Are you a Republican man from Connecticut paying for your meal with a credit card? You’re probably a great tipper, according to a new report from CreditCards.com.
The credit card information website teamed up with researchers from Princeton and surveyed hundreds of adults across the U.S. Their study indicates that the best tippers are men, Republicans, from the Northeast, and customers paying with a credit or debit card. These groups generally tip a median of 20% when dining at a restaurant.
The study indicated that women, Democrats, Southerners, and those paying in cash leave a 15-16% tip, on average.
Why are some groups better tippers than others?
"Generally it all comes down to income," said Matt Schulz, senior analyst at CreditCards.com. "The more money you have the more likely you are to leave a little extra tip on the table."
Tipping etiquette can spark hot debate. The etiquette experts at the Emily Post Institute recommends diners tip at least 15-20% pre-tax at a sit-down restaurant.
About half of tippers in the survey fell into that sweet spot, tipping between 16-20%. On the low end, one-in-five customers at dine-in restaurants don’t leave any gratuity at all.
“I was definitely surprised by how many people tip over 15%,but I was also surprised by how many people never tip at all at a restaurant,” said Schulz.
“How is that even possible? I’m guessing they don't get very good service on their next visit,” he said.
Tipping: There's no guarantee
Tipping is a cultural norm in America. Tipped workers generally make about $2.13 per hour as base pay and the rest of their salary comes in the form of tips, with many having to split tips with other restaurant staff.
Waitstaff are dependent on the goodwill of their customers for their salary, according to Teofilo Rayes, of Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROCU).
“Tips can vary pretty dramatically, so there’s no stability in wages from tipping.” said Rayes. “There’s no guarantee that someone’s going to tip you.”
Rayes said tipping is really dependent on the personality of the customer and can be based on a lot more factors than just service, like race.
Although employers are required to pay tipped workers minimum wage after tips, in 2016 the food service industry had the highest number of federal wage violations and owed employees almost $40 million in back pay.
These violations disproportionately impact women and people of color in the service industry. Seventy percent of servers are women, and a ROCU study found that 90% of women who rely on tips have experienced sexual harassment at work, both from managers and customers.
“The idea that 'the customer’s always right' becomes much more salient. You can’t stand up for yourself unless you’re willing to lose your wages,” said Rayes.
Rayes explained that white men are more likely to be hired to work the front of the house or the bar, where tips are generally higher. ROCU launched the One Fair Wage campaign, to establish an equal minimum wage for tipped workers and address the issues with the tipping system.