The tipping culture in U.S

Let me talk a bit about the tipping culture which I’m really not used to it because tipping is really not something we do in Malaysia.


I do know when we travel usually we tipped the tour guide or driver but it seems like it’s a bit different in the U.S, so what you should know before visiting U.S is that, tipping is kinda ‘compulsory’ for everything, yes, literally everything, well I guess except grocery?

From having a meal, or buying a drink or taking a cab, every service that you received, you’re expected to tip.

While tipping is not mandatory in most of the United States, it is customary in many circumstances for service, especially at almost all sit-down restaurants which offer table service and many food servers depend on tips as an essential part of their wage (they make roughly $2.00 per hour as opposed to the Federal Minimum Wage of $7.25/hour).

Generally, the average tip is 15% to 20% of the total meal cost.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t tip for the services we received, yes, sometimes we do tip in Malaysia as well,

but no one understand the pain of the depreciation of Ringgit.

So says a meal I had in the state is about $10, so I’ll be expected to pay a total of $12. Let me do a bit of a calculation here:

$10 = RM 40       $12 = RM48

That’s a whopping of RM8 after conversion.

So, do you see my pain?

After all, RM8 is almost good enough for me to have 3 meals a day in Mamak.

For having a meal like this at The Cheese Factory, we paid about $100++ and tipping of 10% which is about $10 = RM42.

Suggested tips (Tripadvisor):

  • $1-2/bag for skycaps, bellhops, doormen, and parking valets if they handle bags
  • $1 per coat for coatroom attendants
  • $1 per diner to 10 percent of the pre-tax bill at buffets
  • $2-5 per night for housekeeper
  • $5-10 for concierge (only if they arranged tickets or reservations)
  • $1-3 per bag for grocery loaders (not in all areas of the US).  Doormen who merely open doors are not tipped, unless they call a cab or provide another service.  Parking valets are paid upon pick-up $3-5, depending upon much effort is required to retrieve a vehicle.
  • For waiters at sit-down restaurants, bartenders, barbers/hairdressers/attendants at beauty salons, taxi drivers, tour guides, and food delivery folks, the tip should be calculated as a percentage of your total bill as follows: 10% usually means you aren’t totally happy, 15% usually means all was acceptable, 20% for excellent, over 20% for outstanding.  15-20 percent is considered standard in most communities.


Fast food restaurants DO NOT have tipping as there is no ‘table service’ (when a server brings your food to your table). So clapsss, here’s how you can save some dollars while planning your trip to the state!! To be honest, I don’t mind having IN & OUT Burgers or SHAKESHACK all day! 😛

My suggestion before planning a trip to U.S, please do consider tipping as part of your expenses and read through the tipping guide on Tripadvisor – United States: Tipping & Etiquette.


18 Comments Add yours

  1. sinyees says:

    Thanks for sharing. It seems to be must give a tip huh…. But I think this is very personal. If I think it worth, I am willing to give.

  2. Its the culture in US if we dine in restaurant. If we go self-service eatery or fast food chain then it not compulsory to tip.

  3. Ivy Kam says:

    It is a bit painful to the wallet if convert to Ringgit Malaysia >.<

  4. Rane Chin says:

    Thanks for the info. it is useful for my next trip to US hehe

  5. Lee Sharon says:

    Thanks for the sharing! I don’t really like to give tips but since its their culture so we have no choice, luckily there are still fast food which are not required tipping XD

  6. Betty Liew says:

    Have to prepare extra money for tipping. I really don’t like tipping . Is not we not afford to pay but is already add up in services.

  7. Carol Lam says:

    yeah tipping is the custom there and lucky you share this info. Will keep it in mind

  8. Cheryn Tan says:

    I really don’t like the tipping culture, cos we already paid for the services, isn’t it the job of the employer to pay the employees properly? we have to pay for food and your staff as well.. Never understood that..

  9. thats just how they get paid.Well not all of them but the majority is. I remember ones I’ve work part time as a waitress while still schooling and that is just how i earn money. But 2 months later i quit because my parents find out 😀

  10. Shini Lola says:

    Thanks for sharing the great tips here! Good to know before I pay a visit.

  11. Lily says:

    owh yes.. some great tips there… a lot of places like Thailand/ phillipines also expect people to tip for every single thing.. huhu

  12. Wow yes, this is something new for me. thanks for letting know in this great post. 🙂

  13. Shin May says:

    wow~ Luckily I went to Europe time, most of the places doesn’t need to give tip ~Next time I went US , I need to be alert of this ~

  14. Puisan says:

    We need to get used to it when go travel somewhere which we are expect to ‘tip’! haha even thailand we are expect to tip><

  15. Jane says:

    Thanks for the infor. Now I know the rate for tipping while travelling overseas coz’ at Malaysia, we not use to it.

  16. Oh gosh.. glad when I was in USA I did not actually eat out that much and when I did someone else was footing the bill… huhuhu!!!!

    1. So niiiceee lah! My wallet crying everytime when I saw the bill! Tipping $5 is like killing my wallet already!

  17. Rawlins Glam says:

    This is a good info for those travelling in a very near future.

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