SALT LAKE TOURIST & VISITOR CENTER
Suggestions on Tipping & Gratuities for Utah
It's and we would like to welcome you to the Salt Lake Tourist & Visitor Centers official online edition. This page provides detailed information on Helpful Tipping Guidelines.
The quality of service should always come into play when determining a "proper" tip. A $25 per person buffet is not particularly expensive nor is it inexpensive. Many Chinese buffets in our area charge $7 to $9.50 per person before sales tax. If you were to tip $1 per diner, that would be in the neighborhood of 10 to 15%.
For a $25 dinner, $1 would be inadequate and most likely rude. I would leave $3.50 to $4.00, once again 15%. You can adjust up or down depending on whether or not they were prompt in clearing used plates and refilling beverages. Be sure to take a peek at how large their section is too. Sometimes even slow service is not their fault but that of management.
Also, keep in mind, that the server is never responsible for the quality or quantity of food available.
While tipping is NOT mandatory in most of the United States, it is expected in many circumstances for service, especially at almost all sit-down restaurants which offer table service. "Suggested tips" and "further insights, discussions, and recommendations for tipping" below may represent what Americans who work in service industries feel are fair tipping practices.
Many visitors to the U.S. feel pressured to tip even when they do not feel it is fair or reasonable to do so. Customers cannot be forced to tip as a matter of law, but they are legally required to pay any charges that are clearly marked prior to service, and these may include mandatory gratuities (tips). Mandatory gratuities are used by some restaurants with large numbers of foreign customers who may not be familiar with American tipping customs, often in tourist centers such as Salt Lake or Park City. Mandatory gratuities also are charged by many restaurants when large groups are being served. Their menus typically list this.
Fast food restaurants do not have tipping, nor do they have table service.
Obviously at restaurants with no tipping policies or where gratuities are automatically added to customer checks, there is no need to tip unless there is a desire to additionally reward some exceptional service.
Some coffee shops, bakeries and other establishments have tip jars on their check-out counters. These have become more prevalent in recent years and there is some confusion, even controversy about them. Generally, those who feel a desire to reward good service will make a contribution to a tip jar. Others do not. Both are fine.
As explained below in greater detail, customers should understand that tips are often a major source of compensation for the wait staff and other U.S. service providers. Employers often pay these employees lower wages in anticipation that the service employees will receive tip income to raise their compensation to market levels -- however, U.S. employers are legally supposed to pay all workers the higher of either the Federal Minimum Wage or their state's minimum wage. Many of these employees also may be part-time employees and not receive any employer-paid benefits such as health insurance, which they consequently must pay for personally. So customers may not be paying more for the service that they are receiving than if the cost of the services were built into prices as they are in many other countries.
Many hotel guests who tip housekeeping staff leave tips daily before leaving the hotel, both to reward the person immediately servicing the room and in expectation of good service.
$1 to $3/bag for skycaps, bellhops, doormen, and parking valets if they handle bags, $1 per coat for coatroom attendants, $1 per diner at buffets, $2-5 per night for housekeeper, $5-10 for concierge (only if they arranged tickets or reservations). Doormen who merely open doors are not tipped, unless they call a cab or provide another service. Parking valets are paid upon pick-up $3-5, depending upon much effort is required to retrieve a vehicle.
For waiters at sit-down restaurants, bartenders, barbers/hairdressers/attendants at beauty salons, taxi drivers, tour guides, and food delivery folks, the tip should be calculated as a percentage of your total bill as follows: 10% usually means you aren't toally happy, 15% usually means all was good, 20% for excellent, over 20% for outstanding. 15% and over is considered "normal".
For ski instructors, tipping 15 percent for adult groups and 10 percent for private clients is pretty standard.
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