Tip requests surge amid rising costs
As businesses deal with rising costs, many have started asking for tips.
Whether getting a bite to eat or a grab-and-go coffee, you’ve probably encountered the question on a payment screen: “Add a tip?”
“What percentage of people actually say, ‘Yes, I’m going to tip?'” 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS asked the manager of local drink shop Bambu. “I think probably 50%,” Lien Vu replied.
Vu, Bambu’s manager, says the workers don’t want it to be uncomfortable for customers.
“When I’m up front, I will always look away because I don’t want them to feel awkward I’m not tipping you or something,” she said.
But for Bambu, it’s a way to keep menu prices lower. Instead of hiking up the cost of a drink, they give the customers the option to pay a little more for a job well done.
“Hopefully the tip will help us to find more people to work for us,” Vu added, noting it’s also a bit of an added incentive.
The tipping landscape has changed a lot over the last few years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some restaurants in the metro opted to replace traditional tipping with a service charge that ranged anywhere from 3% to more than 20% sometimes.
“I don’t like that,” Tasha, a customer, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.
“I want to be able to actually express if their service is good or not,” she added.
Since then, some local restaurants have reversed course, and the National Restaurant Association updated its stance in May, urging policymakers to stick with the tipping system and saying it gives employees “greater earning potential” and owners more flexibility.
Customer Kassandra told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that she normally tips 20%.
As customers are faced with more questions about when and where to tip, some are coming up with their own criteria.
“If I’m sitting down there for at least an hour, I feel it’s necessary to tip,” Kassandra said.
For businesses and workers, it all adds up.
“I love it because it’s a little bonus for me for the end of the day,” Vu said.