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Effect of Server Introduction on Restaurant Tipping1


  • 1

    This research was submitted by the first author in partial fulfillment of course requirement in Experimental Psychology at Southern California College. The second author served as research adviser and course instructor. The authors wish to thank the management of Charley Brown's of Huntington Beach for their cooperation and members of the Spring, 1988 Experimental Psychology class at Southern California College for their assistance.

Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Douglas Degelman, Department of Psychology, Southern California College, 55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626.


The effect of a server introducing herself by name on restaurant tipping was investigated. Forty-two, 2-person dining parties were randomly assigned to either a name or a no name introduction condition. The use of a buffet brunch reduced contact between server and diners and held bill size constant. Results indicated that having the server introduce herself by name resulted in a significantly higher tipping rate (23.4%) than when the server did not introduce herself by name (15.0%), p < .001. Tipping rate also was affected by method of payment, with diners who charged the meal having a higher rate (22.6%) than those paying cash (15.9%), p < .001. The findings suggest the importance of initial server-diner interactions. Possible alternative explanations and suggestions for future research are provided.