Tipping Motives in Egyptian Restaurants: Customers’ View

 

 

OSMAN AHMED EL-SAID

Department of Hotel Management, Alexandria University, Egypt

HOSSAM SAID SHEHATA

Department of Hotel Management, Alexandria University, Egypt

 

 

 

ABSTRACT

Tipping is an important and prominent phenomenon in the Egyptian society especially in restaurants. Despite its importance, the phenomenon of tipping did not receive sufficient attention from researchers in the field of hospitality in Egypt. Therefore, the main objectives of this study were; (1) to determine the different tipping motivators/dimensions for tipping reported in previous researches in the context of the hospitality industry worldwide, (2) to indicate the importance of these motivators/dimensions in the Egyptian hospitality context through a field study conducted on Egyptian restaurants’ customers, (3) to understand the relationship among the different motivators/dimensions of tipping, and (4) to investigate the difference in perceiving the importance of these motivators/dimensions among different demographic groups of customers.

To achieve the objectives, this study used a quantitative and qualitative data collection approach through reviewing the literature and distributing online questionnaires that were developed based on reliable and validated scales developed by previous researchers. The population of the study included restaurant customers in Egypt. Due to the large population size, it was difficult to use random sampling techniques. Therefore, convenience sample was used and accordingly 663 questionnaires were collected from which 651 were valid for data analysis.

Results of the study indicated that rewarding service quality recorded the highest importance among other motivators/dimensions when it comes to explain Egyptian customers’ tipping motivations followed by the quality of food and beverages, seeking better service in future visits, assisting service employees, gaining social approval, following social norms and the desire to impress others. Additionally, results indicated that rewarding service quality, gaining social approval, and the desire to impress others are more important tipping motivators/dimensions for male rather than for female customers. On the other hand, helping service employees, seeking better future service, following social norms and quality of food and beverages are more important tipping motivators/dimensions for female rather than for male customers. Finally, results supported the existence of a significant and positive relationship between all the tipping motivators/dimensions. In addition, limitations, future research directions and implications for restaurants’ managers were presented in this study.

Key Words: Tipping, Tipping motives, Tipping dimensions, Restaurants, Egypt

 

 

1      INTRODUCTION

It has turned out to be ordinary practices that clients especially in service industry regularly give an amount of money beyond the contracted prices of those services known as tipping for appreciation to the workers who have served them (Zahari, Rashdi, Radzi and Othman, 2011; Casey, 2001; Lynn, 2000; Lynn and McCall, 2000; Ineson and Martin, 1999). Star (1988) states “…among service workers commonly receiving tips are barbers, bartenders, cab drivers, casino croupiers, concierges, deliverymen, doormen, exotic dancers, golf caddies, hotel maids, masseuses, parking valets, pool attendants, porters, restaurant musicians, washroom attendants, waiters, shoe-shiners, and tour guides”. For many of these service workers, tips represent the majority part of their income. Even the amount of tips given to an employee is small it cannot be considered unimportant (Lynn, Jabbour, and Kim, 2012). Various opinions exist concerning the emergence of tipping (Azar, 2007). For example Hemenway (1993) stated that tipping goes back to the Roman era and even beyond. Other researchers attributed the origins of tipping to the era of the feudal lords who used to give money to beggars in order to pass safely (Schein, Jablonski and Wohlfahrt, 1984). For Segrave (1998) tipping may have started in the middle ages as the Master Lords of that era used to give extra money to the butlers in their mansions for a job well done. According to Brenner (2001), tipping originates to the local bars and coffee houses of 16th century in England.

Tipping has not yet gotten consideration among the Egyptian and Arab scholars contrasted with the western scholars. With the improvement of Egyptian tourism, accommodation and restaurant business, empirical studies in the Egyptian context are highly needed. Therefore, this research creates one of the few endeavors that illustrate this important phenomenon among Egyptian and Arab researchers. Accordingly, the purpose of the present research is three-fold. Firstly, it will determine the different motivators/dimensions for tipping reported in previous researches. Then, these motivators/dimensions for tipping will be examines from Egyptian restaurant customers’ point of view. Secondly, an investigation of differences in customers’ perceptions of the tipping motivators/dimensions among different types of customers will be conducted. Thirdly, the relationship among the different motivators/dimensions of tipping will be tested. Therefore, against this background the overriding research questions for this study is presented as follows:

RQ.1: What are the different dimensions and reasons that motivate customers to tip in Egyptian restaurants?

