English Lessons Houston
Call Us: 713-828-7678
Mail Us: julie@englishlessons-houston.com
Jun 11 2017

Tipping in the USA

Here is a lesson on tipping in the USA from Worldwide English, a company that offers English lessons in the Houston area.


If you are living in the USA, you will need to understand the practice of tipping.  Sometimes it can be confusing.  Tipping in the USA is voluntary; that is, you do not have to leave a tip if you don’t want to.  Leaving a tip is a way of saying “thank you”.  The word tip is both a noun and a verb.

Here are examples of how to use the word “tip”.

As a noun:  It’s a good idea to give your waiter a tip.

I left a big tip for my waiter because he did a very good job.

As a verb:  In a restaurant, Americans usually leave a tip for the waiter.

At Starbucks, I sometimes leave a tip in the glass jar.

There is another meaning for the word tip.  Tip can also mean “extra information” or “advice” that is helpful.  But in this lesson, the word tip is a small amount of money that you leave as a “thank you” for service.

How much should you tip?

In a restaurant where you receive full service:

In most areas of the USA, 20% is considered acceptable for good service.  If you feel that you did not receive good service, for example, if your waiter was slow or rude, you can choose to leave less.

Here’s a tip on tipping in a restaurant:  Be careful not to tip on the “total”.  Look at the “subtotal”, which is the total before the tax is added.  That is the total that you should figure the tip on.

For example, If your total bill is $20.00, look at the total before the tax is added.  The actual amount of your food and drink might actually be $18.50, so you would pay 20% of 18.50, not 20% of $20.00.

Also, if the number of people in your party is more than five or six, the tip might already be added to your bill, so be sure to check and if so, you do not need to leave more.

At a restaurant where there is a buffet:

A restaurant that has a buffet, does not offer full service.  But the waiter will usually bring you a drink and remove your dishes when you are finished.  So the typical tip for service at a restaurant with a buffet would be about 10 %.

At a bar:

When you are service by a bartender or waiter, the usual tip is $1.00 for each drink that you order.



For a taxi driver:

The usual tip for a taxi driver is 15-20%.    





For a hotel (for the person that cleans your room):

The usual tip is $3.00 per person per night.  On the day you leave the hotel, you can leave the tip in your room and the maid will pick it up when he or she comes to clean the room.

For a valet that parks your car:

Most valet service is free, but the tip is usually $3.00-$5.00.

At the airport, for someone who helps you with your bags:

The usual tip is $1.00 for each bag.

For places that have a tip jar:

Many places, like Starbucks or small sandwich shops, have a tip jar near the cash register.  In this case, you are free to leave any amount, but most people leave $1.00 or less.

Other places that you can tip:

Your barber or hairdresser, restaurant delivery, tour guides.  A good rule for tipping is 10-15% of your bill.

There are several “tip calculator” apps that you can download to your mobile phone. This will make it easy for you to figure the amount you should tip.




If you’re interested in SKYPE or private classes, give us a call at Worldwide English (713) 953-6511 or visit us online at http://www.englishlessons-houston.com.    We are based in Houston, Texas teaching English worldwide.





English Lessons Houston