During the height of the pandemic, restaurant servers say they received higher tips than in previous years. Will this trend hold?

During the height of the pandemic, the extra money restaurant servers made was largely based on the generosity of customers—many of whom tipped quite well. Covid-19 forced a national conversation about the “essential workers” whose pay was not commensurate with the outsized role they played in keeping the country afloat. In part, this led to the “Great Pandemic Tipping Boom of 2020,” The Atlantic reports. Restaurant workers across the country say the tips they received were much larger than in previous years, averaging 25 percent in some cases. But now that pandemic restrictions nationwide have been lifted, the number of people eating out has returned to 2019 levels, and 46 percent of Americans are vaccinated, will customers continue to leave higher tips? Probably not. Even more troubling, Americans may soon become even less likely to tip than before the pandemic. As restaurants dole out raises to entice workers back into the industry, customers “could conceivably start tipping less,” said Sara Hanson, a University of Richmond marketing professor. 

The Counter Stories by our editors.