How To Get More Tips As a Server Using Proven Psychology

Want to Make More Money Waiting Tables? Learn how to get more tips as a server using proven psychology.

It’s universally known that waiters and waitresses get the majority of their compensation through tips. These factors are statistically more likely to determine the server’s tip percentage. 

Take note of these simple ways to earn more tips when serving your customers.

Serve More Small Groups to Get Bigger Tips

serve smaller groups is a great way to learn how to get more tips as a server using proven psychology.
Serve smaller groups and don’t forget to smile

A study from 1975 done by psychologist Bibb Latane showed that the larger the group being served, the smaller the tip percentage. The study determined that people often use a thought process called diffusion of responsibility, meaning they assume someone else will cover the tip. 

They also add up the amount the whole party has and if the tip is short no one feels personally responsible, leaving the server with the short end of the stick. While the size of the party obviously can’t be controlled by the servers, there are other things they can potentially do in order to receive that bigger tip. 

Introduce Yourself Right Away

A study done in southern California had half of the waiters greet their tables with their name and the other half not introduce their names and the tips were substantially different. The group who introduced themselves received an average tip of 23% compared to 15% for those who did not. Key takeaway here; if you want to earn bigger tips, the first thing to do is introduce yourself to your table!

Smile More Often

Back in 1978, a study conducted in a cocktail bar in Seattle found that smiling more often could double the tip for the server. However, people can tell a genuine smile from a fake one so it has to be real. 

Yes, a smile is a great way to show your clients that are you happy to serve and it’s also a great way to practice how to get more tips as a server using proven psychology.

Credit & Debit Customers Tip More

People also seem to tip more when using a credit or debit card compared to cash. It’s much harder to leave a smaller tip when writing it down than reaching into your wallet and grabbing whatever you may have available. Encouraging customers to use their cards may very well pay off for servers. 

Add a Personal Touch

Another study showed a light touch on the arm can increase a server’s chance at getting a larger tip. A soft touch can make a server appear more kind and focused on the customer. 

Wearing Something in Your Hair Means More Tips

Female servers wearing something in their hair such as a flower or barrette often receive higher tips as well! One reason for this may be the simple fact that more attractive women tend to get more tips, and both men and women, interestingly enough, find women with ornaments in their hair more attractive.

Go the Extra Mile to Create Reciprocity

Creating reciprocity is another brilliant way to increase tips. When receiving something from somebody, people are predisposed to return the favor. If a customer receives something more than their typical service, they’re more likely to give a better tip in return. Even small gestures like a thank you note on the bill can create reciprocity. The simple thank you note with a smiley face is friendly and doesn’t go unnoticed. 

Servers can also bring something such as a mint or piece of candy with the bill creating another form of reciprocity. Subconsciously the customer sees the waiter as kind, giving and focused on their needs. 

Repeat Orders Back to Your Customers

Repeat a customer’s order back to them. A series of psychological experiments led by behavioral scientist Rick Van Barren, showed that when servers repeated an order back to customers their tips increased by over 68%. 

The reason that repeating an order boosts a waiter’s chance at a better tip is because when the order is confirmed it shows the guest that the server is competent, able, and understood the exact order. 

A sense of confidence is created in the server by the table and the fear their orders will be wrong is alleviated. The server is also using a classic negotiation technique called verbal mirroring which has also been proven to naturally amplify feelings of rapport, as noted in Chris Voss’s book “Never Split the Difference”.

Compliment Your Customers Order Choices

The Journal of Applied Social Psychology did a study where they had some servers compliment guests on their meal choices and others who did not. The servers who did received considerably more in tips. Now this may have been a coincidence but it never hurts to be friendly and give compliments.

Build a Connection with Your Guests

Last but certainly not least is to build a connection with the customers. Now, this does lean toward quality of service, but building rapport with your guests can certainly aid in their tip amount, even if you aren’t a top-notch server. 

The above are “tips” to keep in mind when wanting to learn how to get more tips as a server using proven psychology. Happy tipping and serving.

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