Eating Out and Tipping in NYC

We are planning a family trip to New York later this spring (Yay!). We're coming from Europe so this is a long haul trip for us and we're very excited.

I have my categories all set up and am funding them furiously so that we can relax and enjoy ourselves when we get there. Our flights and accommodation are all paid for in advance so we just need our spending money.

This is where I need some local knowledge. We're a family of 5. The children's ages are 9, 14 and 19. How much do you recommend we budget for eating out? There are no meals included with our accommodation and I expect we'll mostly eat out in family type establishments. My husband and I aren't big drinkers either so maybe a glass or 2 of wine with dinner but no more. I had originally budgeted $80 per person per day. Do you think this would cover food, drinks and tips or do I need to allow an extra 20% to cover tipping? Tipping is not customary where we come from so I don't want to make a mistake here.

Thanks in advance!

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  • I was just in New York yesterday. 4 of us and my borther. It depends on where you are and what you're doing. It would be fairly easy to drop $100 + tip or more for 5 people for lunch or dinner if you go to any kind of sit down restaurant, you could double it for something fancy. On the other hand you could go cheap and eat lunch from one of the cart vendors on the street for much less.

    $80 pp/day is $400/day. I think that's probably more than enough if you aren't eating at the popular fancy restaurants for every meal.

     

    Keep in mind that you don't tip everywhere, and the tip should range from 10% for bad service to 15% for average service to 18% for good service to 20% for great service. Try not to over-tip.

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  • Thanks nolesrule . I think my brain is slightly overloaded  by all the different articles I've read on the subject! The gist from most is to double the tax anywhere that requires table service so I reckon I'm ok in that regard. However other articles seem to suggest so much tipping that i'll need a constant and plentiful supply of small bills to just throw around me like confetti at anyone who acknowledges my existence (well maybe that's slightly overstating it but you know what I mean ;)

     

    Also I just have no idea if the cost of menu items are generally the same as home. We usually vacation in Europe so i'd have a good idea of how much it costs to feed my gang (a lot!). I'm just hoping to have a guestimate as to whether i'd need more than here to account for tipping.

     

    Thanks again!

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  • My default tipping is 18% (well I eyeball the check and estimate 20% and 15% and go somewhere in the middle). It has to be aggressively average for me to tip 15%. If I'm out with people who make a lot of special requests (i.e. beyond salad dressing on the side please), I tip higher because of the server having to put up with the drama queens I sometimes hang with (if you don't like the food that's actually on the menu, why did you suggest this place?!?).

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    • JoeDid
    • Remember: It is To Laugh
    • Purple_rain
    • 2 yrs ago
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    voyager said:
    Also I just have no idea if the cost of menu items are generally the same as home. We usually vacation in Europe so i'd have a good idea of how much it costs to feed my gang (a lot!). I'm just hoping to have a guestimate as to whether i'd need more than here to account for tipping.

     Do a Google Maps search for the area you will be in for the most part (Manhattan/Brooklyn, etc.) and search for restaurants. Most have on-line menus that you can view. Even though I live here, I always check menus for first-time visits, so I don't get a shock when the bill arrives. Yelp reviews also help.

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  • Hi

     

    I live in NYC and $80 per person is more than enough. It will allow you to go to a variety of restaurants. Diners are fun and bagel shops and they are inexpensive. Plus the little grocery stores have great sandwiches. Be careful eating around time square. Pricing are designed for tourists. And definitely stay away from chain restaurants as the pricing is way over priced. 

    I would tip in cash if you can. 

    Have fun. 

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      • voyager
      • voyager
      • 2 yrs ago
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      jennie_hi Thanks for the info. You've more or less confirmed what I already thought. We are hoping to experience a wide variety of what's on offer and will hopefully get to see (and eat!) more than what's available in the usual tourist traps. Good advise too regarding tipping in cash. Thanks! 

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  • Try Otto Pizzeria - I love it. 

    Regarding tipping , it depends.... If the service is good, I normally give 20%

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  • I am not quite sure how to exchange email addresses but I'd be happy to send you some great places in NYC that won't cost you a fortune. 

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  • I agree on tipping generously. Having worked in the food service industry, it has to be terrible service for me to give 15%. I always give at least 18% and usually more. 

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    • JoeDid
    • Remember: It is To Laugh
    • Purple_rain
    • 2 yrs ago
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    Note that some restaurants (in tourist areas, mostly) will have already added a tip for 6 or more people, and some might add a tip for fewer. Be sure it hasn't already been added.

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