Apr 18, 2020 - Economy & Business

Some customers tip more generously as coronavirus slams service sector

Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Some restaurants and other businesses, primarily in the service sector, are seeing spikes in tips as the coronavirus pandemic stalls the U.S. economy.

Why it matters: The restaurant industry has been hit hard as mandated dining area closures have forced businesses to restructure operations. Many workers rely heavily on tips, so the uptick in discretionary gratuity can help make up the difference.

The state of play: Matthew Danna, co-founder and CEO of Boulevard Labs Inc., a software provider to salons and spas, told the Wall Street Journal, "Historically, the only time we’ve seen gratuity rates shift this much is during the week before Christmas, when clients are feeling extra generous and thankful to the professionals that help them look and feel their best all year long."

  • The average tip for a pizza pickup in the U.S. was $5.32 in the second week of April, a 40% increase in what pizzerias saw in late February.
  • Instacart, a delivery service, said its drivers received tips in mid-March that were 30% higher on average than four weeks prior.

Go deeper: States order bars and restaurants to close due to coronavirus

Go deeper

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).

Iowa Rep. Steve King defeated in GOP primary

Rep. Steve King. Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images

State Sen. Randy Feenstra defeated incumbent Rep. Steve King in Tuesday's Republican primary for Iowa's 4th congressional district, according to the Cook Political Report.

Why it matters: King's history of racist remarks has made him one of the most controversial politicians in the country and a pariah within the Republican Party.

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day — prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Protesters were still out en masse even as curfews set in in New York City and Washington, D.C. Large crowds kneeled at Arizona's state capitol nearly an hour before the statewide 8 p.m. curfew, and a peaceful march dispersed in Chicago ahead of the city's 9 p.m. curfew.