Americans spend more than $40 billion on restaurant tips each year. So what tactics lead to bigger tips?
Sadly, it’s not just good service. Big breasts and makeup, a 2009 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found, lead to big tips. Other tactics include touching the customer’s arm, wearing a flower in one’s hair or giving diners a piece of chocolate with their bill. In another study, waitresses (it didn’t work with men) got more tips if they drew a smiley face on the back of the customer’s bill.
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But perhaps it’s not only about cheeky tactics, because customers also appreciate sincerity. John Seiter and Harry Weger found that one of the waiting staff that took part in their study received smaller tips each time she complimented a customer, and concluded that she didn’t get tipped was because she didn’t come across as genuine.
Sometimes big tips come from big hearts. Saunders and Lynn found that people who said it was important to help those in need tipped more. Social norms were also an important factor- participants who reported their family or friends as tipping were also more likely to do so themselves, especially when in company of other people.
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