Why Do Waiters In America Expect Tips?

Everybody knows that when you enter a restaurant in America where you get good food and good service, you are expected to tip the waiters. Why is that is a good question which will be answered in this article with some additional aspects about the tipping culture that is good to know about?

Waiters do have a lot on their plate from serving the customers to being alert at all times for any circumstances that would require a server. Waiters do earn their tips but let’s dive more into the subject of why do waiters expect tips in the United States?

Waiters expect tips because they get paid only $2.13 an hour instead of the minimum wage that is $7.25 per hour. This makes tips the main income for the waiters, therefore it is mandatory to get tips in order to get by in life. In America, tipping is part of their culture which makes the waiters expecting tips.

Imagine if you were paid far less than the minimum wage. That is really nothing because as a working adult there is no way that you can survive with the $2.13 per hour even if you were to work 24/7. Now, let’s dive more in-depth into the world of tipping, and let’s see what else we can learn!

Why is tipping such a big thing in America

The thing is that the culture of tipping is so big part of the American way of life that on its own it will continue to be in the future and there are debates whether tipping should be optional which it kind of is but you will get served snot muffins or something else if you don’t tip.

Tipping got started when restaurants didn’t have enough money to pay their staff well at one point in history, therefore it was mandatory back then however when the restaurants saw how much money they saved with this technique, it never left and it even became part of the American culture.

The fact that waiters get paid $2.13 makes it a huge deal and they need to get tips so that’s why the vast majority tips accordingly as they should at least to the point when the waiter’s employers raise the pay to decent amounts instead of the $2.13

What should you tip a waiter

Depending on the checks total sum, restaurant type, and quality of the service tip should be between 10% – 30%. However, you should always tip at least 15% if the service was of basic quality. 30% tip is quite unusual and you might never tip that much no matter what the circumstances but some people do if the service is far beyond expectations.

Below you can see a couple of examples what would the total sum of your bill be including the tip!


Do you have to tip waiters in America

Legally, you do not have to leave any tip whatsoever. However, when looked at from all the other viewpoints than legal it isn’t optional and it is quite a taboo to leave a waiter without a tip. In many cases, if you leave without leaving any tip the waiter will chase you down because the question ”why” is so big.

The waiter will want to know whether he or she did something wrong or whether you are a total scumbag which you would be market if you leave absolutely no tip at all. It’s okay to forget, that happens to everybody sometimes!

Is it illegal not to tip in America

Eating in a restaurant without tipping isn’t illegal and you won’t get into any problems legally. However, you will be looked down upon and will probably get served sneezers the next time you dine there so I personally wouldn’t leave the waiters without a tip.

What happens if you don’t tip in the USA

Generally, nothing happens if you don’t tip the waiters in the United States besides the waiters hating you. However, it is socially and morally wrong to leave the servers without tips because they make far below minimum wage and the tips are their far largest income source when on the job.

Should you tip if the service is bad

If your service is really bad and even rude in a restaurant you can leave a small tip so the waiter will know that he or she did a bad job and they should fix it or else it’s their pay. The customer pays tips mainly because of the service and if it is bad, there’s no reason they should get 30% tips.

However, you shouldn’t leave tip below 10% because the waiter might just have a bad day and you can’t know what is going on in their personal lives so bad service isn’t such a big reason that the waiter should get hungry because of it.

Should you tip if gratuity is included

If gratuity is already included in the check, you do not have to more, and neither it is expected from you. However, if you do get exceptional service you totally can tip more if you see it fitting for the situation. If you are uncertain whether the gratuity is included or not you should double-check just in case.

Is it rude to not tip for takeout

This varies on what kind of an order you are placing and whether you know exactly what you want or not. If you are ordering a huge batch of takeout with side orders and some modifications to all of them then it is certainly expected that you tip 15-20% minimum. However, if you call a restaurant and order a pizza that doesn’t need any modifications or anything then most people wouldn’t take it as rudeness if you wouldn’t tip anything.

However, it is a great sign of good manners and that you are a good person to tip even when ordering takeout, therefore It is wise to chip in a 10% tip when ordering a simple takeout because the waiters get paid a little over $2 per hour whether you order takeout or dine inside.

Where is it considered rude to tip

Believe it or not, there are countries that just won’t take tips and if you try to give them to them you are marked as a rude person! Kind of funny when compared to America where it is the exact opposite. Anyways, many Asian countries consider tipping as an insult and I have gathered some countries below so when you are traveling you know to keep your tip change to yourself!

  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • China
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand


Tipping is a sensitive subject in America and you should always leave tip no matter what’s the case without taking some extreme situations in mind. If you receive good service then be sure to tip at least 15% and preferably 20%!

I hope that with the help of this article you are more informed on the tipping culture and know-how to tip yourself in the future because the waiters really need tips and it is their biggest income source.

Omar Abdalla

I’m the owner of JRS. While I love writing about food, I also enjoy peaceful and relaxed cookouts at home.

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