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Survey: Millennials tip the least of any generation

Millennials are the first generation on track to make less than their parents. Of course, there was that whole Great Recession starting in 2008…
(Credit: Creative Commons)

A survey by has data to show that millennials are the worst tippers; a full 10% of people age 18 to 37 will leave no tip at all when dining in a restaurant.

It could be that the generation hasn’t worked a lot of tipped jobs. It could be that millennials are worse off financially than the generations that came before them because of the Great Recession of 2008, so they’re not as likely to add 20% to the bill.

Interestingly, however, 25% of that generation would rather just pay a higher bill for service or food than worry about tipping. Among other demographic groups, 26% of people who make over $75,000 would also just rather pay a higher bill from the get-go, as do 30% of people with college degrees. More about that in the video below.

Germany has a law that servers must be paid a living wage. (Credit: GUENTER SCHIFFMANN/AFP/Getty Images)

“Tipping at sit-down restaurants has always been the standard in the U.S., but that’s not necessarily the case in other countries. We’re seeing younger adults tipping less, and even showing a greater preference toward eliminating tipping altogether, even if it means paying more on the bill,”  says senior industry analyst Matt Schulz. 

The other groups revealed as low- or no-tip folks are Southerners and parents. Married couples without children were better tippers than those with offspring.

Given that the tipped minimum wage has remained at $2.13/hr for 27 years in states that haven’t modified the law themselves, it can mean servers who expect to pull in a decent paycheck for the night come up short.

Find the interactive image at this link. (Credit: Department of Labor)

Other countries take the fretting out of it. Germany, among many, has laws on the books that servers must be paid a living wage, so folks are only expected to round up the bill; your take is $36? Just make it $40. It seems like a much more reasonable way to be in business than expecting customers to supplement wages, eh?

Allow me to paste a new label onto our country’s most-labelled demographic the Millennials: the food truck generation. 47 percent of Millennials have eaten from a food truck, making them the most likely patrons of those mobile establishments that their parents were more apt to refer to as “roach coaches” or “gut trucks.” Food trucks have been around in some form or another for most of the 20th century, but they were more culturally recognizable as fixtures of isolated workplaces like manufacturing plants and construction sites.  Today, food trucks are estimated to be a $2.7 billion industry and have been reappropriated into a younger, more affluent, more urban cultural ethos. The mass migration of Millennials into cities mirrors to some extent the proliferation of the food trucks on those same city street corners. With their DIY sensibility and appealing sort of grubbiness, food trucks cater to younger folks who have come to search for “authenticity” in their brands – or rather products that give the appearance of being “brandless”. So is it that the proclivities of these young hip urbanized eaters have spurred the rise of the gourmet-food-truck phenomenon? Or is there a larger force that has shaped both the landscape of the restaurant industry and Millennial tastes at once?   

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