clock menu more-arrow no yes

Customers are being subtly pressured into tipping more, thanks in part to technology. That's what the New York Times argues in a new report that blames tablet-based P.O.S. systems for pressuring customers to pick a preset tip amount. Many businesses, including coffee shops, have switched from registers to tablets. The software on these tablets includes preset tip options. To avoid the preset commands — which are often as high as 25, 50, and 75 percent — a customer has to click over to a customized tip button, which can be uncomfortable with a cashier "looking on."

Some restaurants have added a DipJar, a tip jar for credit cards, next to their registers.

Thanks to an onslaught of new tipping methods, people are now feeling pressured to tip in situations in which they normally may not have. The New York Times writes customers can now tip people on the internet — including their favorite food bloggers — with Bitcoin. ChangeTip allows people to send Bitcoin tips through social media, email, text, or Skype to anyone on the internet.

Other restaurants approach tipping in new ways. Some have added a DipJar, a tip jar for credit cards, next to their registers. Customers can pay for their items with a credit card and then "dip the same card into a receptacle by the register for a preset tip amount, usually $1." Leo Kremer — the co-founder of a small taqueria chain in New York City — tells the paper that the DipJar has actually raised the number of tips they've received. The chain recently removed the tip line on receipts for credit card transactions below $20 because "some customers found it presumptuous."

Tipping, especially at sit-down restaurants, continues to be a hot topic. Currently, most servers are reliant upon tips to make up the bulk of their take home pay, which puts pressure on both the customer and the employee. To combat this, many restaurants are eliminating tipping, and instead are increasing the hourly wages of their staff. While wages are raised, so are the menu prices, but most customers don't seem to mind. The NYT points out that while driver-service Uber has higher prices, people appreciate its "ban on tips."

Sign up for the Sign up for the Eater newsletter

The freshest news from the food world every day