Customers to restaurants: Stop 'guilt tipping' with iPads

Some shoppers appear to be getting wise to digital tipping.

More businesses such as Starbucks and Whole Foods have tried out tipping apps like Square for iPads and other tablets to make it easier for customers to part with their money. And some studies have shown that when people are presented with three tip choices — 20%, 25% or 30%, for example – they’re more likely to choose the middle option even if it’s more than the traditional 20%, according to an analysis of 13 million New York City taxi rides by the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

But new research shows that at least some consumers are losing patience with digital tipping in coffee shops and other retailers. Some 29% of respondents say they would actually be more likely to leave a tip if they were presented with a “no tip” button to allow them to opt out of leaving a tip, according to a study released Thursday by Software Advice, which helps businesses choose software. That said, other respondents still tip what they want regardless of suggested tip amounts or the presence of a “no tip” option.

While digital tipping has yet to go mainstream, people are more likely to touch-type a tip if the staff member is standing expectantly nearby. Some 41% of respondents say close proximity to the server/cashier while entering a tip amount would make them more likely to tip. “There’s definitely a social pressure there,” says Justin Guinn, market research associate at Software Advice, a firm that compares iPad POS technology, and author of the digital tipping survey. Traditionally, non-gratuity industries like bakeries, coffee shops, delis and ice cream shops are introducing digital tipping.”

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