The average restaurant tip since the pandemic might shock you
New Jersey restaurants were particularly hard-hit during the pandemic.
When Gov. Murphy ordered them shut except for takeout and delivery, it was a death knell for many. They tried, they struggled, they reinvented themselves bravely, but some didn't come back.
Then there was the July 2020 debacle when Murphy had given them the green light to reopen in time for the Fourth of July holiday so they did what restaurants do.
They spent money on supplies. They spent money on perishable ingredients for their kitchens. Then just 72 hours before the July 2 reopening, the governor pulled the plug and rescinded it, leaving restaurants with a lot of spoiled food and unreimbursed expenses.
In short, it's been a nightmare.
Did one good thing come out of the pandemic for those who work in restaurants? According to an article by Ben Treanor on time2play.com, tipping has gone up. Way up.
First, let's look at take-out.
According to a poll of over 2,000 Americans, before the pandemic struck only 24.2% left a tip for take-out. Now? 53.4%. It went from most don't to most do. And the average tip for being handed your bag at a counter? It's now 13.8%.
Tipping at restaurants
Now that sit-down restaurants are back, what's happened there with tipping servers? About 42.1 % say they are leaving larger tips than before. Pre-pandemic the average tip at a sit-down restaurant was 17.1%. Now?
Are people giving these tips because they want to or because they feel pressured?
Going back to tipping on take-out, you know how those receipts are printed out with tip lines and "suggested" tipping choices? You know how if you're paying online before you head to the restaurant you're often faced with that same "suggested" gratuity these days?
It's had an effect.
About 67.7% of respondents say they feel pressured if the system prompts them to tip; 86.8% report the pressure makes them feel uncomfortable; and 44.8% say they would not tip for picking up their own take/out order if the point of sale system didn't prompt them too.
So are these gratuities or obligations?
Bottom line, though: the price of everything has gone up for everybody. I saw a headline the other day that New Jerseyans should brace for a 25% hike in their utility bills.
So restaurant workers appreciate what you're doing for them. But remember if you often leave 25% thinking that's so much better than their average tip, it’s not anymore. That's barely above average.
Sorry, didn’t mean to pressure you.
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.
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