Study: New Mexicans tip an average of 20.1%

ALBUQUERQUE, NM — It’s giving season in New Mexico, but it turns out most New Mexicans are generous year-round.

A new study by digital payments company Toast ranks New Mexico 12thth best condition for tip. According to his data – which comes mostly from restaurants – the average New Mexico tips 20.1%. Indiana was the #1 state with an average tip of 21%.

KOB 4 spoke to more than a dozen people Friday who said they usually tip about 20%. However, many said they would adjust their tip based on the service they receive.

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

“Personally, I probably wouldn’t do that. For example, 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 increasingly common outside of traditional service industries. He says this is mainly due to the changes in the industry during the pandemic.

“A lot of small businesses rely on apps like Square or Toast,” White said. “These little point-of-sale technologies have a built-in toggle.”

White says recent polls have found that the vast majority of Americans say social pressures encourage them to tip. He says these built-in top features benefit from it.

“When we have these situations, when you have point-of-sale technology and you’re immediately asked if you want to tip, it forces you to say no, to decline the tip, and a lot of people feel guilty about that to have done,” he said.

Unlike waiters at restaurants, who rely on tips as part of their wages, White says corporate tips are more like bonuses for workers.

“It’s a way for employers to allow their employees to receive tips so they can make some extra money without actually giving them a raise,” he said.

White says a standard tip isn’t expected for businesses (most Americans agree that 20% is a good tip for restaurant service). White says customers should only tip what they can afford or feel comfortable with.

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

“If it’s a small business that’s locally owned, I figure, why not?” said Jessica Love. “They’re just trying to survive and make a living for themselves and their families and to support their employees.”