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What am I tipping you for? Customer response to tipping requests at limited-service restaurants

Ismail Karabas (Department of Management, Marketing and Business Administration, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky, USA)
Marissa Orlowski (Rosen College of Hospitality Management, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida, USA)
Sarah Lefebvre (Department of Management, Marketing and Business Administration, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky, USA)

International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management

ISSN: 0959-6119

Article publication date: 7 May 2020

Issue publication date: 23 May 2020

Abstract

Purpose

Tipping within the foodservice industry has traditionally been reserved for full-service restaurants. However, there is a growing trend of tip requests at limited-service restaurants, where tipping occurs prior to consuming the product. This research aims to examine the effect of a point-of-sale tip request at limited-service restaurants on return intentions via customer irritation. It also aims to analyze the moderating effects of check amount and perceived deservingness.

Design/methodology/approach

Four online scenario-based experiments were conducted to test the hypotheses. Participants were recruited from MTurk for all experiments (NStudy 1 = 152; NStudy 2 = 296; NStudy 3 = 206; NStudy 4 = 134).

Findings

Studies 1 and 2 suggested a negative impact of presenting a tip request on return intentions, with customer irritation as the underlying mechanism. Study 3 found the indirect effect was significant only when the check amount was low. Study 4 found that perceived deservingness of a tip also moderated this effect; the indirect effect was significant only when customers felt the employee did not deserve a tip. The effect was attenuated when customers felt the employee deserved a tip.

Originality/value

This paper contributes to the underexplored area of tipping behavior in the limited-service context. The findings contrast extant research on voluntary tipping at full-service restaurants, thus advancing theory by suggesting the consequences of tip requests are contextual and providing practical insights to limited-service establishments contemplating whether to begin requesting tips.

Keywords

Citation

Karabas, I., Orlowski, M. and Lefebvre, S. (2020), "What am I tipping you for? Customer response to tipping requests at limited-service restaurants", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 2007-2026. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-12-2019-0981

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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