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MARSHALL, S. J. (2005). Increase Tips: Give Me Money. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 8. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved September 28, 2023 .

Increase Tips: Give Me Money

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (cronk@missouriwestern.edu)
This paper summarizes research on the idea of increasing tips with the use of touching and complimenting. The research examined effects of touching and complimenting patrons in a restaurant. Approximately 120 couples, a man and a woman, were observed for their tipping behaviors. Sixty couples were touched and complimented by the server. The other 60 couples served as the control group, without touching and complimenting. Results indicated that there was not an effect on tipping behavior with touching and complimenting.

The world is infatuated with money; everyone has it or they are trying to get it. The thought of increasing wages or income crosses everyone’s mind at some point in their life. Money seems to make the world go round. Those who have it appear to be happier and people who do not have sufficient funds try to obtain more money. What could be done to increase tips? DeBono and Krim (1997) conducted a study with the use of compliments. The study looked at how low and high self-monitoring women evaluated the product quality of perfume. The experimenter complimented some of the women when they put on the perfume, and the other participants received no feedback. They found that high self-monitors evaluated the product based on the image it presented, and low self-monitors based their opinions on the quality of the product. Both of them, when making their evaluations of the perfume, were influenced by the compliments the experimenter made. Other research has been done with the use of touch (Hubbard et al., 1997). The research conducted in this study looked at how a shoulder touch at the end of meal would affect the servers tips. The research was also interested in cross-gender and same-gender dyads. The research shows that the patrons who were touched on the shoulder left a bigger tip regardless of gender type. It also concluded that servers in a bar setting received a larger tip from the opposite gender. Ratcliffe (1993) conducted a similar experiment but added a compliment with the touch. The experimenter had four categories; touch, compliment, no touch or compliment, and compliment and touch. The results from this study show that the server’s tips doubled with the use of compliment and touch. Research in this area is important because there are a lot of servers in the world. If there is an easier way to generate more money in the work environment than why not look into the research and conduct an experiment. The purpose of this study is to see if tipping will increase with the use of touch and compliment to the patrons in the restaurant.


Approximately one hundred twenty couples, 60 males and 60 females, were observed in a small community restaurant. Most of the patrons ranged from 30 to 60 years old. The ethnic composition consisted primarily of people who were of Caucasian descent.

The restaurant contained 22 tables to serve the customers. The dining area was open, allowing the server to see all of their customers. There were no alcoholic beverages served in the restaurant. The totals from all of the bills and the tip amounts were recorded on two pieces of notebook paper.

Data was collected between the hours of 4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., three days a week. The servers in the restaurant take turns, serving every other table. The experimenter used the first ten couples, from each night, for the experiment. The first two weeks data was collected without touching or complimenting the female customer, serving as the control group. After that data was collected, collect data for another two weeks with touching and complimenting the female customer, this served as the experimental group. The touch consisted of one hand on top of the females shoulder for two to four seconds. The compliment was casual such as, “That’s a pretty dress/blouse.” Both the touch and the compliment were applied simultaneously when the experimenter first approached the couple. Data was only collected by married or dating couples.

An independent samples t-test was calculated comparing the mean score of subjects before the independent variable to the mean score of subjects without touching and complimenting. No significant difference was found (t(118) = .702, p> .05). The mean of the touch and compliment people (m = 2.21, sd = .79) was not significantly different from the mean of the non touch and compliment people (m = 2.25, sd = .72).

In this experiment there were no significant differences between the treatment group, touching and complimenting, and the control group, without touching and complimenting. Previous research in this area indicated that touching and complimenting had an effect on the tipping amount, from this information one could assume that they would find the same results. For future research the experiment could be carried out in different atmospheres. There are a lot of people that live off of tips, such as a taxi cab driver. There are some restrictions to think about, some people do not like to be touched. On the other hand it could help the person being tipped and provide the patrons with a kind gesture.

DeBono, K. G., & Krim, S. (1997). Compliments and perceptions of product quality: An individual difference perspective. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 27, 1359-1366.Hubbard, A. S. E., Tsuji, A. A., Williams, C., & Seatriz, V. Jr. (2003). Effects of touch on gratuities received in same-gender and cross-gender dyads. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 23, 2427-2438.Ratcliffe, A. (1993). Effects of touch and compliment on restaurant tipping: How much is enough? Paper presented at the meeting of the Arkansas Symposium for Psychology Students, Arkadelphia, AR.

Submitted 12/8/2005 12:44:22 PM
Last Edited 12/8/2005 12:49:24 PM
Converted to New Site 03/09/2009

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