Tipping within the foodservice industry has traditionally been reserved for full-service restaurants. However, there is a growing trend of tip requests at limited-service restaurants, where tipping occurs prior to consuming the product. This research aims to examine the effect of a point-of-sale tip request at limited-service restaurants on return intentions via customer irritation. It also aims to analyze the moderating effects of check amount and perceived deservingness.Design/methodology/approachFour online scenario-based experiments were conducted to test the hypotheses. Participants were recruited from MTurk for all experiments (NStudy 1 = 152; NStudy 2 = 296; NStudy 3 = 206; NStudy 4 = 134).FindingsStudies 1 and 2 suggested a negative impact of presenting a tip request on return intentions, with customer irritation as the underlying mechanism. Study 3 found the indirect effect was significant only when the check amount was low. Study 4 found that perceived deservingness of a tip also moderated this effect; the indirect effect was significant only when customers felt the employee did not deserve a tip. The effect was attenuated when customers felt the employee deserved a tip.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to the underexplored area of tipping behavior in the limited-service context. The findings contrast extant research on voluntary tipping at full-service restaurants, thus advancing theory by suggesting the consequences of tip requests are contextual and providing practical insights to limited-service establishments contemplating whether to begin requesting tips.
International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 23, 2020
Keywords: Restaurants; Tipping; Customer perceptions; Customer irritation; Limited service; Perceived deservingness
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