RQ.2: What is the arrangement of all the reasons and dimensions in descending order according to the degree of their impact on customers’ willingness to leave tipping?

RQ.3: Do the dimensions that motivate customers to tip differ significantly according to their demographic and behavioral characteristics (gender, social status, with whom/eat out, preferred restaurant type)?

RQ.4: Is there a correlation between the different dimensions that motivate the tipping behavior of Egyptian restaurant customers?

 

2      LITERATURE REVIEW

a.     THEORIZED MOTIVES/DIMENSIONS FOR TIPPING

Tips have become a prominent element particularly in the food services industry (Brewster, 2013). It is an economic phenomenon consisting of a voluntary payment by customers for services received (Artuğer and Çetinsöz, 2013). Different dimensions that represent the motivators of customers to engage in the tipping behavior were discussed in the literature (Lynn, 2009). These dimensions are discussed in the following sections.

 

Rewarding Good Service Quality: Many positive service employees' behaviors, which are considered of the main components of service quality, were correlated with customers’ desirability to leave tips. For example, when quality of service was analyzed, customers believed that friendliness and speed were the most important factors that motivated them to tip (Jewell, 2008). Likewise, different studies proved that server attractiveness was found to be a significant motivational factor for customers’ to leave tips (Jacob and Guéguen, 2012; Jacob, Guéguen, Boulbry, and Ardiccioni, 2010; Lynn, 2009; Koku, 2005; Lynn and Simons, 2000; Hornik, 1992; May, 1980; Stillman and Hensley, 1980). Similarly, server attentiveness to customers’ was positively associated with their intention to leave a tip, especially in countries where customers value behaviors that constitutes status display (Star, 1988; Lynn, 1994, 1997, 2000; Lynn, Zinkhan, Harris, 1993). Finally, server knowledge of menu items as well as their ability to express good suggestions to customers was found to be an important incentive for leaving tips (Whaley, 2011; Lynn and Graves, 1996).

 

Helping Service Employees: The desire to help service workers was one of the most common motives for tipping reported by customers (Lynn, 2009). Speer (1997) conducted a nationwide telephone survey on tipping behavior in America and used the results to summarize the views of average Americans. Average Americans indicated that helping those in the service industry to make a living is the second biggest reason for why they leave tips. According to Jewell (2008) there were three main reasons given for why individuals tip: service quality, to help others make a living, and the feeling of expectation. Compensating low-income workers was also considered among the important factors that drive customers to leave Tipping (Videbeck, 2004; Holloway, 1985; Snyder, 1976).

Moreover, clients jump at the chance to tip since it permits them to demonstrate their appreciation for the service they got or their sympathy for the low-paid employees (Azar, 2004). As well, according to the Hotel and Catering Industry Economic Development Committee (1970), people tip for the following reasons; “It is a good way of showing gratitude for good service or cooking (53%), it is the accepted practice (50%), it can be embarrassing not to (30%), and Staff need the extra income from tips (19%)”. Lynn  and  Graves  (1996)  hypothesized  that  a  desire  for  equitable  relationships influenced  the  level  of  tipping. 

 

Seeking Better Service in the Future: Azar (2004) indicated that gaining good service in the future is among the factors that motivate customers to tip. He interpreted this relationship by stating that “when customers tip well for  good  service,  the  tipper  encourages  the  service  provider  to  provide  good  service  in their next encounter”. In the same vein, Ben-Zion and Karni (1977) developed a theoretical model that suggested that tipping behavior can be explained by loyal guests returning back to the restaurant. Additionally, Lynn and Grassman (1990) found a positive correlation between future service concerns for repeated customers and tip size. They indicated that regular guests will tip consistently or more generously, because their tipping practice may become a topic of discussion among other staff members.

