What makes you tip more at restaurants?
Chances are, when you go out to eat, you’ve got it in your mind just what you’re going to tip and why you’re going to do it.
Most diners, especially if they’re old and crotchety, are thinking: this server could bring out the goddamn Mona Lisa on a plate but if I have to wait ten extra minutes, they’ll be lucky to get five per cent.
As it turns out, maybe that’s not it at all. According to a couple recent studies, we tip because of flirting, smiley faces printed on cheques and breasts, breasts, breasts. Uh, not necessarily in that order.
Yes, tipping may be no science. In spite of social norms suggesting 15 per cent is the baseline, there are no written rules for gratuities, unless we’re talking this new North American trend of restaurants including a mandatory tip on bills – which, for anyone outside the service industry, is a little insulting.
But perhaps why we tip, the behaviours and patterns behind the idea, can be broken down and measured to a degree. That’s what a few researchers have done, and the notion that tipping only rewards good, prompt service may be hogwash.
By the survey of Cornell research Michael Lynn, people claiming they tip because of punctual service doesn’t hold much water. According to his real restaurant findings, the best, most efficient service only leads to the slightest of tip increases – a one or two per cent jump above 15 per cent in most cases.
What does make tips, which account for some $40 billion annually in the U.S., rise? Boobs, according to a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior. The journal found bigger tips directly correlated with larger self-reported breast size (wasn’t this the idea behind a Seinfeld episode?) and another survey, published in the International Journal of Hospitality Management, found a similar relationship between tips and makeup use.
Further, tips have been shown to rise up to the 20 per cent threshold when servers draw smiley faces on cheques, touch customers’ arms, stoop down to table level when taking orders, introduce themselves by name, compliment meal choices and give extra candies alongside the bill.
As SmartMoney.com puts it, “a little more flirting goes a lot further than a little faster refill on your coffee.”
When you really think about it, what makes you tip more? Be honest now: this is the Internet, it’s anonymous!
By Jason Buckland, MSN Money
*Follow Jason on Twitter here.
Posted by: Chip | Mar 31, 2021 6:04:04 PM
Hey Buckland... ya might want to use less profanity in your writings. This is about the 3rd-4th time you've used the word God in an inappropriate manner. How about a few equal opportunity Allah-be-damned, Mohammed-screw-yourself or other Muslim references too.
Posted by: Dan | Apr 1, 2021 1:40:12 AM
You're an idiot Chip.
Posted by: T Sadorsky | Apr 1, 2021 3:33:51 AM
Although I agree with what I read as I am a Chef and I see it first hand. The problem is that, the reality is the truths the studies talk about are ruining the indusrty. I can guarantee that when people go out for a meal they have noticed that service model is no where what it used to be. The problem is quantity (boobs, flirting, flaunting) is substituted for Quality (acuracy in order taking, table touches, proper clearing of dishes, properly informing clients of specials, seamless bill presentation, and the list goes on).
The real trajedy is the servers demonstrating terrible service models are making good money. So horny male customers if you want to be under the fecade that your server wants to take you home, spend your money at a strip joint instead of giving to a cleavage clad wanabe.
Posted by: Tanner | Apr 1, 2021 5:38:13 AM
I have recently moved to Japan and they have by far the best service of any country I have visited. They do no accept tips here. I have never encountered anyone being rude, everyone is very polite and smiles they bow say thank you numerous times. I think when I go back to Canada I will stop tipping people, they get paid an hourly wage, I always felt guilty if I didn't tip but after the seeing the service industry here I will no longer feel guilty I don't get tips at my work, why should anyone else.
Posted by: Michael | Apr 1, 2021 7:52:44 AM
If you tip cause of boobies, think about this for a second.
Will you actually see her rack?
Will she sleep with you?
As she lies with her boyfriend every night (after sex), while you sleep alone every night (after masterbation), does she think about you or even care.
When you tip they say "thank you" to your face, then say "come again loser" as you walk out the door. Women are cruel, evil beasts. When you look at them with the googly eye they laugh and make fun of how pathetic you are, and how they can make you there puppy or lap dog.
She may have breasts, but your the only boob in the room.
Posted by: Schwatz | Apr 1, 2021 8:02:23 AM
@Tanner - You don't get tips at work and your wage probably reflects that. Servers make less than minimum wage, without tips the occupation is simply not viable. Do the Japanese servers make 20% less than a McDonald's employee? If everyone acted like you intend to, there would be few willing to bring the food out, and those that did, you probably wouldn't want to serve you. And if it's just you who refuses to tip, I would advise against eating at the same place twice. Surprisingly, people resent working for next to nothing. Just buy a Delissio and save everyone the hassle of dealing with you. As a bonus, you'll know what's actually in (or not in) your food.
Posted by: Scott | Apr 1, 2021 8:48:48 AM
@Schwatz - I love when people make the arguement that servers get paid less than minimum wage. They can be, but in 90% of restaurants, they're not. And if you factor in tips thier hourly earnings are ludacris, so a couple people watching thier spending isn't going to hurt.
