Tap to tip means we give more generously

Paying restaurant bill

Living cashless has not deterred people from tipping, even though it may be seen as easier if it’s just a case of saying “keep the change”

The opposite has happened in fact since we were encouraged to stick to tapping debit cards rather than handling notes.

A recent study has revealed that more than one-in-ten of us intend to dig deeper, especially in restaurants, regardless of quality of food or service.

Despite there being no obligation to tip in the UK, more than  half of the 2,000 people surveyed said they’re prepared to pay extra to show their appreciation for waiters and bar staff who have been affected by the pandemic.

The study, the workplace management platform, Planday, also reinforces the image of growing support for local and independent businesses after Covid, with a further 47 per cent saying they tip to show support for their favourite indie restaurants and bars.

It appears the use of contactless payments, apps and QR codes has had a dramatic effect on tipping culture. More than a quarter said they believe tipping is now far easier than before the pandemic.

The main reasons people said they prefer digital tipping were speed, less awkwardness, less interaction with waiting staff and anonymity.

This change in behaviour is really encouraging and it’s nice to see the public valuing the art of customer service in this way

However, when it comes to how much we are prepared to give, most said they’d usually limit themselves to 5-10 per cent – less than Visit Britain’s recommended amount of 10-15%.

Emily Lewis, Director at the Lewis Partnership, which operates three hospitality venues in Staffordshire, said: “I’d certainly say that we’ve seen an increase in tips since reopening. This change in behaviour is really encouraging and it’s nice to see the public valuing the art of customer service in this way.

Loyalty: Shop small participant Nky Iweka, at work in Pitanga, London

“It’s also welcome from a staff perspective. Earnings from tips weren’t included in the government’s furlough scheme, hospitality staff have missed out significantly over the past 14 months, so any means to help make up that shortfall is very appreciated.”

Ellie Stott, Co-owner of Paradise Tap and Taco in Harrogate, said: “People do tend to be tipping more than before Lockdown, I’d say over a third of customers are leaving tips now, mostly via card payments. We think that it’s probably because we’re doing a lot more for customers in terms of table service and generally speaking, people seem to be appreciating being allowed out and about now.” Kevin Ryan, Planday’s specialist  in hospitality operations: “Digitisation is set to continue to play a big role in the hospitality industry, and it’s great news that some of the barriers to tipping have been knocked down with the focus shifting to apps and QR codes, just as they are in so many parts of the sector.”

it’s so good to see that people have rallied around their local small businesses and are shopping with them more frequently

So which of us are the most generous? Sheffield, closely followed by Birmingham and Belfast. And the most reluctant? Diners in Nottingham and Norwich.

A separate study by American Express and Small Business Saturday found the pandemic has prompted a rise in shoppers choosing to support their local independents.

The research, conducted by Opinium, reveals that almost half of small businesses have seen a rise in new customers purchasing from their business over the past six months.

American Express have been running a Shop Small campaign, which gives card members £5 back when they spend £15 or more in participating businesses.

Dan Edelman, General Manager, UK Merchant Services at American Express, said: “Running a small business during a pandemic has been immensely challenging for our nation’s small business owners. That’s why it’s so good to see that people have rallied around their local small businesses and are shopping with them more frequently.”

More on American Express Shop Small campaign here

More on the Planday research here

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