Waiters and other service-oriented professionals take note: we are more likely to say “yes” to someone when we owe them a favor. (That’s one of the things that made President Clinton effective—many in Congress “owed” him favors.)
In one research study looking at the power of giving, waiters gave diners a form of a gift…a mint!
Just one mint given to patrons after a meal increased the tip size by around 3 percent.
Okay, so maybe that isn’t enough for you. What about giving two mints?
Two mints did not just double tips—it actually increased tips by around 14 percent.
And what about making it seem a bit personalized?
If the waiter gives you a mint, begins to walk away, and then says to the group, “For you nice people, here’s an extra mint,” and then gives you more, tips will increase a whopping 23 percent.
The power of body language also can help you bring in gratuities. Have you ever noticed a waiter that slightly touches your arm, or even your hand, when they come by with the bill? By just gently touching a customer’s elbow, studies have shown a resulting 36 percent increase in tips from male customers when the waitress was a female, and a 22 percent increase for male waiters no matter the customer.
Of course if this “sincere” impression does not come across authentically, it won’t work…
But what about before the bill is even brought to the table?
At the start of the meal, waiters should be trying to gain trust.
Imagine that someone at the table is ordering–in this case, perhaps a tuna dish. A waiter trying to increase sense of trust might say to this person, “I’m afraid that our tuna is not as good tonight as it normally is. Might I recommend instead the chicken or the fish tacos? They are both excellent tonight.”
Those alternatives suggested by the waiter are in fact less expensive than the original order.
What’s the result of this sort of set-up? Now the table believes that the waiter is on their side—and is truly doing them a favor! By suggesting a lower-priced, alternative dish, he or she seems credible and more trustworthy than before.
(On a side note, our baseline trust that we show in waiters—usually complete strangers who know nothing about our preference for food or drink—is actually quite high in terms of helping us decide what we may like.)
Whether you’re typically in the position of getting paid in tips, or you’re usually the person footing the bill, the customer in this scenario really will feel the need to reciprocate..and the way we do? We pay back the waiter at the end of the meal!