Tipping in Restaurants and around the Globe

An Interdisciplinary Review

Authored by: Michael Lynn

Handbook of Contemporary Behavioral Economics

Print publication date:  July  2006
Online publication date:  January  2015

Print ISBN: 9780765613028
eBook ISBN: 9781315703879
Adobe ISBN: 9781317469162


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On an average day, approximately 10 percent of the U.S. population eats at sit-down/family restaurants. In an average month, approximately 58 percent do so (Media Dynamics 2001). After completing their meals, almost all of these restaurant diners leave a voluntary gift of money (or tip) for the server who waited on them (Speer 1997). These tips, which amount to approximately $21 billion a year, are an important source of income for the nation’s two million waiters (Lynn 2003b). In fact, tips sometimes represent 100 percent of waiters’ take-home pay, because tax withholding eats up all of their hourly wages (Mason 2002).

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