Polls / October 7, 2011

Do you tip more for good service when it is sunny outside?

More than half – or 57% – of respondents to the latest eZonomics online poll say they tip more for good service when it is sunny outside.

Come rain or shine
We sit at an outdoor table, order some food, enjoy the sun – and we are happy. Does this mean we leave more of a tip as a reward for good service? Academic research from the United States analysed almost 12,000 receipts from a restaurant from a time period spanning two years. It mapped the tips figures against weather information and found sunny days did not significantly affect the amount left as a tip. Authors Sean Flynn and Adam Greenberg say their findings are different to a small number of studies that had already been done. But their sample size was by far the largest and they used actual rather than imagined scenarios.

But Friday’s different
Flynn and Greenberg found, however, that there were higher tip rates on Wednesdays and Fridays. Exactly why was not clear. It might be the type of person who dines on a Wednesday and Friday. The authors write that a “happy hour” on Fridays that offered free food may also play a role, as might the amount of alcohol consumed (with more alcohol typically linked with higher tips).

Service with a smile
Small actions by waiting staff have been shown to increase tipping. Leaving a mint with the bill is one of the small actions, perhaps invoking feelings of reciprocity. Behavioural economics blog Farnham Street  also writes that waiting staff who introduce themselves by name or who smile or squat at the table when they first visit might also see a boost.

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eZonomics team
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