Reporter Amanda Baltazar spoke to Associate Professor of Management Daniel Martin for her article, “Small Steps Lead to Higher Tips and Increased Check Averages,” in Nightclub & Bar magazine.
Martin suggested using simple interpersonal influence to create a positive experience for their guest, which in turn may will result in a bigger gratuity.
“Show people you are similar to them, you're someone they can trust and you have something in common, which makes them like you more,” he says. Tell them you like the same drink as them, or that your uncle lived in their hometown — anything to forge a connection.
Once you build a relationship, make them feel special — give them an extra refill on the peanuts or finish off an almost empty bottle into their glass. “People will tip more because you've gone out of your way for them, so they'll do it for you [in the tip],” Martin explains.
Another way to make customers feel important is to pay attention to them, he says. Nod as the person orders so they know you understand each part of the order. And make eye contact, but not so much that it’s inappropriate.
This will help you, too, when you are in a rush — a brief glance at waiting customers as you're on your way to another patron lets them know you're looking out for them, you're on your way and they're not being ignored.
Another approach is offering people drinks at a variety of price points. Tell them there are the three different rums — aged, silver and flavored at various prices, for example — from which they can choose. “Help people save money, and they will reflect that in the tip — it will be more than the extra amount for the higher-priced rum,” says Martin.