Deciding how much to tip can be tricky, especially at upscale restaurants. You want to show your gratitude for good service without overtipping. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk through how much you should tip at fancy restaurants depending on the quality of service, location, party size, and other factors.

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: aim to tip 18-20% of the pre-tax bill at fancy restaurants in the U.S., adjusting up or down slightly based on service. Now, let’s dive into the details.

Typical Tip Percentages at Fancy Restaurants

18-20% for Good Service

When dining at a fancy restaurant, it is customary to tip between 18-20% for good service. This percentage is considered the industry standard and is widely accepted by servers and staff. Tipping within this range shows appreciation for the quality of service provided and is a way to acknowledge the effort put into making your dining experience enjoyable.

Remember, tipping is a way to show gratitude and support the hard work of the restaurant staff.

15-17% for Mediocre Service

Not every dining experience at a fancy restaurant will be exceptional. If the service you receive is mediocre, it is still appropriate to leave a tip, albeit a slightly lower one. Tipping between 15-17% for mediocre service acknowledges that the server did their job adequately, but there were some areas for improvement.

It is important to consider the overall experience and not just focus on minor shortcomings.

20-25% for Excellent Service

When you receive exceptional service at a fancy restaurant, it is only fitting to reward the server with a higher tip percentage. Tipping between 20-25% for excellent service not only shows appreciation but also motivates the staff to continue delivering exceptional experiences to their customers.

If the service goes above and beyond your expectations and leaves you feeling delighted, consider leaving a tip on the higher end of this range to truly express your gratitude.

It is worth noting that these tip percentages are merely suggestions and can be adjusted based on your personal experience and satisfaction. If you have a particularly amazing experience or encounter subpar service, feel free to adjust the tip accordingly.

Remember, tipping is a way to reward good service and provide feedback to the staff.

For more information on tipping etiquette and practices, you can visit Etiquette Scholar, a reputable website that provides comprehensive guidelines on tipping in various scenarios.

Factors That Affect How Much You Should Tip

When dining at a fancy restaurant, it’s important to know how much to tip the service staff. The amount you should tip can vary depending on several factors. Here are some key factors that can affect how much you should tip:

Quality of Service

The quality of service you receive at a fancy restaurant plays a significant role in determining the tip amount. If the service is exceptional, with attentive and friendly servers who go above and beyond to ensure your dining experience is enjoyable, you may want to consider tipping more generously.

On the other hand, if the service is lackluster or if there are any major issues, it’s acceptable to tip less than the standard amount.

Location and Customs

The tipping customs can vary from country to country. In some places, such as the United States, it is customary to leave a tip of around 15-20% of the total bill. However, in other countries, like Japan, tipping may not be expected or may even be considered rude.

It’s important to research the tipping customs of the country you are in or ask the staff at the restaurant for guidance.

Party Size

The size of your dining party can also influence how much you should tip. For larger groups, some restaurants automatically include a gratuity charge in the bill. This is often the case for parties of six or more.

In such situations, it’s important to check the bill and see if a gratuity charge has already been added. If it has, you may still choose to leave an additional tip if you feel it is warranted.

Discount or Free Items

If you have received any discounts or free items during your dining experience, it’s important to consider these factors when calculating your tip. While it’s not necessary to tip on the discounted amount, it’s generally appreciated to tip on the original value of the bill.

This shows gratitude for the service provided, even if the cost of the meal was reduced.

Remember, tipping is a way to show appreciation for the service you received. It’s important to consider these factors and use your discretion when determining the appropriate tip amount. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you are tipping the appropriate amount at a fancy restaurant.

Tipping Etiquette for Large Parties

Tip May Be Added Automatically

When dining with a large party at a fancy restaurant, it’s important to be aware that the tip may be added automatically to your bill. This is often the case when the party size exceeds a certain number, such as six or eight guests.

The restaurant may include a service charge or gratuity of a certain percentage, typically around 18-20%, to the final bill. This practice is common to ensure that the service staff is adequately compensated for their efforts in serving a large group.

It is important to check your bill carefully to see if a tip has been added automatically, as it may influence the amount you choose to tip additionally.

Ask About Gratuity Policies Up Front

Before dining with a large party at a fancy restaurant, it is always a good idea to ask about the restaurant’s gratuity policies upfront. Some restaurants may have specific policies in place for large parties, such as requiring a minimum tip percentage or charging a fixed gratuity amount.

