been shown to help waitresses, but not waiters, to get better tips. Unsurprisingly, the sort of people who tip badly also want to have a sense of control over the person bringing them food. I wish Id know some of this research back when I was a waitress. Pre-emptive Thanks : Before getting paid. Theyve found that if waitresses wear red t-shirts, it makes no difference to the tips female customers give, but that men give more. This research was conducted by Bibb Latane, the same psychologist who popularised the bystander effect, the idea (sometimes disputed since) that the more witnesses there are to an event such as someone being attacked in the street, the less likely anyone is to step forward. Including a card with a joke on it alongside the bill can make a difference though. Touch Them : Gently, on the arm. Of course no study has yet dared to try all these strategies at once to establish whether the effect of a 2 increase here and a 4 increase there is additive.
The difficulty is that although these studies did have control groups and had the advantage of being carried out in real restaurants rather than in a lab, meaning the ecological validity was high, in most it wasnt possible to blind the waiters to the condition. Tell Them : The percentages (if they're bad tippers). In more recent years some more obscure tactics have been tried. Michael Lynn, a professor of consumer behaviour who has done a huge amount of work in this area essays school pride does point out that smiley faces might not seem appropriate for fine dining. But at the classier Smugglers Inn not far away, groups were just as generous as the singles and couples.