Millennials are the worst tippers, survey says

Reporter
Yahoo Finance

The millennial generation, those ages 18 to 37, are cheap when it comes to tipping restaurant servers, according to a new surveyed released by CreditCards.com of 1,000 participants.

When dining out, 10% of millennials said they typically leave no tip for their server, compared to just 3% of respondents who are older.

“People have jobs, but they’re not getting raises, and life is just expensive, especially when you’re carrying student loan debt or other types of debt,” Matt Schulz, a senior industry analyst for CreditCards.com, said to Yahoo Finance.  “The other side of it is that we’ve seen a lot of data that shows millennials generally are pretty conservative when it comes to their own money. And that makes plenty of sense because they bear the scars of coming up coming of age during the during the Great Recession and it makes sense that those memories and those experiences would have a really big impact on what they think and what the do forever.”

According to the survey, the median tip a millennial leaves their server is 15%, which is less than the overall median of 18%.

Credit:  Cultura/Moof The Put-Down Merchant
Credit:  Cultura/Moof The Put-Down Merchant

Folks over the age of 38 tend to be more generous, with just over half of them, or 51%, choosing to leave a 20% tip, while just over one-third of millennials, or 36%, said the usually go with a 20% tip.

A typical restaurant worker today might very well be a millennial, so not tipping can be self-defeating.

“At a minimum, it’s troubling because while a lot of people view tipping as just a question of etiquette the truth is that when you don’t tip well, you’re making it harder for that waiter to put food on their own table and that’s a challenge,” Schulz said.

What’s interesting is that millennials said they would rather pay more for food when dining out instead of leaving a tip. More than one-quarter of millennials, or 27%, said they’d pay more. That number is even higher for the younger millennials, ages 18 to 27, with 30% of them saying they’d pay more for their food and forgo the tip.

Meanwhile, the older generations prefer the traditional tipping system, with only 1 in 4 Gen Xers, ages 38 to 53, and only 13% of Baby Boomers, ages 54 to 72, saying they’d pay for higher food prices in place of tipping.

Dining out isn’t the only area where millennials are skimping on tips, though. The survey found that 18% of millennials opt not to leave any tip when they’re given pre-entered options whether it’s in a taxi or ride-hailing service or at a food truck or coffee shop, compared to 12% of those who are older. When selecting one of those pre-entered options, 14% of millennials said the pick the lowest one.


Julia La Roche is a finance reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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