Americans aren’t letting inflation stop them from tipping more, but that doesn’t mean they’re happy about it.
According to payment processor Square, Americans left tips more frequently in 2022 than a year earlier.
The restaurant industry has seen an increase in the frequency of tipping in the third quarter of last yeareven after inflation hit 40-year highs, according to data provided by Square.
Although inflation subsided towards the end of the year, it remains high, but apparently not high enough for consumers to reduce their generosity to hospitality staff.
In the last quarter of 2022, the frequency of tipping at full-service restaurants in the United States increased by 16.5% over the previous year. At quick-service restaurants, such as cafes and fast-food outlets, the rate at which Americans tipped staff rose 16% year-over-year.
Frustration with expanding tipping culture
American consumers may be tipping more often, but that doesn’t mean they’re thrilled with the number of businesses now asking them to tip in addition to the price of a service.
Complaints have been filed in the past year about service providers from mortgage companies to locksmiths expect tips, as workers who don’t traditionally receive tips are taking advantage of digital payment methods to request a tip during transactions.
Last year, Starbucks rolled out a new tipping system that allowed customers paying by credit or debit card to give their barista a $1, $2, or custom tip. The change was met with some backlash from customers who felt short of the change.
“I walked by Starbucks Drive and had a drink and now they start asking if you want to tip as soon as you pull out your card to pay looking at you it’s so awkward,” one said. Twitter user. written at the time. “Just pay these people a better salary.”
Starbucks representatives were unavailable when contacted by Fortune.
The rise of digital tipping prompts, which often ask consumers to tip up to 30% of their bill, has sparked a debate around “blamewith many disgruntled consumers taking to social media to air their grievances.
“I’m not going to tip you just because you turned the iPad and I pressed a button”, a person said on TikTok. “To me, these are just companies trying to get away with not paying their employees the way they deserve. They have the assets to pay more, but they just don’t want to. They give you that ability to tip, that social pressure to tip.
“Tipping culture has gotten out of hand,” said another in a video shared on the platform.
“Today I went to the Shake Shack and there was nobody at the counter, you walk up to a little kiosk, a little computer screen, you push everything you’re going to order, and you wouldn’t know it, the next screen that pops up is a “tip,” he said, before adding jokingly, “I work here now, you should tip me.
Shake Shack did not immediately respond to Fortunerequest for comment.
Rising Tipping Requests Could Backfire
According to one expert, many consumers in North America experience “tip fatigue,” which stems from “having been bombarded with requests for tips more frequently.”
Michael von Massow, associate professor of food economics at the University of Guelph in Canada, wrote in an article last month that in the long term, the increase in requests for tips could turn against them.
“At the very least, tip fatigue means customers leave interactions that involve tipping with negative feelings,” he speculated. “But at worst, tip fatigue could cause customers to tip less or quit altogether. Those who push for higher tips risk alienating consumers who find that the amounts and range of services expect too much from tips.
A Square spokesperson said Fortune that it was possible that restaurants that may not have asked for tips in the past were now enabling tipping features at their checkouts as they expanded their business.
“With this kind of expansion, companies are wearing many hats, with tips reflecting the additional labor that goes into their services,” they said. “While your local market may not expect tips during regular grocery store hours, they may ask for tips in situations such as hosting a pop-up dinner or a crafting workshop. cheese making. Given the economic constraints of the pandemic and beyond as well, companies are trying to find mechanisms to provide more support to their staff.
They added: “As more and more payments go digital, so will the physical tip jar.
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