Influence Tips for Running a Restaurant – Part 3

Here we are in the third part in a series of posts directed at those working in the restaurant industry. I believe the application of the principles of influence in an ethical manner can help restaurants, wait staff and customers in a win-win-win way. A couple of weeks I wrote about a way for servers to garner more tips. I’ll talk about another thing servers can do to increase their take home pay. Believe it or not, something as simple as a mint causes many people to tip more. Many of you might be thinking you’d never tip more simply because you got a mint. Not everyone does but if some are moved to tip more just because they got a mint then isn’t it worth the effort? In one study researchers found that servers giving a single mint to customers increased tips by more than 3%. But the investment of two mints did more than double that amount…it increased tips by 14%! That’s right; servers who regularly gave customers two mints saw their tips increase by 14% in the study. That takes no more effort than handing a single mint to each customer, so it’s the smart thing to do. You may be wondering why this happens. Researchers believe it has to do with reciprocity. This principle of persuasion tells us people feel obligated to give back to those who’ve first given to them. The act of giving mints taps into this principle and people open their wallets a little wider and the more mints they were given the deeper they dug into their wallets. As they say on some of the cheesy infomercials, “But wait, there’s more!” One more mint condition was tested. With a third group of servers they would give a single mint to patrons then start to walk away. However, they never got too far because they would suddenly wheel around and say something like, “You guys have been great,” and would give everyone another mint. Believe it or not, in this scenario the average tip was almost 25% higher than the control group! Like the group previously mentioned, it was only two mints per person but the fact that the giving was personal to that table was what really made the difference. Of course this tactic can’t be used on everyone because not all customers are great so it would be unethical, dare I say manipulative, to engage all customers that way. But there are some who are fun to wait on and if servers treat them in a special way when engaging reciprocity their tips should soar. Next time you’re eating out and see mints somewhere near the door as you leave you’ll know that establishment is bungling away a chance to help the wait staff make a little more money and satisfy customers. Of course, the smart server will invest in their own bag of mints because they’ll be able to buy them in droves with all the extra cash they’ll have from their increased tips.Next week we’ll conclude this series with a final post on tips for those in the restaurant industry. Brian, CMCT
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.

1 reply
  1. Kennon Fort
    Kennon Fort says:


    That's a great post. I love the stats you share on here. Having previously been in the restaurant industry for many years, I have a substantial appreciation for the simple fundamentals you highlight. They are easy to be forgotten if habits are not developed.


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