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Awkward situation: tip suggestions put guests under pressure


Highlights: Many card readers in the catering industry now offer the option of tipping. Card readers actively prompt the guest to do so. This has advantages, but also disadvantages. The right amount of tip is five to ten percent of the bill amount. In Germany, the guideline value for restaurants and personal services is 5 to 10 percent. If you don't want to tip, please remain polite and make an effort to communicate well with the staff, says Linda Kaiser, vice-chairwoman of the German Etiquette Society.

Status: 07.12.2023, 19:12 PM

By: Marvin K. Hoffmann

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Many card readers in the catering industry now offer the option of tipping. © orderbird

More and more restaurants are actively asking their guests to tip with card readers. This can lead to awkward situations.

Hamm – 18 euros on the lid, good evening. Twenty euros put on the table, done. Have a nice day, see you next time. But: "That's right!" is no longer true. At least not if you pay with the card in the restaurant, bar, café or pub. More and more catering businesses now want to simplify the possibility of tipping in the modern payment variant. Card readers actively prompt the guest to do so. This has advantages, but also disadvantages.

Card readers in restaurants make tip suggestions

The restaurant chain L'Osteria, for example, uses these card readers. "By digitizing tipping, we have been able to simplify and facilitate the process for both our guests and our employees," says a L'Osteria spokeswoman when asked by Guests can choose between different tipping options during the payment process: 5 percent, 10 percent or 15 percent. Behavioral economists refer to this as "nudging."

The word comes from English and means something like "pushing", "pushing" or "nudging". You then move someone "in a more or less subtle way to do or not do something certain once or permanently," explains Prof. Dr. Oliver Bendel from the Gabler Wirtschaftslexikon. Because customers are actively advised to tip, the extra coin is probably a little looser for them. An effect that is also confirmed by the experience in everyday life at L'Osteria.

Guests are more likely to tip if they are actively encouraged

For example, the conversion of the devices and thus also the digitalization of tips would have a "positive effect on the amount of the tip", confirms the spokeswoman of the pizza chain. "Furthermore, it is possible to enter an individual amount or to skip the function. It is also still possible to pay the tip in cash," she says. But what if the customer doesn't want to tip at all? Due to the suggestions on the card readers, many may not dare to pay only the "normal" price.

The right amount of tip

Tipping is given in restaurants where guests are served at the table. "Furthermore, it is good manners to give tips after using personal services, e.g. at the hairdresser, nail designer, massage, one-off handicraft services, in the hotel or for delivery services, with the exception of Deutsche Post," says Linda Kaiser from the German Etiquette Society. She also knows the right amount: "In Germany, the guideline value for restaurants and personal services is five to ten percent of the bill amount."

Tipping in the restaurant is not obligatory

"Tipping is voluntary. There is no obligation to tip," says Linda Kaiser in an interview with She is the vice-chairwoman of the German Etiquette Society and knows how to avoid unpleasant situations in restaurants.


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"If the guest can't or doesn't want to tip, that's their right," she says. "If you intend not to tip for whatever reason, please remain polite, make an effort to communicate well with the service, and include words such as 'good afternoon', 'please' and 'thank you' in the conversation. An attentive guest is often worth more than a few euros in tips," says Kaiser. And: "If you are dissatisfied, please contact us as soon as possible and give the service staff the opportunity to make improvements."

Tipping is meant to express appreciation

At the end of the day, a tip is supposed to express exactly that: satisfaction with the service staff and appreciation of the same. At L'Osteria, therefore, the staff would also receive the tip, which is collected digitally. "The tips are given to the service staff," says the restaurant spokeswoman. In addition, a fixed percentage of the tip is paid to the bar and kitchen staff.

However, this is not the case everywhere. If you want to be on the safe side, you should continue to pay the tip in cash. Then the "That's right!" is also true.

Source: merkur

All life articles on 2023-12-07

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