat check service at certain establishments, they might implement a service charge inclusive pricing model. This essentially means that the cost of gratuity for the service provider is already calculated into the overall price you pay. This method can be a relief, as it removes the need to figure out the appropriate tip amount and ensures the service-industry workers receive a fair share for their work.

Tipping Inclusion in Bills

Some venues may include a tipping inclusion in your bill. This is similar to service charge inclusive pricing but is often a line item on your bill rather than an embedded cost. With this model, you'll see a specific charge—typically a percentage of the service cost—designated for the coat check service. This adds convenience since you won't have to decide on the spot how much to give.

Voluntary Tipping Approaches

Finally, there are voluntary tipping approaches, which are more traditional and rely on your discretion. You decide how much to tip based on the level of service the coat check attendant provides. This can foster a more personal sense of gratitude and acknowledgment for good service, aligning with a no-tipping policy that ultimately leaves the decision to tip entirely up to you.

When you hand off your coat at a fancy event or restaurant, you might wonder what amount shows your appreciation without breaking the bank. Let's explore how people feel and act when it comes to tipping at coat checks.

Consumer Attitudes Towards Tipping

You're not alone if you've ever stood at a coat check, wallet in hand, unsure of what's appropriate. Many U.S. adults view tipping as a way to express gratitude for good service provided. However, opinions diverge on how much to tip, typically depending on personal values and past experiences with service workers. For instance, some may feel annoyed at the obligation, while others see tipping as a regular gesture of kindness. Bloomberg suggests that a typical tip for a coat check service could be around $2, indicating a set standard often followed by patrons.

Evolving Tipping Behaviors

Tipping behaviors have evolved with changing societal norms and the increasing convenience of electronic payments. The norm may shift, but the expectation for tipping as recognition for service remains. It's becoming more common for coat check services to feature signage suggesting amounts, or even include the tip as part of a service fee to alleviate the guesswork for you. Remember, your tip is more than just money; it's a signal of appreciation for someone taking care of your personal belongings.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tipping

When visiting a restaurant with a coat check service, you might have some questions about the proper etiquette for tipping. This can especially be true during outings with groups or parties, when service may vary, or in the unfortunate event of poor service.

Tipping on Groups and Parties

Organizing a large group or attending a party can mean more coats to check, and thus raises the question: how much should you tip? A typical gratuity at a coat check is around $1 to $2 per coat. If you're hosting a large party, consider tipping a lump sum that reflects the number of items checked.

Should You Always Tip?

Even if a coat check service is complimentary, it's customary to offer a gratuity for the convenience and care of your belongings. Remember that the attendant is providing a service and your tip is a way to say thank you for looking after your coats and accessories.

Handling Poor Service

If you encounter poor service at a coat check, you might be unsure if tipping is still necessary. While you're not obliged to reward subpar service, consider if the issue was within the attendant's control. A small tip can still be a courteous gesture even when the service wasn't up to par, unless the service was egregiously bad.


When visiting venues with a coat check service, remember that tipping is a gesture of appreciation. Aim to give about $1 to $2 per item, but upscale venues might warrant a $2 to $5 tip. If the service was exceptional, consider tipping more.

Handling multiple items? A good guideline is $2 for checking two items and $5 for three. Have no cash? It's courteous to still use the coat check to keep the area clear for others and servers. Next time you could mention your appreciation verbally and tip when possible.

Your tip reflects your recognition of the attendant's care for your belongings. It's not just about the money; it's showing respect for their service. Keep these simple guidelines in mind to ensure you're expressing your thanks appropriately.

Published: 23-01-2024

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