 

Gaining Social Approval: The wish to gain social acceptance and avoid perception of being guilt is among the important motives for tipping reported by customers (Becker, Bradley, and Zantow, 2012; Lynn; 2009; Azar, 2004; Bodvarsson and Gibson, 1997). Lynn and Grassman (1990) found that gaining social approval from either service employees or companions was the most important factor that affect customers’ desire to leave tipping. Although those results confirmed the importance of tipping as a way to demonstrate good social appearance, but it conflicted with previous studies that confirmed that the main catalyst to leave tipping is getting outstanding service in the future. Likewise, Azar (2007) argued that individuals leave tip as a way to show appreciation for outstanding service employees and on the other hand stay away from negative sentiments employees. Similarly, Videbeck (2004) stated that numerous clients tip keeping in mind the end goal to support self-regard and keep the disgraceful sentiments from not tipping.

 

Following Social Norms: Coping with social norms was among the important studied factors that motivate customers to tip (Azar, 2004; Lynn and McCall, 2000; Bodvarsson and Gibson, 1997). Lynn (2001) further posited that customers leave a tip in order to cope with social norms and as a way to avoid possible social pressures. According to Saunders and Lynn (2010), customers gain a feeling of pride when adjusting to the social standards of tipping and a sense of blame from neglecting to fit in with these standards. Azar (2010) conducted a study on what motivated American restaurant customers to tip and indicated that American customers were motivated to tip mainly by social norms followed by the desire to show appreciation and ensure additional income to the waiters. Finally, Lynn (2008) found that there is a significant and positive relationship between customers’ support for the tipping custom and the percentage of the bill that they leave for service workers.

 

Desire to Impress Others: Among the other factors that were theorized as an important reason for leaving tips is customers’ desire to impress others. According to Lynn (1997) tipping is positively related to customers desire to express a status display and its goal is to impress other people. In this regard, Parrett (2006) state “customers may tip a higher amount in the presence of others at the table in order to assert social status. Status considerations play a nontrivial role in real-world interactions and thus might induce customers to tip more as a form of status acquisition or display”. Additionally, Azar (2004) indicated that the desire to make a power display can be listed among some other motivations that affect tipping. For those customers who have this desire, tipping become an important tool to promote this sense through the feeling of power that it gives to customers over service employees (Lynn et al., 1993).

 

Quality of Food and Beverages: Food quality as a motivator for tipping received little attention from academic scholars when compared to service quality. Medler-Liraz (2012) found that food quality moderates the positive relationship between service quality and tip size. In concrete, when the quality of food and beverages was rated as superb, no significant differences in tip size were found between satisfied and unsatisfied customers with service quality. On the other hand, significant differences were found in tip size between satisfied and unsatisfied customers when the quality of food and beverage was rated as reasonable. Morover, Lynn and Latané (1984) stated that “Past research has also concluded that in a restaurant setting, the tipping behavior of customers is affected by various factors that are unrelated to the quality of service such as; the waitperson’s efforts, the waitperson’s gender, the restaurant’s atmosphere, and the restaurant’s food”.

 

b.     TIPPING IN EGYPT

The Egyptian term for “Tip” is “Baqsheesh”. Tipping in Egypt takes more than one form. Firstly, like most countries the custom of leaving tips in Egypt is prevalent and expected by employees in many places where a service is rendered (e.g. Restaurants, hotels, beaches, cafeterias, hospitals, airports, at the door of a restaurant bathroom, tour guides, casinos, clothing stores, cruise ships, train employees, and bus and taxis drivers). Secondly, according to Carta (2013), another type of tipping in Egypt is given to employees in order to guarantee additional privileges (e.g. a customer who want to see an excellent photo location, a customer who want to see a forbidden mummy, having a light in a museum display case, increasing food and beverage portion sizes, and customers requiring special attention from service employees). A third form of tipping is assigning some positions to employees’ who depend solely on tips as their only source for income such as bathroom attendants. Collected tips for those employees form their monthly salary irrespective of their value.

Tipping in Egypt is not only in the tourism industry, Egyptians also tip each other. It is very much a way of life and a cultural thing. Most Egyptian employees in the tourist business receive rather low monthly wages, and they are thus depending very much on tips to enhance their income (Tripadvisor.com, 2015). The most common way of distributing tips among employees in Egyptian restaurants is to collect and pool tips and then to distribute the money that are collected at the end of the month among service employees according to an established point system (Zahari, et al., 2011).

