Is Your Waiter Complimenting Your Meal Choice?

If so, you're likely to tip more.

John Seiter and Harry Weger tested the effects of ingratiation on food servers' tips. They had two waiters and two waitresses go about their usual duties but with a twist: for half the parties they served they were instructed to compliment the customers, telling them that they'd made an excellent choice in what they'd ordered. Counting the tips received from 348 dinner parties showed that complimenting customers on making a shrewd order led to tips that were three per cent greater on average than when no compliment was made – a statistically significant boost.

‘A roughly 3 per cent increase may seem a small amount,' the researchers said, ‘[but] an additional $1 to $5 per shift could translate into hundreds of dollars per year for each food server.'