Tipping: Breast size does matter
March 31, 2011
Americans leave behind an estimated $40 billion in tips every year, but promptness by the server may not be the only criteria determining the size of the gratuity. [Smart Money]
The popular notion has long been that diners tip based on the quality of service offered. However, field studies in actual restaurants, such as those conducted by Michael Lynn of Cornell, find that better service is only partially correlated with bigger tips. A step up on a 1-to-5 rating scale of customer satisfaction translates into just a small increase (say, from 15 to 16 or 17 percent of the check).
So, if not service, then what determines a tip? How about breast size?
A 2009 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that larger self-reported breast size among waitresses correlated with bigger tips. Similarly, a 2010 study in the International Journal of Hospitality Management found that waitresses’ use of makeup significantly increased their tips.
Female servers can also increase their tips by drawing a smiley face on the back of customers’ checks (male servers, it turns out, can’t achieve the same with this tactic).
Research also indicates that complimenting a diner’s choice of dishes can boost tips (compliments also go a long way in boosting tips at hair salons, too). Also effective: a touch on the customer’s arm, stooping down to table level, a flower in the hair, introducing oneself by name and giving diners extra candy at the end of a meal. One study found that tips increased by roughly 20 percent when a server gave diners two pieces of chocolate along with the check.