 

c.     THE PROPOSED THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

In conclusion, based on the literature review, several motivators stand out as potentially influencing customer’s motivation to tip. Below is a diagram that represents the proposed theoretical model (Figure 1). This model proposes that tipping is multi-dimensional and very complex phenomena. It also assumes that tipping is influenced by many motivational factors. Based upon review of the literature, those motivational factors include: Rewarding good service quality, assisting service employees, seeking better service in the future, gaining social approval, following social norms, desire to impress others and quality of food and beverages. Researchers will assess the degree to which each of these factors plays a role in motivating customers to tip.

Figure 1: A Proposed Model for Tipping Motivations/Dimensions

 

 

3      METHODOLOGY

 

a.     RESEARCH APPROACH, SAMPLING TECHNIQUE AND SURVEY DEVELOPMENT

The main objective of this research was to examine the tipping motives/dimensions discussed earlier in the context of restaurant setting in Egypt from customers’ point of view. The study used a quantitative and qualitative data collection approach through the distribution of online questionnaires that were designed with the objective of providing concrete answers for the research questions. Quantitative research strategy can be seen as one of the most commonly and popular applied methods within the tourism and hospitality research, since “it involves the collection of customer-based data which, in turn, can be used to statistically analyze and investigate a prior specified relationships among variables of interest to the corresponding study” (Neuman, 2005). The population of this study included restaurant customers in Egypt. Due to the large community size, it was difficult to use random sampling techniques. Therefore, convenience sampling was the most suitable sampling technique to employ in this research. The final survey was developed based on reliable and validated scales developed by previous scholars as presented in Table 1.

Table 1: Scale Development for the Second Questionnaire Section

Theorized Motives/Dimensions for Tipping

Objective of this part

Previous researches used to develop the scale

Scale Range

Rewarding Service Quality

To indicate the extent to which different service quality attributes (speed, attractiveness, knowledge of menu items, friendliness, kind smiling, attentive, and providing good suggestions by about menu items) would motivate customers to leave tips.

Lynn, 2008;

Lynn, 2009; and

Becker, Bradley, and Zantow, 2012.

5-point scales ranging from

1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree

Assisting Service Employees

To explore whether assisting employees in the service sector and requiring equitable relationships with them are among the important factors that motivates customers to tip or not.

Snyder, 1976;

Lynn 2008;

Lynn 2009; and

Azar, 2010.

Seeking Better Service in the Future

To assess whether customers are motivated to tip based on future service considerations or not.

Ben-Zion and Karni, 1977; Lynn, 2008; and

Lynn, 2009.

 

Gaining Social Approval

 

To examine if customers’ wish to gain social approval is among the important motives for tipping or not.

Lynn and Grassman, 1990; and

Becker, Bradley, and Zantow, 2012.

Following Social Norms

To indicate the extent to which the three inuential social connections (employees, family members and friends) could force customers to tip by norm as well as to avoid guilt.

Lynn and Grassman, 1990;

Lynn 2008;

Lynn 2009; and

Becker, Bradley, and Zantow, 2012.

Impressing Others

To examine whether customers are motivated to tip to display themselves.

Reiss, 2004;

Lynn, 2009; and

Becker, Bradley, and Zantow, 2012.

Rewarding Good Quality of F&B

To examine the degree to which the tipping behavior of customers is affected by food and beverages quality.

Lynn and Latané, 1984; and

Medler-Liraz, 2012.

 

b.     QUESTIONNAIRE DISTRIBUTION

Customers were asked to complete an online survey that addressed the different tipping motivations outlined previously in the literature review and in table 1. In order to guarantee a high response rate, researchers tried to design a short and attractive questionnaire to ensure the credibility of the answers obtained. Accordingly, 663 questionnaires were collected, from which only 651 questionnaires were valid for data analysis.

