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Younger diners tip less, poll finds

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By USA Today
Saturday, June 7, 2014, 6:54 p.m.

The generation that lives to eat does not live to tip.

Millennials — younger adults roughly ages 18 to 34 — often leave tips way below the national average, according to a new Harris Poll online survey that was crunched for global restaurant reviewer Michelin Maps and Guides.

About one in three Millennials admit they usually tip less than 15 percent when dining out, according to the national survey of 2,019 adults conducted in December 2013.

That makes Millennials about twice as likely as adults 35 and up to be lousy tippers. Only 16 percent of adults in the older age group tip less than 15 percent.

But when it comes to splurging for restaurant meals, these same Millennials are willing to spend way more than any other age group. When asked what they'd be willing to spend on a once-in-a-lifetime meal experience (food and drink) at a famous, gourmet restaurant, Millennials said they'd be willing to shell out an average $213. That compares with the $123 that folks 65 and older said they'd be willing to pay.

Why are Millennials such big spenders on food but cheapsters on tips?

“They're simply not aware of the norms that most older adults are aware of,” says Tony Fouladpour, a spokesman for Michelin Maps and Guides. “Let's just say, they lack the experience.”

Of course they also typically lack the disposable income of older adults, he adds, and the economic and employment pictures come into play.

“This is an age group that's having difficulty finding work in their professions,” Fouladpour notes.

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