Here's a handy guide to help you when eating out, taking taxis and making purchases.
Let’s face it: it’s not always fun to tack a few extra bucks of your hard-earned money onto a bill. But since New Yorkers in the service industries (hotels, restaurants and transportation) usually have gratuity factored into their wages, tips are expected and greatly appreciated. You don’t have to go overboard, but be sure to show the love for great New York City service. Note that there are an increasing number of restaurants these days implementing a no-tipping policy—they either add on a service or administrative charge or they have hiked their prices, and they use the money to better pay their workers (the policy will typically be indicated on the menu or bill). In lieu of that, here’s how much you should tip:
Hotel doorman: $2–$5 for hailing a cab.
Porters and bellhops: $1–$2 per bag.
Housekeeping: $2–$5 per day of your visit, depending on the services supplied.
Waitstaff in restaurants: 15–20 percent of total bill (the higher end has become more of the norm). This is the one place where you really must tip; unless you’ve had awful service, staff may look askance at anything less than 15 percent.
Bartenders: typically expect at least a $1 tip for every beverage they serve you (and if the drinks are pricey, perhaps more than that). Later on, when the bar gets crowded, you’ll be glad that the mixologist remembers you. If you are paying with a credit card, add the usual 15–20 percent instead.
Taxi drivers: 10–20 percent of total fare (same for ride share apps).
Hairdressers: 15–20 percent of total service cost.
Tips for other service personnel, such as tour guides, coat-check staff, baristas and so on, are always appreciated.
Buyer beware: while the price tag may say one thing, prices marked typically don’t include tax. The sales tax on most goods and services in New York City is 8.875 percent. But there are a few exceptions:
There is no sales tax on many food items purchased at grocery stores (heated or otherwise prepared foods are an exception), or on prescription drugs.
And there is no sales tax on clothing or footwear under $110.