"Poor tips, Lynn says, may contribute to black diners getting poorer service and to companies' reluctance to open restaurants in predominantly black communities, not to mention angering servers and customers alike. And it fuels yet another debate about tipping, always a hot-button topic for travelers.
Lynn doesn't discount the role of anti-black bias in any of these problems. But he mainly sees this cycle at work:
Expecting skimpy gratuities, waiters resist serving African Americans, or they provide poorer service, which discourages blacks from patronizing table-service restaurants. Low tips also make it hard for restaurants in black neighborhoods to attract and retain staff, causing turnover and decreasing profits.
Gerry Fernandez, president of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance, a nonprofit group in Providence, R.I., that promotes diversity, finds merit in Lynn's findings.
Some African Americans may be "extremely sensitive" about service glitches, he said, such as getting their food late, after other tables are served, or being seated in the back. Such actions, whatever their intent, may be perceived as racial slights.
"Remember the back of the bus?" he said.
In addition, poor service motivated by bigotry may occur "way more than anybody wants to admit," Fernandez said."
link: "Study shows blacks tip less — but they may have good reason" by Jane Engle (Los Angeles Times, Mar.26, 2006)
link: "Race Differences in Tipping: Questions and Answers for the Restaurant Industry" by Michael Lynn, Ph.D. (study cited in the article ) / news release about the study
excerpt from news release:
"Fernandez notes particularly that restaurants need to examine service issues from a minority perspective. He stated: “whether you agree with the research or not, black customers are not always receiving the service they deserve, therefore any effort focused on improving customer service should be supported by the hospitality industry.”
WaiterBell Angle: The WaiterBell system empowers customers to discreetly, but clearly, signal for assistance. The WaiterBell system prevents any kind of misunderstanding about a customer's need for table service and ensures quality responsive service for all diners. This can help a restaurant franchise prevent any questionable incidents of poor service.