By the Numbers: Tipping

“I feel great about the fact that I no longer need to worry that the only way to get a great tip is to have a woman subjecting herself to leering men or if I’m from a different ethnic group than the table that I’m serving, that I need to worry that they’re not going to give me a good tip.” – Danny Meyer, founder of Union Square Hospitality Group, which owns Shake Shack 

2.5 million

Number of servers in the United States


Number of coal miners employed in the United States


Number of coal miners employed at the industry’s peak in 1923

$40 billion

Amount that Americans tip each year


Percentage of high-end hotel users who tip the cleaning staff


Percentage of Uber riders who tip their driver


Percentage increase in Union Square Hospitality Group prices as a result of eliminating tipping at its restaurants


Percentage increase in wages for Union Square Hospitality Group line cooks as a result of the new policy

Sources: Freakonomics Radio and “The Drivers of Social Preferences: Evidence from a Nationwide Tipping Field Experiment” by Bharat Chandar, Uri Gneezy, John List and Ian Muir (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2019)