Imagine you’re in line at a coffee shop. You order your usual cappuccino and swipe your credit card to pay. Then the cashier swivels a little screen that prompts you for a tip – before the espresso shot is pulled or a drop of milk steamed.
Do you tip more, perhaps hoping that it will lead to a better drink? Or less or none at all, peeved at being asked to reward service that hasn’t happened yet? Do you feel pressured into tipping the suggested amounts, which can equate to more than half the price of the drink?
This is a dilemma that most of us are increasingly facing in a variety of settings where previously you might have encountered a lone tip jar with change and crumpled dollar bills. Now we’re being asked to fork a over US$3 tip for a $4 coffee drink.
In recently published research, we explored how this new pre-service tipping etiquette is affecting consumers – and what it meant for the baristas and other employees hoping for a reward for their efforts.
The pre-service tip invasion