©JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

The no-tipping argument may be facing a... tipping point it can’t ignore.

Mike Pomranz
June 18, 2018

Love it or hate it, tipping is an integral part of the sit-down restaurant experience in America. Though tipping lives under the guise of showing appreciation for service, in states that allow businesses to pay a lower minimum wage to tipped employees, not tipping is somewhat akin to not paying a server their salary. Plenty of notable restauranteurs (and even some chains) have tried to push the idea of eliminating tips in lieu of living wages and higher prices, but this model hasn’t taken the industry by storm. However, the no-tipping argument may be facing a tipping point it can’t ignore: According to a new survey, younger people are not only the worst tippers, they’re also the age group most in favor of axing tips for higher meal costs.

The website CreditCards.com recently interviewed 1,000 people across all age groups about their tipping habits. Millennials – an increasingly ambiguous group that this survey classified as ages 18 to 37 – were the age group most in favor of including the service charge in the price of food, with 27 percent of millennials saying they were into this option. Comparatively, only 21 percent of respondents as a whole would like to see eateries go the no-tipping route.

Part of millennials interest in doing away with tipping might have to do with the fact that, according to the survey, they aren’t good tippers to begin with. Of respondents 30 years old and younger, a massive 65 percent said they tend tip below 20 percent at restaurants, significantly higher than older respondents, about half of whom said they tip under 20 percent. Meanwhile, about a third of millennials said they regularly tip less than 15 percent. And surprisingly, 10 percent said they routinely don’t tip at all.

CreditCards.com’s senior industry analyst Matt Schulz pointed out that younger people’s lack of tipping is likely about more than being philosophically against gratuity. “When you don’t make a lot of money your financial margin of error is very small, so even if you wanted to, you may not be able to financially,” he told USA Today. However, he also believes a fundamental shift may be underway. “We’re seeing younger adults tipping less, and even showing a greater preference toward eliminating tipping altogether, even if it means paying more on the bill.”