Asked to Leave a Tip on an iPad? Data Shows It’ll Make You Spend More

Ipad Tipping Square Machine Credit: WSJ
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New data suggests that using iPads or other digital point-of-sale (POS) systems may prompt customers to tip more.

You know the systems we’re talking about — the kind where a cashier may flip an iPad around to show off a tip prompt after you insert your card. According to food service publication Skift Table, these digital systems asking for gratuity routinely result in more and better tips for employees.

The publication offers the example of Paris Creperie, a small quick-service restaurant in Brookline, Massachusetts. Before installing digital POS systems, Paris Creperie didn’t see many tips at all, said Henry Patterson, the restaurant’s head of finance and administration.

But in 2015, Paris Creperie swapped their old POS and physical tip car (complete with humorous sign) for a digital system with Toast POS software. Staff noticed that customer tipping behavior changed almost instantaneously.

“We went from almost nothing to averaging $4 an hour per employee,” Patterson told Skift.

He added that there is an option to say “No, thank you” on the gratuity screen — but pointed out that most of the Creperie’s customers make much more than its employees.

According to data compiled by POS software maker Toast, restaurants and businesses that use the firm’s tipping feature receive tips on about 60 percent of card transactions. That’s compared to 28 percent on the legacy systems (presumably, a tip jar or the tip section on a receipt).

It’s not clear why this is, however. It may very well be guilt-induced tipping, since customers need to specifically say “no” instead of just leaving a receipt tip space blank.

On the other hand, it might also be tied to the fact that people don’t really use cash anymore — which obviously impacts how many bills end up in restaurant or coffee shop tip jars.

In either case, these digital POS systems and the increased tipping they seem to inspire, are having a positive impact on employee wages.

As Skift points out, systems like Toast, Square and others can significantly add to an employee’s paycheck — in some cases, they can even double their wages. That’s a huge point in favor of digital POS systems and it could foster more businesses to adopt them.

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