How to Tip in Different Scenarios: Updated for 2021

A few years ago, we published a blog post about tipping in various situations. Since it’s been a little bit, and the world has changed a lot over the past 18 months – here is an update on how and what is considered an ideal tip for service in 2021.

Tipping does not only let you show your appreciation to a delivery person or server’s hard work – you’re likely also helping them pay their monthly bills or pay for tuition. Keep scrolling!

Server at a Restaurant

Many servers earn only about $2 per hour. Tipping them 20% makes a huge difference. Did their service exceed your expectations? Tip them 25%! The restaurant industry has particularly suffered a great deal over the past year and a half. Many servers were either out of work as restaurants were closed, or once they reopened – many had trouble and are still having trouble finding enough employees. Your server may be doing double or triple the amount of work than in normal times lately, so if they went above and beyond – it makes a difference to show your gratitude for excellent service.

Buffet Restaurant

At buffet restaurants, you choose and get your own food. However, remember that servers still refill your drinks. They also prepare new clean plates, silverware, and cups for you. Consider tipping them at least 10%. If they showed superb service, don’t hesitate to be a little bit more generous with your tip!


The fact that your food was prepared for you, and you now don’t have to worry about what to cook for dinner tonight is something to be grateful for. Tip at least 10% and make the server or cashier’s day a little brighter.


Thanks to hardworking delivery drivers, your cravings for some fresh, hot pizza have been satisfied! Tip them at least $2 to $4. If they deliver your food in bad weather or are driving a further distance to get to you, try tipping them some more.

Coffee Barista

While you’re not required to tip coffee baristas, a small act of kindness can go a long way. Place a dollar in that tip jar, enjoy your coffee, and make your favorite barista feel appreciated for their hard work. After all, that first cup of morning coffee is definitely something to get your day started off on the right foot!


Wondering if you still need to tip a bartender? Of course you do! Preparing your favorite drinks requires art, expertise, and speed – so honor their craft by giving at least $1 or $2 per drink order.

Hairstylist or Barber

Getting a new haircut , color, or hairstyle is one of the best ways to pamper yourself. Give your favorite hairstylist or barber a 20% to 25% tip. After all, they help you look your best!

Tattoo Artist

Not everyone can draw a permanent, beautiful, and unique piece of art on your body. Given this, tattoo artists should receive at least a 20% tip. If you love how your tattoo turned out, why not tip more?


Apart from getting a new haircut, getting a manicure or pedicure may be another one of your favorite forms of self-care. Tip like you would to a hairstylist. Manicurists also typically deserve a larger tip for keeping your nails clean and colorful – especially if you visit the same one every two to three weeks.

Uber/Lyft/Taxi Driver

Not sure how much to tip an Uber, Lyft, or taxi driver? Around 15% to 20% will do. If you had a great ride and your destination’s a bit far, feel free to raise your tip.


While tipping allows you to applaud good service, it can also mean so much to servers, baristas, delivery drivers, hairstylists, and other passionate workers. Therefore, a general rule of thumb is to tip from 10% to 25% depending upon the situation. When in doubt, always try to be more generous if you can!

How Much Should You Tip?

Tipping. Conversation about the topic can spark lengthy debates with opinions ranging from staunch support to extreme opposition. Some consumers appreciate the opportunity to reward the service industry for a job well done. Others feel the practice places an unfair expectation on the patron, inflates the overall cost of goods or services, and leads to increased employee turnover.

Historically, the American tipping model allows wait staff at upscale restaurants to earn a comfortable living, but those working at smaller establishments often struggle to make a livable wage. The wide disparity in earning potential stems from a 1966 law that established a federal minimum wage for tipped employees. The current minimum wage for tipped employees? $2.13 an hour. If that figure sounds shocking, consider the fact that it hasn’t changed since 1991.

Should the federal minimum wage for tipped employees be raised? Perhaps. There are advocates on both sides of the issue. Are there alternate ways to create a more equitable earning system? Absolutely. Tipping is standard practice in restaurants across the country, but the service industry extends beyond the dining room walls. And while 15-20% seems to be the going rate for a restaurant tip, you may be wondering how much to tip in other areas.

Here are a few general rules, courtesy of DealNews, to help you tip with confidence:

Waiter/Waitress: 15-20% minimum
Tipping Tip: We’ve already covered this one, but here’s an additional reminder – if you use a coupon or discount promotion, be sure to tip on the original price, not the discounted total.

Food Delivery Driver: 10% (or $2 minimum)

Tipping Tip: If you live far away from the restaurant (20-30 minutes), consider adding a few dollars extra to help the driver cover the additional gas expense.

Hairstylist/Barber: 10-15% for standard service, 15-20% for exceptional service

Tipping Tip: It’s hard enough to find a hairstylist you like. When you finally do, tipping them well can not only show your appreciation –  but help establish a great relationship going forward.

Tattoo Artist: 10-20%

Tipping Tip: Like most purchases, this one can vary based on the size and detail of the tattoo you choose. As for the exact amount, if you’re pleased with the artist’s work and you have any thoughts of becoming a return customer, the goodwill you build with a solid tip is well worth it.

Bartender: $1 per drink or 15% of the bill

Tipping Tip: You can take a wait-and-see approach by tipping when you close out your tab, or you can increase your odds of getting good service by tipping ahead of time.

Car Wash Attendant: $2-3 for a basic wipe down, $5-10 for more extensive washes

Tipping Tip: If you’re going to spend money on a quality car wash, investing a few extra dollars in a tip will help you ensure your attendant pays attention to the little details that make your car shine like it should.

Uber/Lyft Driver: $2-3 for a standard trip, $5-6 for extended trips

Tipping Tip: Along with lowering their fares, most ridesharing apps have added a tip option. This should save you from navigating from the whole “So sorry…I don’t have any cash on me” conversation.

If you find yourself in a situation other than those listed above, and you’re unsure about the standard tipping rate, it’s usually safe to assume that 18% of your total bill is a quality tip. It may not qualify you as a high roller, but you certainly won’t have to deal with dirty looks on your way out either.