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Marketplace

Servers, steer clear of that table! Millennials are the worst tippers, report says

Renata Sago Jun 18, 2018
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A report out today from CreditCards.com finds that millennials are the worst tippers across all age groups, and that’s costing low-wage service workers a vital part of their income.

Take Jose Mendoza, whose wage is $5 an hour as a server at Pio Pio Latin Cuisine in Orlando. He said he makes about $20 an hour, though, on a good day, because of tips. 

But, he explains, “the younger people, they don’t tip so good.”

In fact, according to the report, one in 10 people ages 18 to 37  say they leave no tip when dining out. (That’s the range CreditCards.com is including in its “millennial” label.) 

And nearly one in three millennials say they leave less than a 15 percent tip at restaurants. 

Senior industry analyst Matt Schulz said it’s because some people can’t afford the gratuity. And some who can, choose not to.

“They bear scars from coming up in the middle of the Great Recession,” he said. 

Older adults, on the other hand, tip more. Nearly 55 percent of seniors age 65 and up said they tip 20 percent or more at restaurants (the highest out of the age groups surveyed). 

While the data might make it seem as if millennials — as a cohort — are cheap, one explanation might be that people with more money tend to tip more, and young adults as a whole have lower incomes than people who are further along in their careers, according to CreditCards.com

Restaurants have changed, too. Lots of quasi-restaurants: coffee shops, poke bars, places that leave out a tip jar create an atmosphere that implies tipping is optional. 

Kevin Murphy, who teaches hospitality at the University of Central Florida, said “there’s really little customer service.” 

So when younger diners do get to a real restaurant with service, they’ll often leave a smaller tip, or sometimes nothing at all — and that takes a bite out of servers’ income, like it has in Jose Mendoza’s case.

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