A new study has found that restaurant customers do not prefer automatic or mandatory tips, even if they received good service.
Researchers from Washington State University have published a study in the Journal of Services Marketing that discovered such findings.
“We thought if service quality was high, people wouldn’t care if an automatic service charge was added to their bill,” said Jeff Joireman, the study’s co-author and professor; chair of the Department of Marketing and International Business at the Carson College of Business.
It turns out that whether customers had a good or bad experience, they reacted negatively when their bill came with a mandatory tip. It prevents them “from leaving the gratuity themselves,” said a press release.
More than this, people who disliked mandatory tipping the most had the “best dining experiences.”
“People think non-voluntary tipping systems are unpopular because customers can’t punish servers for poor quality service,” Joireman said. However, when the service rated high, they found out that “non-voluntary tipping” made customers just as frustrated. This is primarily due to the fact that customers “couldn’t reward their servers.”
A Sense of Power
Restaurant customers frown on automatic gratuities | WSU Insider | Washington State University https://t.co/wgtMfuWCJ5
— evilcarlos (@evilcarlos) August 11, 2020
According to Ismail Karabas, the lead author of the research and assistant professor of marketing at Murray State University, customers dislike automatic tips because they feel like they no longer have the power.
“Being able to reward the server makes customers feel good,” Karabas said in a statement. “That’s part of the restaurant experience.”
“High-quality service does not compensate for the negative customer response to a non-voluntary tipping system,” Karabas said. “Managers may think ‘We’re fine as long as we provide good service,’ but we found that’s just not true.”
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