And you can't blame someone for only wanting to pay the price listed on the menu. That is the price the business is willing to sell it at, if you want to throw more money away that's an individual choice, but personally I think I'll keep my hard earned money.
Posted by: gumby | Apr 1, 2021 8:58:37 AM
Hey Chip leave religion out of it Buck is just being expressive!!!!! as far as the after supper tip, I think waiters and waitresses alike pretty much expect the tip regardless of the service. The way times are presently I tip less and keep the extra for paying more important things as the cost of living continues to rise. Oh did he say Muslim!!! Allah damn it
Posted by: Aaron | Apr 1, 2021 10:12:02 AM
Ok, I am a server in Canada, and I'm a guy. I do make a wage, 9.25 an hour. I work at a more upscale restaurant. People who come in and dont tip really screw us. Its not like you walk into my restaurant and get bad service. Most times if there is a mistake, and it is brought to my attention,i will make a bigger tip than just regular service because i am so good at attending to your needs.
If you go into a restaurant and get bad service don't just not tip. Ask to see a manager let them know that your experience sucked and get something done about it. The thing i see in my profession that makes me the angriest are the people who walk in, in a bad mood and poick things apart just so they dont have to tip and can bring someone down to their level of misery.
If you have never held a service job you have NO idea what we can go through on a night. You really want to judge wether you should be leaving a tip? Go get a service industry job for a week and walk a mile in our shoes.
Posted by: New Divide | Apr 1, 2021 10:18:54 AM
I'll have you know that I work in the service industry! I do not wear open tops as I work in a high end hotel. I do not make $12 plus tips. I make $8 plus tips. I dont make that much money from people. either they tip or they don't. That's their choice. I'm professional, curtious and pleasnat around my customers. I'm nice and chat with them a bit. I dont flirt, I talk about the weather with them(as I live in the mountains and theyre heli-skiers) and tell them to enjoy their stay and check out the local sights. I work hard for those tips. $8/hr does F**k all these days when the price of everything is so high!! You dont want to tip us, fine just remember we don't have to be nice either! The girls that show their boobs work in bars and strip clubs not high end resorts!!!!!!
Posted by: Pete | Apr 1, 2021 10:29:48 AM
Wow. I cant believe at how UNAPPRECIATIVE some people are. First off been in the service industry for a very long time, 20 yrs.
It is true servers mmake less than the minimum wage, and that tips are essential to their livelyhood.
Scott, Schwatz and Tanner, as individuals, you two suck the big bag. I wouldnt want to be one of your friends and go out to dinner, Id be universally embarassed to be around you.
Im actually totally disgusted by your point of view. Tell you what, walk a mile in our shoes, and then lets talk. If ANYONE wants service to improve, wages have got to show this. I have seen my wages not budge for 10 yrs now. In fact my salary hasnt stopped to drop, at all, for the last 10. Oh by the way Scott and Tanner, we get taxed on our tips based on a percentage of sales. So when you dont tip, not only DONT I make ANY money from you, But I actually have to PAY to serve YOU.
Did you know that? And mr Smart guys, In Japan, they dont make MINUMUM wage to serve you, their salaries are INCORPORATED in your BILL. Are you two just DUMB???? Its customers like you that have totally destroyed the food service Industry. I for one dont go eat out at all....and why??
Dumb waitresses, way too young servers, inexperience, or part time staffers who couldnt care less...
I TOTALLY agree with T.Sadorskys comments...there is a HUGE problem right now in the food service Industry...wow I could continue on this for at least 10 more paragraphs, but hey Scott, Schwatz and Tanner have all the answers...who am I to question such genius. Dont tip, leave NADA. At the same time, give your server the finger, hey he is after all making 8$ an hour screw him...
Which is why experienced servers are ALL leaving the Industry.
Posted by: Trixie | Apr 1, 2021 10:34:12 AM
This is an interesting topic that has come up more than once on this blog.
Interestingly enough, my husband and I had a big argument just last weekend after leaving a restaurant. We had excellent service, the food was great and we both loved the atmosphere and surroundings as well. My husband thinks like Scott. I did agree with him, that the money spent was very hard-earned money and it wasn't his place to supply the "wage" that the employer didn't supply. However, I also felt bad because our waitress ended up leaving our table with tears in her eyes and both my husband and I agreed she did a great job. So, to end our argument at home, we agreed to tip from 12-13% instead of 10. (Yes, I know that is still not alot.) However, our family income is not high, by any means, so a compromise must be made.
To all waiters and waitresses out there, try not to judge either how much the family makes sitting at your table. You could be terribly wrong.
Posted by: Pete | Apr 1, 2021 10:42:20 AM
Actually your all right, lets not tip anymore. Good idea!!!
But why only servers...why always pick on them??? since they make about 28k a year, lets pick on other pathetic workers like barbers/hairdressers, delivery people, kid that cuts grass, newspaper delivery...come on, we can think of more ways to be crap human beings.