 

4       RESULTS

 

a.     BEHAVIORAL CHARACTERISTICS OF CUSTOMERS

The behavioral characteristics of customers are represented in Table 2. A high percentage of respondents prefer to go to the restaurant with family members (59.6%), followed by those who prefer to dine out with friends (34.2%) and only 2.5% of respondents prefer to dine out alone. Regarding the last visit for eating out, the largest proportion of respondents indicated that they ate at a restaurant in the last week (46.5%), followed by those who had their last meal at a restaurant two weeks and three weeks ago (18.3%; 13.2%), and the lowest percentage was for those who had their meal out at the same day of questionnaire distribution (1.7%). This result supports the proportionality of the sample with the objectives of the study as 90.3% of respondents had eaten out in a restaurant at least once in the month before the questionnaire distribution. Concerning the preferred restaurant for customers, it has been made available to respondents to choose one or more of the answers available because the customer may prefer to diversify his dining experiences. Regarding the number of times customers have their meals out of home, the highest percentage of respondents regularly eat out twice monthly (22.6%), followed by those who often eat out once monthly (19.8%), then those who often eat out four times monthly (19.7%), and the lowest percentage was for those who eat out less than once monthly (6.1%). Concerning the frequency of leaving tips, a high percentage of respondents stated that they always leave tips after eating in a restaurant (55.8%), followed by those who sometime leave tips (42.4%), while a very limited proportion of them (1.8%) stated that they never leave tips after eating out.

Table 2: Behavioral Characteristics of Respondents

Behavioral Characteristics

F.

%

 

Behavioral Characteristics

F.

%

 

 

With Whom Do You Prefer to Eat-Out

Type of Restaurant Preferred*

Alone

16

2.5

Quick Service

304

46.7

With Family

388

59.6

Casual Dining

366

56.2

With Friends

223

34.2

Fine Dining

130

20.0

Both Friends & Family

24

3.7

National Dining

401

61.6

When Was Your Last Visit to Eat-Out

How Often Do You Eat-Out/Month

Today

11

1.7

Less than Once

40

6.1

During Last Week

303

46.5

Once

129

19.8

Two Weeks Ago

119

18.3

Twice

147

22.6

Three Weeks Ago

86

13.2

Three Times

86

13.2

One Month Ago

80

12.3

Four Times

128

19.7

More than one Month Ago

52

8.0

More than 4 Times

121

18.6

Do You Usually Leave Tips

 

* choosing multiple answers was allowed.

Always

363

55.8

Sometimes

276

42.4

Never

12

1.8

 

 

1.     PRESENTATION OF RESULTS

This section reports the statistical test results of the various study constructs. Means, frequencies, and percentages of each data set are provided to illustrate a general view of the findings. Other tests such as Pearson Correlation Coefficient (r), Mann-Whittney and Kruskal-Wallis were employed to answer different research questions.

 

RQ.1. What are the different motivators/dimensions that encourage customers to tip in Egyptian restaurants?

Answering this question aims at evaluating to what extent customers are motivated to leave tips for certain reasons, as well as determining the most and least important reasons from customers’ point of view. In order to answer this question, descriptive analysis was performed utilizing means, percent, and frequencies. Presentation of the descriptive analysis is shown in Table 3. Different reasons for tipping were placed under different motivators/dimensions and were arranged in descending order using means of scores. Each motivator/dimension represents one of the theorized motives for tipping in previous research.

The first motivator/dimension discusses the importance of the quality of service as one of the important motives for tipping. The second motivator/dimension illustrates the importance of helping service employees as one of the tipping motives and reported an above average agreement (Overall Mean= 3.59). The most important reason in this regard was “to compensate waiters according to the effort they make” (M= 4.22), followed by “compensating poorly paid service workers” (M= 3.51), and “guaranteeing an equitable relation with employees” (M= 3.05).

            The third motivator/dimension demonstrates the significance of future service considerations as one of the motivations to leave tipping and was represented by two reasons (Overall Mean= 3.67). Among the two reasons, “If you are a repeat guest” recorded a higher score (M= 3.85), than the other reason “to get superior service on future visits” (M= 3.49).

Table 3: Customers’ View for Tipping Motives/Dimensions in Egyptian Restaurants

Motives/Dimensions for Tipping

Overall Agreement

Mean

Strongly Disagree

Disagree

Neutral

Agree

Strongly Agree

F.

%

F.

%

F.

%

F.

%

F.

%

A.    Rewarding Service Quality

3.93

1.

Server friendliness

27

4.1

5

0.8

33

5.1

210

32.3

376

57.8

4.38

2.

Server attentiveness

20

3.1

4

0.6

62

9.5

274

42.1

291

44.7

4.24

3.

