Does a customer by any other name tip the same?: The effect of forms of address and customers' age on gratuities given to food servers in the United States


  • The authors thank Sky Anderson, Cassee Gale, Justin Hill, and Rylee Tervort for their assistance with this project.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to John S. Seiter, Department of Languages, Philosophy, and Speech Communication, Utah State University, Logan, UT 84322-0720, USA. E-mail:


This study examined whether different forms of address used by food servers were related to customers' tipping behavior. Food servers addressed diners who paid with credit cards by their first names, titles plus last names, sir/ma'am, or no address. Results indicated that when food servers personalized their service by addressing their customers by name, they earned significantly higher tips than when they used less immediate forms of address, although customers' estimated age mediated these results.