Zagat is back with its holiday tipping survey, revealing that 57 percent of diners tip on the post-tax amount on the bill, men try more often than women to tip their way to faster seating or a better table and that the average American will tip the babysitter $69 during the holidays.
But the nanny still gets the best tip - $331 on average, even though that's the smallest payout in at least three years, according to Zagat. The housekeeper will score $132 in tips this Christmas.
Seven in 10 Americans said they'll hand out cash tips, while more than a quarter plan to give gift cards or certificates.
The Zagat survey also deals with a host of thorny tipping issues at eateries.
What to do when dining with a Groupon or some other discounted deal? Three-quarters of respondents say they tip on the pre-discounted amount.
What about when the cost of a bottle of wine significantly bumps up the price of a meal? More than a third of patrons said they have no idea how to proceed with the gratuity. Just under a quarter said their tip factors in the full price of the bottle, while 21 percent do the opposite. Another 21 percent said they adjust their tip based on the sommelier's helpfulness.
Among guests impatient to be seated or unsatisfied with their table, most haven't tried to tip their way to superior seating or the top of the wait list. But 22 percent said they've successfully tried to grease the wheels; 4 percent have done so and failed.
At the coat check, more than 4 in 10 patrons said they leave $1 per coat in tip, while 26 percent drop $2. A quarter of customers don't check their outerwear at all.
Once at the table, customers said server attentiveness was the top factor in the size of their gratuity. But 38 percent of patrons said they tip more for their regular server, while nearly a third say they'll bump up the amount if they're given a freebie during the meal.
On the flip side, 6 percent of diners said they'll withhold a tip if they encounter poor service, while 7 percent said they wouldn't alter the sum.
As for calls to eliminate American tipping culture in favor of a system that folds the gratuity into higher menu prices: 21 percent of Zagat respondents said they love the idea. Seventeen percent are in favor of the plan as long as it's limited to upscale restaurants. Nearly 3 in 10 hate the proposal.
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