Study: New Mexicans tip 20.1% on average

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s the season of giving in New Mexico, but it turns out most New Mexicans are generous all year long.

A new study from digital payment company “Toast” ranked New Mexico the 12th best state for tipping. According to its data – which is mostly from restaurants – the average New Mexican tips 20.1%. Indiana was the No. 1 state with an average 21% tip.

KOB 4 spoke with more than a dozen people Friday who said they typically tip around 20%. However, many said they will adjust how much they tip based on the service they receive.

It’s a different story when it comes to tipping businesses.

“Personally, I probably wouldn’t. Like if I spent $100 at a store, I probably wouldn’t leave them an extra 20,” said Alec Dean.

UNM finance professor Reilly White says tipping is becoming much more common outside the traditional service industries. He says it’s largely because of industry changes during the pandemic.

“A lot of small businesses rely on applications like square or toast,” White said. “These little point-of-sale technologies have a built-in tipping function.”

White says recent surveys revealed the vast majority of Americans say social pressure is what encourages them to tip. He says those built-in tip features benefit because of that.

“When we have these situations, when you have a point-of-sale technology, and it asks you immediately, do you want to tip, it forces you to say no, to opt out of the tip, and a lot of people feel guilty about doing that,” he said.

Unlike restaurant servers who rely on tips as part of their wage, White says tips at businesses are more like bonuses for workers.

“For employers, allowing your employees to receive tips is a way of allowing them to earn a bit more money without actually giving them a raise,” he said.

White says there is no standard tip expected for businesses (most Americans agree 20% is a good tip for restaurant service). White says customers should only tip what they can afford or feel comfortable giving.

Some locals say they don’t mind giving back to local shops.

“If it’s a small business, local-owned, I feel like why not?” said Jessica Liebe. ”They’re just trying to survive and make a living for themselves and their families and to support their employees.”