Oh yes, the grocery kid that wraps your food, dont leave that 50cents, the gas station employee that checks your fluids, and fills your gas. Save a dollar there, cause he is surely to blame with Gas prices. Cause in the same logic, it is those nasty minumum wage earners that are killing your wallet. Its their faults you go to restaurants when you really cant afford it. Have you all read what you all wrote???? If your all so tight for cash that you must sabe a few dollars here and there on tips, its BECAUSE your living ABOVE your means.
Us evil servers, that hey some have mortgages (oops, servers arent allowed to own anything, we are after all slaves), car payments (oops, use public transit you slaves), oh, guess I gotta give up my family, I dont have the right since according to you all, I am not allowed to make a decent living, so cant have kids or a home. Hey maybe the restaurant could give me a small corner in the stock room, come and get me when I gotta serve Schwatz, His highness. As we all know, I make ludacriss earnings. Its not an actuall 10 yr old car I have, thats my imagination. I pull 12 hr days, sometimes 3 in a row, but hey...what a lifestyle. How much was McD's paying again, 12$ an hour for experienced staff, its starting to sound pretty good at this point. Then again I could always move to Japan. I here its cheap to eat in restaurants there.
Posted by: Norm | Apr 1, 2021 11:04:39 AM
@Trixie: You should factor in the tip amount when you're deciding on which restaurant to visit. If you can't afford at least a somewhat reasonable tip, you should probably dine elsewhere.
I usually tip 20%, unless the service is really, REALLY bad... and I will raise this amount if the meal is really cheap (ie: if my wife and I go somewhere cheap and don't order a drink, the bill will sometimes only be $25 or so, but a $5 tip just doesn't seem like enough).
Posted by: easy peazy | Apr 1, 2021 11:13:22 AM
umm, just tip cause it makes everybody feel good? debate ended.
Posted by: Android66 | Apr 1, 2021 11:25:01 AM
I am a male and I tip out of pity. The waitress that presents as a poor mother with children at home is more likely to receive my sympathy and guilt tip. Reality is that restaurant meals are reasonably priced, and the low cost is due to low labour cost of the waitress. So, I supplement the cost of the meal with a tip, and it is based mostly on the total dining experience. In a way, I get to partially price my meal according to perceived value received. It's a good system, much better than the compulsory 15% added to your bill in Europe.
Posted by: Huh? | Apr 1, 2021 11:38:29 AM
@Aston. The thing is there are PLENTY of people working in other service industries that get NO tips and none are expected. Tips are just a subsidy for the restaurant business. Nothing more. if there was no tipping owners would have to pay waiters more and that would be passed on to customers and less people would eat at restaurants so as I say, they are nothing more than a subsidy. A subsidy we have the choice to pay or not to pay. On top of that waiters are extremely well paid in good restaurants, due to the tips, and often make much more than the chefs in the kitchen which is a joke yet I hear of many waiters griping if they have to split tips with the kitchen staff. I give decent tips but I say do away with them and let the restaurant industry stand on it's own feet and see how it makes out without this silly subsidy which people are basically guilted into paying.
Posted by: SeasonedWaitress | Apr 1, 2021 11:49:05 AM
I'm offend about your idea of strip clubs. We don't "Show our boobs" for tips, why would the servers have to be scandaly-clas. girls getting naked on main stage, beautiful go-go dancers through out the room, and as a server or bartender, we were corsets and black skirts,long enough to cover our butt, and the corset show just a hint of clevage. In our club we have the motto "more is less".
As for the service; we train every new girl, walk her threw everything, make sure they know the menu, the food and drink specials, introduce her self to the patrons. We work hard, our management has done everything to help us provide the best service we can, by using food pagers, to radio contact with doorman and management to get help when we need it. I've gone to "high-end" restaurants and gotten bad service because they didnt know the daily special, what drinks they were able to make, specificly told our waiter that there was a food allergy to the point that it considered deadly, the waiter still brough out their food with the allergent on it, than when we remind her, all she did was return to the kitchen and remove said food, managment was no where to be found.
Posted by: DON | Apr 1, 2021 11:54:01 AM
the last time i was in a local small bar i had three drinks, tipped the female bartender $5,next time at the bar she saw me and walked right past without even a hi. What would motivate me to tip decently again for that?
Posted by: R Ditloff | Apr 1, 2021 12:41:38 PM
Nothing ticks me more than a tip, of any size, that is automatically added to my bill. What an insult! I have been on this planet long enough to know that tips are voluntary, based only on an individuals own concept of "service". To have anyone tell me how much you should leave as a tip, because "wages are low" or the like, leads me to ask businesses," So you want me to put money in your business with my patronage, and pay your staff"? If businesses actually payed their staff proper wages, maybe then we would see proper service. Also, perhaps the" not so good " service employees would get the hint quicker to look for another line of work.