Because I know each and every one of you is confused about what exactly constitutes an “appropriate” tip under various circumstances.  

Don’t worry. So am I.


Wait staff: 15%-20% of the total bill (For exceptional service or an especially personable server, tip a dollar or two more. Go ahead. It doesn’t hurt. And it’ll make your server’s day to know s/he made a good impression)

Wine served with dinner: The safe recommendation is 15%-20% of the total bill, including alcohol (Some restaurants give the OK for a 10% tip on expensive wines)

Bartenders: 15%-20% of the tab OR $1 per drink for beer or wine OR $2 per drink for mixed drinks (As a former bartender, I also throw a dollar on the bar when I ask for water since the bartender had to take time out of his or her busy night to accommodate my sobriety; Also, make sure to settle your tab before heading to your table if you were grabbing a drink while waiting)


Tip jar: Optional. 5%-10% for good service and/or complicated orders


“Fast food” buffets: No tipping necessary

“Casino-style” buffets: If you have a server taking care of you, $1-$2 is appreciated

Hotel buffets: For business breakfasts, a $1-$2 tip is appropriate. At high-end hotel brunch buffets, a 15%-20% tip is the norm


Parking attendant: $1-$3

Coatroom attendant: $1 per coat

Wait staff: 15%-20% of the total bill

Wine steward or Sommelier: 10% of the wine bill, if you received personal service from the steward

Restroom attendant: 50 cents-$1


Pizza delivery: At least $1 (15% for normal service; tip more generously during rain, snow, or other inclement weather)

Take-out orders: $2-$3 (Even though you may not have received typical “service”, the bartender takes take-out orders at many restaurants, meaning that s/he had to take time out of his routine to take and place your order– Show respect for that time by tipping when you pay)

Taxi driver: 15%-20% of the total fare (More if the driver was particularly accommodating; e.g. carried your bags, etc.)


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