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Detroit Diners: How Much Are You Tipping Right Now?

The rules of restaurant dining have changed. How much are you tipping right now for dine-in, takeout orders, and delivery? Take the poll.

A customer orders food outside of the Detroit 75 Kitchen food truck on a sunny day during summer 2020.
A customer ordering food at Detroit 75 Kitchen in Southwest Detroit.
Gerard + Belevender

The restaurant tipping system is controversial to say the least. Setting aside what is the correct amount to tip for different establishments, many people inside and outside of the hospitality industry believe that the tipped minimum wage should not exist at all. These individuals cite the historical evidence that tipping was adopted in the U.S. after the Civil War as a way to avoid paying unskilled laborers many of whom were immigrants and former slaves. Today, data shows that tipping continues to reinforce racism, sexism, harassment, and exploitation in the service industry. Some restaurants in recent years have tried to do away with the practice but found it extremely difficult to shed tipping from their culture, in part, because many workers within the industry benefit from the practice. Now, in the midst of a pandemic and a recession, it’s a habit that’s come back to bite in some very real ways.

Customarily, people tip 20 percent on a bill of any size, though the rules may vary slightly depending on the setting. But with restaurants, bars, and their service staff now open under more challenging, risky conditions with higher operating costs and more unpredictable business, some people — including this publication — have argued for tipping service workers more generously. However, with fewer customers in seats and fewer work hours to come by, in addition to the changes in service, Marketplace recently reported that tips are down.

In the spring, Eater Detroit conducted a survey to determine whether customers would be comfortable eating out in a pandemic. Among the questions posed, respondents were asked how changes to service (such as servers wearing masks or restaurants serving food on single-use plates) during the pandemic would impact how they tipped service staff. According to our survey, roughly 36 percent of respondents said they would continue tipping the same as they might have prior to the pandemic, while approximately 60.3 percent (more than 1,200 respondents) said they would tip more than they might have prior to the pandemic.

Now that the U.S. is fully six months into this new world of dining, Eater Detroit wants to know: What exactly is the new tipping normal in Detroit? Are customers really exceeding their pre-pandemic tipping customs? What does tipping mean when it comes to in-house delivery drivers and gig workers with third-party delivery apps? Take the polls below. They close at 11:59 p.m. EST on Sunday, September 27.

And restaurant workers, Eater wants to hear from you too: If you are back to work, how has it been? Are the tips better, worse, or the same? Drop us a line at detroit@eater.com.

Editor’s Note: These polls have trouble showing up via Google Amp and Apple News links, so pop over to our homepage if you’re struggling to take part.

Poll

On average, how much do you tip on meals served at restaurants right now? (Onsite dining, indoors or outdoors)

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    1 to 10 percent
    (4 votes)
  • 20%
    11 to 20 percent
    (101 votes)
  • 56%
    21 to 25 percent
    (284 votes)
  • 15%
    26 to 30 percent
    (78 votes)
  • 6%
    31 percent and above
    (32 votes)
  • 0%
    I don’t tip
    (3 votes)
502 votes total Vote Now

Poll

On average, how much do you tip on takeout or curbside pickup?

This poll is closed

  • 19%
    1 to 10 percent
    (84 votes)
  • 45%
    11 to 20 percent
    (197 votes)
  • 21%
    21 to 25 percent
    (95 votes)
  • 4%
    26 to 30 percent
    (18 votes)
  • 1%
    31 percent and above
    (8 votes)
  • 6%
    I don’t tip
    (30 votes)
432 votes total Vote Now

Poll

On average, how much do you tip on delivery orders?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    1 to 10 percent
    (43 votes)
  • 49%
    11 to 20 percent
    (181 votes)
  • 30%
    21 to 25 percent
    (114 votes)
  • 4%
    26 to 30 percent
    (17 votes)
  • 1%
    31 percent and above
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    I don’t tip
    (7 votes)
369 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Have your tipping habits changed during the pandemic?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    I’m tipping more than I normally do
    (301 votes)
  • 0%
    I’m tipping less than I normally do
    (4 votes)
  • 28%
    About the same
    (122 votes)
427 votes total Vote Now

How Coronavirus Is Impacting the Detroit Food and Beverage Industry [ED]
All Coronavirus Coverage [ED]

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