Should Tip Jars Be in Buffet Breakfast Areas of Hotel Properties?

While I was getting some food at a breakfast buffet — which is included in the room rate of the Sleep Inn Beaver – Beckley hotel property in West Virginia — I noticed something that was more blatant that using a suggestion box as a tip box at breakfast, in my opinion…

Should Tip Jars Be in Buffet Breakfast Areas of Hotel Properties?

Sleep Inn Beaver - Beckley

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

…and that was an actual tip jar — with a note attached to the glass storage jar with a clamp lid designating it as such, along with a thank you.

Sleep Inn Beaver - Beckley

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

The tip jar is shown in the photograph above — along with the door to the storage room on the left in which the attendant spent most of her time hidden from view.

“The attendants at breakfasts where guests serve themselves do set up the area, replenish the food and beverages, clean up the tables, and put everything away when breakfast time is over”, I wrote in this article called Should Breakfast Attendants at Hotels Receive Tips and Gratuities From Guests? on Saturday, February 16, 2019. “Their wages are probably minimum wage — or if more, not much more — and a gratuity or gift card would likely brighten their day…

“…but does that start a slippery slope towards an undesirable precedent — or should it be more commonplace?”

Furthermore, if a gratuity is given, should the guest who had a single pastry tip as much as the guest who helped himself or herself to several hearty portions of breakfast, with waffles, yogurt, eggs, juice, toast, and oatmeal?

Also, should the tip be based on what is offered for breakfast?

Sleep Inn Beaver - Beckley

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.

The spread was not spartan; but it was not exactly impressive, either. The photograph shown above reveals the remainder of the breakfast area.


I ask again: does tipping attendants in the breakfast area of a hotel or resort property start a slippery slope towards an undesirable precedent — or should it become more commonplace?

I understand the argument that service personnel — mainly in the United States — depend on gratuities due to low and even sub-standard compensation paid to them by their employers; and that apparently includes employees of hotel and resort properties. I fully agree that they do deserve to earn a living and be compensated for their work — but as with servers in restaurants, is that the responsibility of the customer?

In a version of this article which I accidentally posted earlier, readers already commented on this topic. For example, DaninMCI asked, “Can’t they just add this to the resort or destination fee”; while Christian opined that “I am more pro-tipping than most people but I find this to be pretty crass and tasteless.”

One other comment is “TBH, posting a comment without first reading the article is a long-standing internet tradition”, wrote colleen. “Don’t believe me? Just check out twitter.”

Gratuities and tips have long been controversial with regards to travel and dining — to the point of contentiousness from all sides of the issue, as evidenced by the following articles which I wrote for The Gate over the years…

Photograph ©2019 by Brian Cohen.


Please note that I receive compensation for affiliate links posted at The Gate effective as of Sunday, January 1, 2017. You are not required to use these affiliate links; but if you do use them, your support of The Gate is greatly appreciated — and using affiliate links will not cost you any extra time or money.

3 thoughts on “Should Tip Jars Be in Buffet Breakfast Areas of Hotel Properties?”

  1. Daniel says:

    The attendant did absolutely nothing to provide me any type of service, therefore no tip. Putting out and refreshing food and drink, cleaning tables, etc. is service to/for the hotel, for which the hotel is paying a wage.

  2. Barry Graham says:

    I leave a tip, just like I do for nights I make a green choice. Why should the staff be deprived of tips because of cost saving by the hotel?

  3. Carol says:

    I treat all “on the counter” tip jars as totally optional. I don’t feel obligated to leave a tip, but often times do. I kind of treat it as a charity…would rather give a buck or two to the folks actually working, that don’t make a lot of money than most other charities out there that fritter the money away on administrative expenses. Just my two cents.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.