How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
Draw a Happy Face
Draw a happy face or a sun on the customers' check.
You can use other positive pictures, but happy faces and suns are quick to do and have a universally positive implication.
If you are a man, go for the sun. If you are a woman, go for the happy face. (but do experiment to find what works for you in different situations).
Gueguen and Legoherel (2000) found an increase in tip size by getting a barman to draw a sun on the check.
Rind and Bordia (1996) tried getting male and female servers to draw a happy face on the customer's checks in a restaurant. Female servers saw an increase from 28% to 33%.
What is happening here is that the picture has a positive image, which helps put the customer in a positive frame of mind. People who are feeling good are more likely to give bigger tips, especially to those who helped them feel good.
But Rind and Bordia also found that male servers saw a decrease from 21% to 18%. What is going on here? It is possibly related to the situation, and, as in other research, what works well for women can have a lesser or negative effect for male servers. This is particularly true when the happy face is perceived as flirting (it is as if the server is looking at you). If you are a man, then sticking to the more neutral sun looks like a better strategy.
Gueguen, N. and Legoherel, P. (2000). Effect of Tipping of Barman Drawing a Sun on the bottom of customerâ€™s checks. Psychological Reports, 87, 223-226.
Rind, R. and Bordia, P. (1996). Effect on restaurant tipping of male and female servers drawing a happy, smiling face on the backs of customersâ€™ checks. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 26, 218â€“225.