By knowing the restaurant’s policies beforehand, you can plan your budget accordingly and avoid any surprises when the bill arrives.

Consider Tipping Extra for Excellent Service

While a tip may already be included in the bill for large parties, it is important to recognize exceptional service with an additional tip. If the service provided by the waitstaff goes above and beyond your expectations, consider leaving an extra tip to show your appreciation.

This could be a percentage of the total bill or a specific amount that you feel reflects the level of service received. Remember, tipping is a way to acknowledge and reward excellent service, so don’t hesitate to show your gratitude.

Tipping for Takeout from Fancy Restaurants

When it comes to tipping for takeout from fancy restaurants, it’s important to remember that tipping is optional but greatly appreciated. While tipping may not be as customary for takeout orders compared to dine-in experiences, it is still a thoughtful gesture to show your appreciation for the restaurant staff’s hard work.

Tipping is Optional But Appreciated

While it is not mandatory to tip for takeout orders, it is always a kind gesture to acknowledge the effort put into preparing your meal. The restaurant staff, from the chefs to the packaging team, work diligently to ensure that your takeout order is up to the same high standards as their dine-in service.

Tipping is a way to express your gratitude for their hard work and dedication.

10-15% is Typical for Takeout

When deciding how much to tip for takeout from a fancy restaurant, a general guideline is to tip between 10-15% of the total bill. This percentage can vary depending on the level of service you received, the complexity of your order, and any additional services provided, such as curbside pickup or delivery.

If the restaurant goes above and beyond to accommodate your needs or provides exceptional service, you may consider tipping more generously.

Consider the Effort Involved

When determining the appropriate tip amount for takeout from a fancy restaurant, it’s important to consider the effort involved in preparing your order. While it may seem like a simple task, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes into ensuring your meal is properly cooked, packaged, and ready for pickup.

Additionally, the staff might have dedicated time and resources to accommodate any special requests or dietary restrictions. Taking these factors into account can help you determine an appropriate tip amount.

Remember, tipping is a personal choice, and the most important thing is to show appreciation for the restaurant staff’s hard work. By tipping for takeout from fancy restaurants, you are not only acknowledging their effort but also supporting the service industry during these challenging times.

Leaving Additional Tips

When dining at a fancy restaurant, tipping is an essential part of the dining experience. While the standard tip for the waitstaff is well-known, there are other individuals who contribute to your overall dining experience and should be recognized for their efforts.

Here are a few additional individuals you should consider tipping when dining at a fancy restaurant.

Tip the Maitre D’

The Maitre D’ is responsible for overseeing the entire dining room and ensuring that guests have a pleasant experience. They help with seating arrangements, handle special requests, and ensure that everything runs smoothly.

As a gesture of appreciation, it is customary to tip the Maitre D’ in addition to the waitstaff. The amount can vary depending on the level of service provided, but a general guideline is around 10% of the total bill. Keep in mind that this tip is usually given in cash directly to the Maitre D’.

Tip Valet Parking Attendants

When dining at a fancy restaurant, valet parking is often offered as a convenient service. The valet parking attendants work hard to ensure that your vehicle is parked safely and retrieved promptly. It is customary to tip the valet parking attendants when they return your car.

The amount can vary depending on the location and level of service, but a typical tip is around $5 to $10. If you have a larger vehicle or if the weather conditions are challenging, consider tipping on the higher end of the range.

Tip Washroom Attendants

Fancy restaurants often have dedicated washroom attendants who keep the facilities clean and stocked with essentials like hand towels and toiletries. These individuals work diligently to ensure that guests have a pleasant and hygienic experience.

It is customary to tip washroom attendants as a token of appreciation. A typical tip is around $1 to $2, although you can adjust the amount depending on the level of service provided.

Remember, tipping is not mandatory, but it is a way to show gratitude for exceptional service. Be sure to consider your overall dining experience and the efforts of these additional individuals when deciding on the amount to tip.

By recognizing their hard work, you can contribute to a positive work environment and encourage exceptional service in the future.


Tipping at upscale restaurants doesn’t have to be complicated once you know the standard percentages. While 18-20% is typical for good service, tipping is ultimately at your discretion based on the experience. With large parties, prep ahead on gratuity policies. For takeout, 10-15% is appreciated.

Go beyond the basic tip to show extra gratitude by tipping support staff like the maitre d’ or valet. With this guide, you can tip properly at any fancy restaurant.

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