Food News

Hey, Big Spender. Tipping in Texas is Way Up, Three Times National Increase

Tipping is on the rise across the nation, but especially in Texas.
Tipping is on the rise across the nation, but especially in Texas. Lauren Drewes Daniels
Texans are digging deep into their pockets for tips.

The software company SpotOn, which provides a payment platform for businesses, recently gathered all their bean counters into one room to tally up trends in the restaurant industry from October 2021 to April 2022.

You’re likely familiar with the type of technology SpotOn supports; a cashier rings up your bills then flips the screen and you’re prompted to tip.

Broadly speaking, two new trends have emerged since the pandemic: the types of businesses that prompt for a tip and how much. In the past, tipping was only expected at table service restaurants and bars. And while 20% used to be the higher end of a tip, lately we've seen businesses suggest up to 35%.

Perhaps there are new norms for tipping after what service industry workers endured during two years of pandemic lockdowns, restrictions and health risks, not to mention tempers.

Regardless, if the effort is to pad workers’ pockets — out of pure appreciation or peer pressure — it’s working. According to SpotOn's data, across the nation, the average tip is up 9%. In Texas specifically, the dollar amount of tipping is up 35.1%.
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They might want to add a cup for groceries.
Lauren Drewes Daniels
ZipRecruiter reports that in Texas, the average hourly wage for waiters is $13.13. Take the minimum of $2.13 out of that, and tips average $11 an hour; a 35% increase puts that at $14.85, or a raise of $3.85. If someone works 20 hours a week, that’s $77 more each week, or just over $300 a month.

When asked about the source of the extra generosity, Kate Wolf, the VP of brand communications at SpotOn, says a number of variables could be affecting tips, “This can include a general community response to the impact of the last two years on the restaurant business, pent-up spending as customers emerge from the pandemic and the use of point of sale technology that makes it easy to tip by calculating recommendations based on standard percentages.”

The increase in tips could also be tied to an increase in the cost of eating out, which is up 6% across the nation, and 17.7% in Texas, to an average of $31 per transaction, which means tips are based on a higher bill. If you've been balking at your final bill lately, this data substantiates your shock.

It all makes you just want to eat at home, huh? Well, in Texas food costs are up 20.4%, according to SpotOn. Want to drown all this in a beer or two? The cost of beer is up 29% in Texas. Better to go with wine, which is down 13.4%, as is liquor by 6.4%.

Nationally, SpotOn reports that prices are on the rise, which should come as no surprise as inflation throughout the food supply chain is driving up costs for restaurants.

Across the country, the cost of pizza is up 7%, tacos are up 10.5%, prawns have increased 8% and crab is up 11%.

“The fluctuating market will continue to present challenges to maintaining a healthy restaurant profit margin," said Kevin Bryla, head of client experience with SpotOn. 
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.

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