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Professional Corporate Tipping tips

Corporate Tips by Burleson Consulting

When I was a student of social psychology I remembered numerous studies of tipping behavior and it remains a fascinating topic.  Let?s start by examining restaurant tipping.

Restaurant Tipping for corporate executives

The expected tip varies by several variables, the country of origin of the tipper, the number of diner?s in the group, the income of the tipper and the total amount of the check.

Tipping and group size

In a study titled ?Cheaper by the Bunch?, social psychologist Dick Harris demonstrated that the overall percentage of a tip declines according to the size of the group.  The larger the dining group, the lower the overall tip percentage.

Tipping and bill amount

The amount of a tip also varies by the size of the check, and it?s not uncommon to see an average American spending 25% on a $20 breakfast tab, down to 10% for a lavish $400 dinner with a $150 bottle of wine.  Many diners rationalize that it?s the same amount of effort to open a $40 bottle of wine as a $400 bottle, and tip on the cheaper side.










Tipping and Income

There is also a correlation between a diner?s income and tipping behavior.  As expected, poor people tend to tip less, but it?s also interesting that the super-rich tend to be low tippers.  Rockefeller was known for handing-out shiny new dimes and Bill Gates is reported to be a cheap tipper.










Professor Steve Cerutti states in his book ?Words of the day? that the word ?tips? is an acronym for ?To Insure Prompt Service?, but I doubt that this is truly the origin of the phrase.

Nobody can deny that there are social differences in tipping behavior, and much of this difference in tipping behavior relates to the perceived salary of the servant.

  • No Tipping ? In areas of Southeast Asia, waiters will come running out of a restaurant behind you to return your tip back because it is never customary to tip.  In countries such as Italy and China, tipping is not expected.

  • Ten Percent ? In Great Britain and South America, a ten percent is customary and tips are associated with exceptional service.  Up until about 1970, ten percent was also the standard for the USA restaurants, but the American Restaurant Association has been pushing this up to an obscene 18% by 2007.

  • Fifteen Percent ? This ?standard? was codified in many corporate guidelines.

  • Eighteen Percent ? This ridiculous amount started in New York City in the 1990?s when an 18% tip was automatically added to the bill for parties of four or more diners.

Tipping on Cruise Ships

Every cruise line has different standards for tipping and many of these are set according to the clientele of the cruisers:

  • No Tipping ? Holland America does not encourage tipping, perfect since many of their clientele are European (where tipping is not customary) and old folks on a limited income.

  • Tip Shakedown ? Norwegian Cruise Lines had a tipping ceremony designed to embarrass low-tippers whereby the passengers must personally present their server an envelope containing the tip.

  • Suggested tip ? Cruise lines such as Celebrity and Carnival have an envelope-based method, but their tip suggestions are very reasonable averaging only $10 per day total ($3-$4/day for the stateroom steward, and $3 per day for the waiter).

Many servants on cruise ships size-up their arriving passengers, and one veteran waitress told us that they shun Europeans because they are notoriously bad tippers (not because they are cheap, but because they assume that the servant staff has an adequate salary, just like in Europe). 

The lady we met said that she was only paid $100 per week and they could not survive without tips.  Our stateroom attendant said that they earned only about $50 per week and also relied on tips for their survival.



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