Millions of hospitality industry workers – including most servers and bartenders – rely on tips for a majority of their income. In over a dozen states, tipped bar and restaurant workers earn a minimum wage of just $2.13 an hour. That comes to just over $17 for an eight-hour shift, with the rest of their earnings dictated by the whims of their customers. While the average customer tips between 15% and 20%, some leave much more or less. (Tips can run to the hundreds of dollars at the most expensive restaurants in America.)
To compile a list of the states with the most generous tippers, 24/7 Tempo reviewed The Restaurant Trends Report, powered by Toast, a restaurant point of sale and management system. Data came from restaurants on the Toast platform – about 79,000 locations as of Dec. 21, 2022 – where a tip was added to the order via a card or digital payment. Cash tips are not included in analysis.
Although tipping is not mandatory at most restaurants, the majority of customers do leave a gratuity. According to the report by Toast, tips at full service restaurants during Q4 2022 averaged 19.6%, while those at quick-service (i.e., fast-food) places averaged 15.9%. (Take a look at the states with the most and fewest fast food restaurants per capita.)
California was the least generous state overall, with a tip average of 17.5%. California, however, is one of few states where employers are required to pay tipped workers full state minimum wage – which in California is $15.50 – before tips. Nevada and Washington also ranked low for tipping but have laws guaranteeing servers higher state minimum wages.
Over 30 states had full service tip averages of 20% or above, with Delaware leading at a 22.5% average. The First State also boasted the highest overall tip average, knocking Indiana from the top spot for the first time since Toast began tracking tips. Other states with the most generous tippers include New Hampshire, Maine, Wyoming, and Ohio.
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