The Best and Worst Tippers in the U.S.

I’ll confess that I’m not always sure how much to tip food delivery guys and gals. On the one hand, the standard 20 percent you tip waitstaff at sit-down restaurants seems a bit much; but on the other, is 10 percent too cheap? Apparently the answer is yes. If you tip your delivery people less than 14 percent, congratulations! You’re one of the worst delivery tippers in America! And so, for that matter, are people in these 10 cities.

Here’s how we know: Online takeout ordering site GrubHub gathered data for a year’s worth of non-cash tips and used that info to rank the best and worst tipping cities in America. The worst tippers seem mostly to hail from New York, California and Illinois:

  1. Syracuse, NY: 12.1 percent
  2. Ithaca, NY: 12.8 percent
  3. Champaign, IL: 13.1 percent
  4. Rochester, NY: 13.4 percent
  5. San Jose, CA: 13.4 percent
  6. Greensboro, NC: 13.4 percent
  7. Bloomington, IN: 13.5 percent
  8. Orange County, CA: 13.5 percent
  9. Chicago, IL: 13.6 percent
  10. Lansing, MI: 13.6 percent

What gives, New York, California, and Illinois? Between the three of you, you net seven of the 10 spots on this list — California and Illinois both have two, and New York three. And given that this data was drawn from GrubHub’s credit card records, you definitely can’t make the “Oh, I just didn’t have enough cash on me” excuse.

For comparison purposes, here are the ten best tippers in the country:

  1. Boulder, CO: 16.2
  2. Denver, CO: 15.7
  3. Fort Collins, CO: 15.4
  4. Bloomington, IL: 15.1 percent (not to be confused with Bloomington, IN on the previous list)
  5. Chartlottesville, VA: 15 percent
  6. Dallas, TX: 15 percent
  7. Columbus, OH: 14.9 percent
  8. Knoxville, TN: 14.9 percent
  9. Kalamazoo, MI: 14.9 percent
  10. Phoenix, AZ: 14.8 percent

Delivery people? You might want to consider moving to Colorado — since they take all three of the top spots on this list, it looks like you’ll get the most bang for your buck there.

I think what this means is that a nice, round 15 percent is probably a good bet; delivery folk rely on tips to make up anywhere between 30 and 70 percent of their salaries, so don’t be a cheapskate. Oh, and it’s probably not a bad idea to tip extra if your pizza delivery guy ventures out in the middle of a blizzard to delivery your favorite Veggie Lover’s selection right to your door. Just sayin’.

Delivery people of America, we salute you!

Image: Fotolia