Americans spend over $40 billion in tips every year, but are we getting better service for it? Not necessarily, according to this article at Smart Money:
What's more, our tips don't actually vary that much with the level of service we've received. While people claim in surveys that they tip almost exclusively based on the level of service, field studies in actual restaurants, such as those conducted by Michael Lynn of Cornell, find that better service is only partially correlated with bigger tips. A step up on a 1-to-5 rating scale of customer satisfaction translates into just a small increase (say, from 15 to 16 or 17 percent of the check).
So, what's the secret of getting bigger tips?
A 2009 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that larger self-reported breast size among waitresses correlated with bigger tips. Similarly, a 2010 study in the International Journal of Hospitality Management found that waitresses' use of makeup significantly increased their tips. Female servers can also increase their tips by drawing a smiley face on the back of customers' checks (male servers, it turns out, can't achieve the same with this tactic).
Do you give a tip regardless of the level of service? Do you feel guilty for not tipping due to poor service? Link