Tipping Restaurant Workers 20% or More is Becoming the New Norm During the Pandemic, According to Popmenu Research

American consumers are digging deeper in their pockets to support restaurant workers, according to new research from restaurant technology provider Popmenu.

Given the impact of COVID-19 on the industry, over half of consumers say they have been tipping restaurant workers more than they did prior to the pandemic with many leaning toward tips of 20% or higher.

Popmenu’s research included a nationwide survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers and an in-depth analysis of approximately 450,000 online food orders placed over the last six months.

Key Tipping Stats

58% of consumers say they have increased the amount they typically tip servers and delivery drivers during the pandemic; 30% have been tipping the same; 6% have been tipping less and 6% don’t typically tip at all

56% typically tip servers 20% or more; 1 in 5 (20%) typically tip servers 25% or more

38% typically tip delivery drivers 20% or more while 61% typically tip delivery drivers at least 15%

“The pandemic has created a more giving America when it comes to tipping restaurant staff,” said Brendan Sweeney, CEO and co-founder of Popmenu. “Consumers know this is an industry that has been hit hard and they want to support their favorite eateries, especially staples of their local community. As discussions around compensation structure for restaurant workers continue throughout the industry, this is good news for a profession that is largely dependent upon the generosity of guests in recognition of great food and service.”

Top 20 Markets Tipping 20% or More

With demand for takeout and delivery exploding early on during the pandemic and continuing in strong volume today, Popmenu took a closer look at tipping trends for online channels.

Popmenu analyzed a sample of approximately 450,000 online food orders placed in the last 180 days to compile a list of top cities with the highest percentage of orders that included tips of 20% or higher.

On average, around 1 in 4 orders in these cities included tips of 20% or more. In the top three, 38% of online orders included tips of 20% or more.  

1. Seattle, WA – 38%

2. Austin, TX – 38%

3. Nashville, TN – 38%

4. Detroit, MI – 34%

5. Denver, CO – 33%

6. Washington, DC – 32%

7. Omaha, NE – 30%

8. Dallas, TX – 30%

9. Pittsburgh, PA – 29%

10. Columbus, OH – 27%

11. Fort Worth, TX – 27%

12. Raleigh, NC – 27%

13. Chicago, IL – 27%

14. Las Vegas, NV – 25%

15. New York, NY – 25%

16. Atlanta, GA – 24%

17. Tampa, FL – 24%

18. El Paso, TX – 23%

19. San Francisco, CA – 23%

20. Los Angeles, CA – 23%


Popmenu conducted an anonymous survey of 1,000 consumers ages 18 and older across the U.S. from October 5 to October 6, 2021.

In addition, Popmenu tracked tipping percentages for online food orders placed in the last 180 days nationwide and then zeroed in on larger U.S. cities with populations over 300,000 to compile its list.

Popmenu specializes in online and on-premise technologies for restaurants increase brand visibility, guest engagement, revenue and profitability.

The company is in digital marketing and ordering technology that works with over 6,000 independent restaurants and hospitality groups.

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