Maui may be over 2,000 miles away from the US mainland, but Hawaii is still a U.S. state, which means that the sometimes confusing restaurant tipping rules of the United States apply. Tipping may not be common in your country, but if you plan on visiting Maui, you’ll find that tipping is expected in most dining situations. In fact, many restaurant owners pay their employees less with the expectation that tipping will make up the difference, so your waiter may be depending on your tip as a major part of their income!
When to tip and how much to tip may seem arbitrary at first, but if you follow this simple guide, you can easily navigate your restaurant tipping responsibilities on your Maui holiday!
When to Tip
Always tip when you go to a sit down restaurant where a waiter/waitress takes your food orders and serves your food. It is also common to leave a small tip at a buffet restaurant for the staff who cleans off the tables. Bartenders will also expect a tip for making your drink! Don’t forget to tip the food delivery guy who drives to your location to bring you a tasty meal.
In fact, the only place you really don’t need to tip is carry-out restaurants. If you have to go up to a counter to put in your food order and then take the food to a table or as carry-out, tipping is not expected. You may see a small tip jar on the counter. Adding money to the tip jar is completely optional. Some people throw extra change in the jar or just a dollar if the server was polite.
How Much to Tip
At a sit-down restaurant, you’ll typically want to tip 10% – 20% of the total cost of the meal and drinks before taxes. Usually a 10% tip equates to mediocre service. A 15% tip is average for satisfactory service. If your server was really on his or her game, then a 20% tip is an appropriate amount for great service. This same general code applies for food delivery. If your food is on time and the delivery person is pleasant, a 15% – 20% tip is in order. If your delivery is late, than a 10% tip may all you should give.
Servers at a buffet do much less work. After all, you’re the one serving yourself, so don’t tip any more than 10% of the cost of your meal.
Tipping a bartender is a little trickier. If you order a few beers or glasses of wine that are easy to pour, you can get away with only leaving a dollar tip per drink. If you order a large round of fancy drinks that take time, effort, and expertise to make, consider tipping $2 to $3 per drink
Special Tipping Hints
If you have a large party, check your bill before you add a tip. Some restaurants add a mandatory 15% tip for groups of a certain size. You can always tip more if your server was amazing, but don’t feel obligated to tip more than what is already included.
Finally, if you use a credit card to pay for your meal or drinks, you’ll almost always have the ability to write in a tip on the receipt. The tip amount will be added to your total for the meal and included in your charge. You can also choose to leave a tip in the form of cash. If you do this, your servers, bartender, and delivery person would highly prefer to receive a tip in US dollars.
Stay tuned for our follow-up article on tipping other service providers on your Maui trip.
In our next article we will provide some guidelines on tipping for service and hotel.