Research: “Restaurant Tipping and Service Quality: A Tenuous Relationship” (Feb.2001)

summary:

The connection between service quality and tip sizes is tenuous at best, as shown by an analysis of 14 studies that examined the relationship between service and tips. This meta-analysis of the studies sought to statistically combine 24 correlations between tipping and service. While the studies taken together found that, indeed, tips increased with the perceived quality of service, the relationship was weak enough to raise doubts about the use of tips to motivate servers, measure server performance, or identify dissatisfied customers.

excerpt:

“This suggests that while tips are a reward for service, they are not a good way to motivate servers, measure server performance, or identify dissatisfied customers. Restaurant managers need to find and use other means of accomplishing those tasks”

link: “Restaurant Tipping and Service Quality: A Tenuous Relationship” by Michael Lynn (Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, Feb.2001) [free registration required]

WaiterBell Angle: This study highlights some of the difficulties for restaurants in getting accurate customer feedback on their waitstaff and the quality of table service. If restaurants are depending on their customers for evaluating server performance, this study shows that taking a reactive stance may be unproductive. The WaiterBell system is a proactive way for restaurant owners to improve customer satisfaction in their restaurants.

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