Our cash paying customers are very very generous when it comes to gratuities. However, our credit card user rarely adds a tip. I am curious as to why, and then what would you suggest we might do to open that door a bit.

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We have credit cards with chips in them now here, which after reading all this I`m guessing you guys don`t in the states. That means though that nobody has to sign for a purchase with a credit card, they have a pin number just like a debit card. But with this our debit machines also have a tip feature, so after the customer hits `ok`to accept the purchase amount they are asked if they would like to add a tip to the purchase. I`m finding we have a about one third of our customers actually adding tips and the other two thirds aren`t, but alot of the people who don`t also ask `what is this silly tip thing, I just want to pay` (actually had a guy say that) and they get frustrated that paying is taking to long. Anyways I guess even with a tip feature when the customer is putting in their pin I find the majority of card users are not tipping, or if they are they are tipping about half of what the cash customers do.
Casey - your post got me thinking as I am considering several different options for my new store, and there are so many!
What if when asked to add a tip, a few boxes showed up that already had the tip amount put in ($0,$1,$2) or percentage of purchase (%0, %10, 15%, 18%). All they would have to do is push the button and it is added to their total. quick, easy, and someone else is helping them make a decision.

Another bigger question to ponder - should a tip jar even be placed at the cash register? I say keep it (if a jar is the route you go) or allow tips to be processed near the espresso machine where the barista and the customer can engage in conversation. If the customer is pleased with the service then they can make the call. People don't tip if they don't have any emotional reason to tip...which I never do when I'm standing in front of a POS or cash register....
Casey I think adding percentage lines is a great idea, guaranteed to increase tipping at least some what. I have also thought about about placement as far as the tip jars go, and i think old faithful(by the register that is) is the way to go. By the time they walk over to pick up there drink the money has all ready gone back in there purse or wallet, and the likelihood of tipping has greatly decreased. Ive seen places try to pull off the double jar, one buy the reg and one by the bar, and the bar jar is usually pretty sad and empty looking. That being said, you should try it out and see what happens. I mean worst case, you just move it back to where it was right.


Andrew Cash said:
Casey - your post got me thinking as I am considering several different options for my new store, and there are so many!
What if when asked to add a tip, a few boxes showed up that already had the tip amount put in ($0,$1,$2) or percentage of purchase (%0, %10, 15%, 18%). All they would have to do is push the button and it is added to their total. quick, easy, and someone else is helping them make a decision.

The percentage Idea I think is good, there are quite a few smaller restaurants (mostly sushi bars) that I go to here that give you a %10 option and I almost always use that, because yeah it's easier, and I'll admit to being lazy, ha. Also the Tip Jar placement I think is a big deal, ours is beside the till, which is almost always the meeting point of my hand and the customers hand when I'm giving them their change. One important thing to note though is that our cafe only has two staff on at one time, the Barista and the cook, though neither is set for the shift, so generally who ever takes the order at the till makes the drink so we have lots of time to get a pretty good conversation in with the customer. When we're busy (drink rush only) we will have one person on bar and one on till and things almost go backwards. So the customer gives the barista they're order and then takes their completed drink to the till to pay, as much as I don't like the way this sound it's cafateria style, But this way they've had near the full experience by the time they are handing over money and if there are any problems we can deal with them before having to fumble with the till. I think it makes resolving customer service issues easier.
Historically, people have tipped to recognise good service. In most coffee houses, there is no service as that word is traditionally understood. There is the purchase and sale of a coffee, and maybe a pastry or whatever, and that's it. A lot of people don't quite understand why they are expected to tip if there isn't a waiter or bartender in sight (with whom, as distinct from most situations involving a barista, one has meaningful direct communication with over a period of time). Part of the problem is that tipping for good service, by it's very nature, is personal, not a contribution to a pot for an entire staff because the owner wants to keep his labour costs down :)

I think that a lot of people who are paying cash feel pushed into tipping, and that people paying via credit card feel less pressure, given that when they pay they don't have to deal with a tip jar stuffed with dollar bills staring them in the face (get the message, customer?).

My question, in this thread, would be "What are you doing for the customer that would give the customer a reason to pay more than the price of what he/she is buying"? If you can't answer that question, really answer it, then there isn't any rational reason to expect a tip. There is a difference between a tip for good service and what sometimes looks like an attempt at a tax.

Just thinking to myself as well.  Why should/would a tip be expected?

I think it's part of a greed mindset that has at some point over the last while been implanted in to the service industries head. (I don't mean to imply that everyone is greedy) Some of my co workers get quite upset when they don't recieve a tip, and yet it's quite plain that they didn't do anything to deserve it. I've also noticed that the snottier almost rude servers get the most bitter when they don't recieve a tip. I personally see them as a bonus, I'm grateful for what I get, I don't feel that I deserve tips. To point out though our bar is quite personal. We don't put descriptors up on menu items as an effort to encourage people to ask questions and as a way to open dialogue between the Barista and the customer. This is geared more towards what Fred asked, I personally think that we in the cafe world on average do alot more to earn tips than say a person delivering pizza who would quite often be in the same wage bracket and yet alot lower level of service would be expected from them.

Peter Milne said:

Just thinking to myself as well.  Why should/would a tip be expected?

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