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Factors Influencing Tipping Behavior in a Restaurant
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by Cassie N. Jewell - Southern Adventist University
Ninety-seven patrons were observed in a restaurant in southeast Tennessee. Before dropping off the check, a waitress acting as a confederate was instructed to either administer a light touch to the shoulder of the patron or to refrain from any physical contact. In addition to age, race, gender, and alcohol consumption, the effects of interpersonal touch on tipping behavior were examined. A statistically significant finding was that young diners tipped an average of 6% more than middleaged diners. Also statistically significant, White diners tipped an average of 7% more than Black diners. There were no statistically significant differences in the tipping behavior of men and women, of patrons who drank and those who did not
drink alcohol, and of those who sat in either the non-smoking or smoking sections of the restaurant. Diners who received the interpersonal touch tipped an average of 2% more than diners who were not touched, but this finding was not of statistical significance. The results of this experiment suggest that age and race were the greatest predictors of tipping behavior.