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Guilt Tips: Are we being pressured to tip more?

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7min read
Guilt Tips

Is it really necessary to tip when picking up takeout food or even a latte on the go? Tipping your waiter or bartender is an oft-debated practice that’s synonymous with dining out. Before everyone carried a smartphone, many thrifty diners would even carry around a tip calculator to make sure they were gracing their server with just the right amount of gratuity. Today, tips are commonly pre-calculated for us via a point-of-sale system, which makes leaving the right tip more convenient. But with this convenience comes pressure.

When global events turned the hospitality industry on its head in 2020, restaurants had to find new ways to keep their doors open. At the same time, customers became more generous with tips to help workers and businesses survive. But now that restaurants are back in full swing for dine-in and takeout orders, are consumers being pressured to maintain tipping standards established during the economic downturn?

Guilt Tips We Are Being Pressured To Tip More

The pandemic brought enduring changes to the restaurant industry nationwide. With sit-down dining forbidden in most locations, restaurants had to improvise and adapt to a takeout model. But when sit-down diners disappeared, so did their tips. When restaurants opened back up and dining-in returned, 42.1% of consumers said they began leaving bigger tips as a way of supplementing difficult times. The average pre-pandemic tip of 17.1% grew to a healthy 22.8% today. Those who didn’t increase their usual tip reported leaving servers a consistent 15.6% on average.

Many of us question the need to tip when picking up takeout food or coffee. That is, grabbing your bag or cup to-go, without actually receiving table service in a restaurant or cafe. When we asked our pool of 2,030 diners, each of whom picks up takeout at least twice per month, 24.2% of them told us they were tipping for takeout even before the pandemic. Today, that number has ballooned to 53.4%. The average tip reported for takeout was 13.8%, a number that’s approaching the longtime standard tip of 15% at a sit-down restaurant.

Once a rarity, but now something of a norm, restaurant payment systems are commonly prompting customers to tip when picking up their takeout orders, which can lead to awkward social pressure. When polled, 67.7% of our respondents said they feel pressured to tip if the point-of-sale system prompts them to. Of those who feel pressured, a whopping 86.8% claim the pressure makes them feel uncomfortable. But the prompts seem to be working as intended: 44.8% of those who do tip for takeout say they only do so because they’re prompted to. 

Mobile Wallets Most Popular Paypal

Paying for your takeout orders has never been more convenient thanks to the exploding popularity of mobile wallets like Apple Pay or PayPal. Nearly half, 47.7% of our respondents say a mobile wallet is their preferred payment method when picking up their takeout. With a stranglehold on the competition, Apple Pay was the most popular mobile payment method among those surveyed. Rounding out the podium in distant second and third places are Android Pay and PayPal. 

Speaking of Paypal, did you know this payment method has many perks – especially in the online casino industry? Check out our list of the best Paypal online casinos for safe and fast deposit and withdrawal times. 


In September 2022, we surveyed 2,030 US residents who pick up takeout food at least twice per month. The average age of respondents was 38.2 years and the average household income was $59,763

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