While we may not be quite as big on the tipping culture as other countries, such as the USA, there’s no doubt that tipping has become ingrained in our ‘dining out’ experience. UK consumers use tipping to show their approval of their experience with you and there are major variations in the generosity of tips across the country. According to a new study commissioned by Valitor amongst 2000 UK consumers, 34% of Londoners and 30% in Scotland & NI believe you should always tip, compared to 22% in Wales & the Midlands, and only 19% in the South West and nine in ten younger diners are most likely to read online customer reviews of restaurants. No matter what part of the country your business resides, no tip can speak as loudly as a healthy one when it comes to analysing how well your establishment is rated.
Although UK consumers generally don’t like tipping and most would not leave a tip at all if the service was poor, there is a clear generational divide when it comes to tipping preferences. Understanding these preferences is essential, especially if you want to increase customer retention and receive glowing reviews.
The generational divide
Gen Z are twice as likely as Boomers to think you should always tip even if service wasn’t that great. When it comes to working out how to split the bill and how much to tip, Gen Z and Gen Y ﬁnd this part extremely frustrating – with more than 1 in 3 wanting suggested tip amounts on the card machine so they don’t have to do the maths. Ensuring that your card terminal has the feature to automatically split the bill or suggest the amount of tip, could really help you succeed in this part of the dining experience.
Payment is your customer’s biggest frustration
So much effort goes into ensuring that every customer receives top level service; from the moment they enter your establishment, creating the right ambience, ensuring their food is delivered correctly, that sometimes it’s easy to forget the bill at the end of it all. In fact, 51% of our respondents stated that their biggest frustration was catching the attention of their waiting staff to ask for the bill and then waiting for the bill to arrive. With 8 in 10 restaurant customers preferring to pay by card, making sure you deliver your bill swiftly and having your card terminal ready for payment, will help your customers make the speedy exit they are hoping for!
Customers want control of how they tip and how much
Your customers’ largest concern with tipping is their suspicion about whether tips will be shared fairly. Being transparent about your tipping policy would certainly reduce some of these suspicions. Especially with baby boomers, they prefer service not to be included in the bill, so they can make their own decision about how much to tip. Most would not leave a tip at all if service is poor – but more than half would leave a tip over 10% for excellent service. At the end of the day, customers want to control how much they tip – so make sure you make this decision as easy as possible for them.
Once you’ve agreed that tipping is here to stay for your business and appreciate that your customers do not like tipping, the next step is upgrading to technology that better suits your customer base. If most of your customers are Gen Z and Gen Y, it makes sense to upgrade your card terminal to one with a tipping feature. Convenience is the name of the game and digital tipping is just one of the ways you can improve your customers’ dining experience.
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