Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

How to Leave a Tip in an American Restaurant

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Aug 21, 2013 @ 10:21 AM

when to leave a tip in a restaurantDid you know that most servers in the United States make less than $10 per hour?

Some of them even make around $5 per hour.

Isn't that crazy?

Unlike many other countries in the world, servers make most of their money through customer tips.

Do you ever get confused about how to decide how much tip to leave?

Today's article will clear up your confusion.

Practice your listening and get practical tips for your life in the US!








3 things to consider when you leave a tip:


You should tip between 15% and 20% of the total bill. You can decide how much to tip based on these factors:


  • Friendliness of the server: Did they answer all of your questions about the menu? Did they have a nice demeanor and make you feel welcome?
  • Speed of the service: Were they attentive? Did they bring your food as quickly as possible? Did they remember everything that you asked for?



New vocabulary


  • Minimum wage: The lowest amount that a worker can earn per hour according to US law
  • Attentive (Adjective): Someone who pays attention or is aware of what's going on
  • Clean- cut (adjective): Someone whose appearance is neat and trim
  • Tricky (adjective): Something that is confusing and not clear
  • Rule of thumb: A general principle or a rule, used in real life, not scientifically measured, that sometimes works and sometimes does not work



Do you have any other questions abouit etiquette when it comes to eating in an American restaurant? Please leave a comment below and I would be happy to answer your questions!



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Photo credits: Alan Light, puukibeach, scott waldron

Topics: English Lessons, United States Culture, Vocabulary Workshop

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