Arjun Grover

Tipping Environment: Online Versus In-Person

If you have gone to a fast-casual restaurant within the last few years, you will be all too familiar with how the process of tipping works. After the cashier taps your order into the restaurant’s tablet device, they flip it around with tip options for you to select. The bubbles can range from percentages to dollar amounts, depending on the restaurant (e.g., 15%, 20%, 25%, $1, $2, $3, etc.). Unlike past studies on tipping, which look at situations in which the cashier leaves and returns to pick up your check, my research will focus on these new devices and their impact on the tips that customers leave. I predict that by banishing the “custom” tip amount option to the corner of the screen and having the cashier, and the line of people behind you, immediately see which option you select, customers are being pressured into choosing a higher option. Therefore, my research question arises: Does this new environment of tipping (and its respective psychological pressure) increase the tipping rate as compared to traditional tipping?

Message to Sponsor

Funding this research is absolutely invaluable and I can't thank you enough for the support. After conducting initial results on publicly available data, the next stages of my project require going out and collecting data. Without funding, I would be unable to commit to such a time consuming process, but luckily I will be able to thanks to you. Thank you for enabling me to further my project!
  • Major: Economics, Applied Math, Data Science
  • Sponsor: Rose Hills Foundation
  • Mentor: Ulrike Malmendier