The effect of receipt personalization on tipping behavior


Correspondence to: Brian R. Kinard, Associate Professor of Marketing, Department of Marketing, Cameron School of Business, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 601 South College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403, USA.



Research has shown that personalizing receipts, such as drawing “smiley faces” and writing “thank you” notes on customer bills to express gratitude, can result in larger tips for restaurant wait staff. Although the practice of receipt personalization has been supported using field experiments, limited research has examined the effectiveness of this technique based on the level of service quality provided by restaurant wait staff. Using a scenario-based approach, we found from this study that adding a personalized message significantly lowers tip percentages. Moreover, the negative effect is magnified when service quality fails to exceed customer expectations. Implications related to the findings are discussed. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.