Restaurant patrons don’t skimp on tips

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The cost of restaurant meals rose nearly 8% in July from a year earlier, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But even though menu prices keep climbing, Americans aren’t cutting back on tipping waiters.

Toast, a digital platform for the restaurant industry, says in a new report that diners tipped an average of 19.6% at full-service restaurants and 16.9% at fast-food outlets across the country. course of the last trimester.

The average tip is 10% higher than a year earlier, when restaurant sales were still heavily impacted by the pandemic.

“Rising food prices, inflation and labor constraints are some of the challenges restaurants faced in the second quarter of 2022,” the report said.

“Despite these challenges, restaurants are seeing strong consumer demand and generosity with consistent tipping and increased growth.”

Take-out orders are another matter, Toast found.

The report states that “dinners are less likely to tip as much when not eating inside an establishment.”

Tipping has fluctuated since the early days of the coronavirus. As I reported in May, “tipping rose in the early days of the pandemic as consumers sought to reward the hard work — and risk — of restaurant servers and other service providers.”

Tipping fell a bit earlier this year as inflation made itself felt on restaurant menus. You can see my two-part report here and here.

Interestingly, Toast found that California diners were the most stingy tipsters in the second quarter. The average tip in the Golden State was 17.5%.

The highest tips, according to the report, are in Indiana (21%), West Virginia (20.8%) and Ohio (20.7%).

Economists say that because most restaurant patrons will tip 15-20% regardless of the quality of service, custom is largely ineffective as an economic tool.

Nevertheless, most Americans love the practice. So don’t expect all-inclusive menu prices — a staple of most other countries — to arrive anytime soon.

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