Tips on Increasing “Tips”

 

It’s too soon to know whether The Public Option, a new brewpub set to open in D.C. by early fall, will serve good beer, but it does promise patrons a less awkward experience than its competitors: Customers won’t have to fret over how much money to add to the bill, because waiters won’t accept tips. The Public Option may be part of a trend: Earlier this month, Manhattan’s Restaurant Riki joined a growing list of New York restaurants that don’t take tips. The Public Option’s founder says he hopes the no-tipping policy will encourage a better dynamic among waiters, kitchen staff and customers.

 

There’s a fairly long library of scholarship that has gone into this very subject. Defenders of tipping, traditionally, have argued that it gives waiters an incentive to provide good service. But over the years, research has shown that what customers actually reward often doesn’t have much to do with service. Here are a few things that actually elicit bigger tips.

 

Touching the customer

 

For a 1984 paper in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, April Crusco and Christopher Wetzel had waitresses at two Mississippi restaurants randomly divide their customers into three groups. One group of diners wouldn’t be touched; one group would be touched on the shoulder once for about a second and a half, as the waitress returned the change at the end of the meal; and one group would be touched on the palm of the hand twice for half a second each time. Crusco and Wetzel found that touching had a significant effect on tip size, and the double-hand touch was the most effective: Customers left an average tip of 12 percent when they weren’t touched, 14 percent when they were touched on the shoulder and 17 percent when touched twice on the palm of the hand.

 

Having blond hair

 

In a study of 432 waitresses, Lynn found that waitresses with blond hair received larger tips than waitresses with any other hair color.

 

Drawing a smiley face on the check—but only if you’re a woman

 

In 1995, psychologist Bruce Rind and marketing researcher Prashant Bordia recruited a waiter and a waitress to take part in an experiment at a Philadelphia restaurant. Rind and Bordia randomly assigned the servers to draw a smiley face on the check of about half the 89 groups that dined at the restaurant over the course of a three-day period. It turned out that the waitress raised her average tip size from 28 to 33 percent when she drew a happy face, but the opposite effect held for the waiter: Drawing a smiley face decreased his tip from 21 to 18 percent. Rind and Bordia hypothesized that customers thought the smiley face was cute when women did it but effeminate when men did.

 

Wearing an ornament in their hair

 

In 1980, JeriJayne Stillman and Wayne Hensley found that women received larger tips when they wore a flower in their hair and in 2012, Guguen and Jacob did a follow-up study looking at how different types of ornamentation affected tipping. They had waitresses at a restaurant in France—where tipping is unusual—wear a barrette decorated with a flower, a small bird, a sprig of black currant, or no barrette. Guguen and Jacob analyzed the tipping behaviors of 665 customers and found that men tipped 41.2 percent of the time when waitresses wore ornaments, compared to 30.9 percent when they didn’t. The effect was even stronger for female customers: Women tipped waitresses wearing barrettes 40.5 percent of the time, compared to 26.4 percent of the time if they didn’t. The type of ornament didn’t make a significant difference.

 

 

Michael Lynn, a researcher at Cornell’s School of Hospitality, had servers at two restaurants in Houston either crouch next to the table when they first took customers’ orders or remaining standing throughout the encounter. Lynn found that when the servers squatted next to the table, they increased tips by, on average, 20 to 25 percent. Lynn suggests squatting may facilitate eye contact and increase feelings of “congruence” between customer and server.

 

Wearing red

 

For a 2012 paper in the Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, Nicolas Guguen and Celine Jacob assigned 11 waitresses to wear black, white, green, yellow, blue or red shirts as they served over 700 customers in 5 seafood restaurants in France. Across the board, men left significantly larger tips for waitresses who wore red.

 

Back

What Clients Say About Patrice & Associates

  • Carly was very amazing!!!

    She worked and understood my situation, potential and needs.  She knew what I was looking for, what my options were, and she never offered fake leads or over or under-qualified positions.  Carly is a great asset to your company.  She is very polite, welcoming  and a professional individual.

    I once again thank her for her efforts and time to land me an opportunity which suits my skills and needs.   Thank you. Harshesh patel. Carly was very amazing!!!
  • I am grateful for Milton's help...

    I would like to give thanks to Milton Sallee, he definitely took the time make sure that I was ready for my interview. By just coaching me form start to end, and I believe the extra training he gave me was definitely the most helpful. He represents his client well.  I am grateful for everything that he has done and I can't wait till I start with with me new career. Thanks for your help, Anthony V. Branch II I am grateful for Milton's help...
  • Stacie is one of the best recruiters that I have ever worked with!

    She is very professional, resourceful, thorough, prompt, efficient, and engaged. She is full of so much passion and drive. She had my best interest at heart throughout our three month process (we were only engaged with one concept the entire time). I began the process with a wealth of knowledge and experience, but Stacie was still able to add tons of value to my profile and preparation throughout the entire process. Stacie keeps in contact with me on a regular basis, even during my training. She played an essential role in me joining a great organization. Stacie is a great asset, and I am grateful that our paths crossed. I give her a five star rating!   Sincerely, Joshua Towbridge Stacie is one of the best recruiters that I have ever worked with!
  • Jonathan Litt was amazing!

    He was there step by step. I never felt that I was alone in this process . I received constant feedback and updates. And within a few short weeks I had offers .  Patrice and Associates were instrumental in my job transition. Thank you, Rodney Powell Jonathan Litt was amazing!
  • Caleb was a absolutely a pleasure to work with!  

    Caleb reached out to me and was very professional throughout the entire process. He presented a great opportunity and offered guidance and support as needed to ensure a positive outcome. I would recommend him to a friend or colleague.   Thank you, Chris Feltz Caleb was a absolutely a pleasure to work with!