When I was a little boy I used to visit my grandmother where she worked at Super Diner in Rahway. My grandfather died before I was even born. He had black lung from years of working in Pennsylvania coal mines. He died at 45.

My grandmother had to support herself by working as a waitress in this little diner across from the train station. She was friendly, worked very hard, and so often I would watch her eyes as she would check a tabletop when her customers left and too often they looked disappointed.

“Cheap,” I’d hear her mutter sadly as she scooped change into her pocket.

Cheap / forced tip (tipping)

But this was a diner. You were never we going to make a ton of money in tips working here like you would in New Jersey’s regular restaurants. Then there were the even higher-end places in Cranford and Summit.

Even with my Gram’s experience I always assumed a pretty affluent state like New Jersey showed its appreciation and tipped well.

Waitress Serves Turkey Dinner
Lisa F. Young

There’s information to say otherwise, and I’m not entirely sure I believe it myself.

Money.com reported on a ranking of all fifty states and where we land when it comes to tipping generosity. According to this, New Jersey is a lowly 41st. Only 9 states tip worse than we do.

The best tipping state is Delaware at an average of 21.8%. The worst tipping state is California at an average of 17.5%.

Granted with a difference between best and worst of less than 4 and a half percent these averages are all tightly packed. Still, it shocked me to learn we tip no better than Arkansas. Yikes!


Before we tell you more about New Jersey, these numbers come from a payment platform used by restaurants called Toast. The data was gathered from 79,000 restaurants across the country and includes only tips made via credit card or other digital means but not cash.

At 41st place and among the nation’s worst tippers, New Jersey tops an average of 19.0%.

Mississippi tips better than we do. Am I taking crazy pills here? How is any of this possible?

Come on New Jersey. We have some of the best food in the country at our fingertips with more unique and family-owned, non-chain restaurants than most states. Can we do better? There are hardworking people like my Gram out there. Let’s at least do better than Alabama.


Here’s a look at the full rankings.

  1. Delaware: 21.8%
  2. Indiana: 20.8%
  3. Wyoming: 20.8%
  4. Kentucky: 20.7%
  5. West Virginia: 20.6%
  6. Ohio: 20.6%
  7. New Hampshire: 20.6%
  8. South Carolina: 20.4%
  9. Wisconsin: 20.3%
  10. Pennsylvania: 20.3%
  11. Maine: 20.3%
  12. Michigan: 20.2%
  13. Missouri: 20.1%
  14. Rhode Island: 20.1%
  15. Montana: 20.1%
  16. Iowa: 20.0%
  17. Colorado: 19.9%
  18. Kansas: 19.9%
  19. Nebraska: 19.9%
  20. Maryland: 19.7%
  21. North Dakota: 19.7%
  22. North Carolina: 19.6%
  23. Idaho: 19.6%
  24. Alaska: 19.6%
  25. Tennessee: 19.5%
  26. Vermont: 19.5%
  27. Virginia: 19.5%
  28. Massachusetts: 19.4%
  29. South Dakota: 19.4%
  30. Oregon: 19.4%
  31. Alabama: 19.4%
  32. Arizona: 19.3%
  33. Connecticut: 19.3%
  34. Illinois: 19.3%
  35. Georgia: 19.3%
  36. Utah: 19.2%
  37. Oklahoma: 19.2%
  38. Minnesota: 19.2%
  39. Mississippi: 19.1%
  40. Arkansas: 19.0%
  41. New Jersey: 19.0%
  42. New Mexico: 18.9%
  43. Texas: 18.9%
  44. Louisiana: 18.8%
  45. New York: 18.7%
  46. Hawaii: 18.7%
  47. Nevada: 18.4%
  48. Florida: 18.3%
  49. Washington: 18.2%
  50. California: 17.5%

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Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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