4 New Trends in Restaurant Tipping

One of the most influential restaurateurs in America, Danny Meyer, CEO of the Union Hospitality Group, thinks tipping could soon be a thing of the past, while some restaurants are using new technology to encourage their diners to chip in an extra buck.

Here are four new tipping trends changing the way diners show their appreciation to service staff.

No tip policy

Rather than having diners calculate and split tips once they receive their bills, some restaurants are instead eliminating tips and increasing employees’ wages. While this makes it easier from a customer service perspective, eliminating tipping necessitates a price hike to support higher salaries. Whether or not diners will be receptive to higher menu prices or a standard service charge in place of tipping remains to be seen.

Tips included in the bill total

Rather than prompting customers to calculate a tip on their own, some restaurants include tips in the final bill for takeout, delivery and dine-in orders. For sit-down meals, restaurants might include a tip for parties of six or more to make it easier on larger groups. Another trend at upscale restaurants in major U.S. cities is ticketed restaurant reservations. For a set fee (including tax and tip), diners receive tickets for a specific date and time, rather than an electronic reservation. On the delivery side, tips might be included once the customer hits a certain dollar amount or number of items in the order, as part of the delivery fee.

Tipping cash on deliveries

When diners order delivery online, they have the option to pay either with their credit card during the online checkout process or in cash when the food arrives. Some diners, however, decide to pay for the total with their credit card, but they wait to pay the tip to the delivery driver in cash. Some diners do this because they don’t want to lose the incentivizing power of tipping. Others do so as a service to the drivers, who often prefer cash tips.

Prompted tipping at the POS

Many counter service restaurants have adopted POS software that integrates with a tablet to accept payment by credit and debit cards in a quick, user-friendly way. The upside for service staff is that instead of printing out a receipt that diners may quickly sign and hand back without much thought, the new interface for some POS software prompts diners to tip. And it makes selecting a tip amount very easy. Buttons for 15%, 20%, 25% and “Custom Tip Amount” enable diners to tip with the tap of a finger.

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