The standing kind smile of service providers

21

3.2

17

2.6

120

18.4

282

43.3

211

32.4

3.99

4.

Speed of service

23

3.5

38

5.8

115

17.7

237

36.4

238

36.6

3.96

5.

Server knowledge of all information related to menu items

45

6.9

46

7.1

115

17.7

282

43.3

163

25.0

3.72

6.

Server attractiveness

49

7.5

35

5.4

166

25.5

208

32.0

193

29.6

3.70

7.

Good suggestions by waiters about menu items

38

5.8

90

13.8

169

26.0

216

33.2

138

21.2

3.50

B.    Assisting Service Employees

3.59

1.

Compensating waiters according to the effort they make

8

1.2

22

3.4

80

12.3

248

38.1

293

45.0

4.22

2.

To compensate poorly paid service workers

57

8.8

55

8.4

202

31.0

167

25.7

170

26.1

3.51

3.

To guarantee an equitable relation with employees

121

18.6

63

9.7

229

35.2

138

21.2

100

15.4

3.05

C.    Seeking Better Service in the Future

3.67

1.

If you are a repeat guest

36

5.5

27

4.1

115

17.7

291

44.7

182

28.0

3.85

2.

To get superior service on future visits

86

13.2

44

6.8

119

18.3

263

40.4

139

21.4

3.49

D.   Gaining Social Approval

2.66

1.

To buy social approval from employees

167

25.7

77

11.8

192

29.5

150

23.0

65

10.0

2.79

2.

To buy social approval from companions

201

30.9

136

20.9

157

24.1

87

13.4

70

10.8

2.52

E.    Following Social Norms

2.48

1.

To follow social norms

149

22.9

93

14.3

160

24.6

187

28.7

62

9.5

2.87

2.

To avoid feeling guilty in front of employees

191

29.3

155

23.8

160

24.6

115

17.7

30

4.6

2.44

3.

To avoid feeling guilty in front of friends

226

34.7

132

20.3

184

28.3

84

12.9

25

3.8

2.30

4.

To avoid feeling guilty in front of family

220

33.8

140

21.5

196

30.1

72

11.1

23

3.5

2.29

F.    Desire to Impress Others

1.70

1.

Gives a feeling of superiority and power among others

408

62.7

79

12.1

124

19.0

31

4.8

9

1.4

1.70

G.   Food and Beverage Quality

3.80

1.

Quality of food & beverages

53

8.1

18

2.8

72

11.1

212

32.6

296

45.5

4.04

2.

Adequate size of food & beverage portions

89

13.7

13

2.0

136

20.9

265

40.7

148

22.7

3.56

 

The fourth motivator/dimension investigates if customers leave tipping in order to gain social approval. Through examining the means of scores, it is apparent that only a small percentage of customers agreed that tipping is a tool for gaining social approval (Overall Mean= 2.66), either from employees (M= 2.79) or from companions (M= 2.52).

The fifth motivator/dimension comprised four reasons that examine if customers leave tipping in order to follow social norms and the overall level of agreement regarding this motive was low (Overall Mean= 2.48). As for this dimension, the reason “to follow social norms” recorded the highest mean (M= 2.87), while the reason “to avoid feeling guilty in front of family” recorded the lowest agreement (M= 2.29).

In the sixth motivator/dimension one reason was included to measure customers’ tendency to leave tipping as a way to impress others. Accordingly, most customers (75%) reported their disagreement with the preposition that they leave tipping to express their superiority and power among others (M= 1.70).

The last motivator/dimension was represented by two reasons that examine the extent to which food and beverages quality is influential on customers’ desire to leave tipping and the overall level of agreement regarding this motive was high (Overall Mean= 3.80). In this context, quality of food and beverages was found to have a higher impact on customers’ tendency to leave tipping (M= 4.04), than the impact of providing them with adequate size of food and beverages portions (M= 3.56).

 

RQ.2. What is the arrangement of all the reasons and motivators/dimensions in descending order according to the degree of their impact on customers’ willingness to leave tipping?

Answering this question aims at determining the most as well as the least influential motivators/dimensions and reasons that encourage restaurant customers to leave tipping for service employees. This part differs from the previous part in that it analyzes all 21 reasons cited under different motivators/dimensions in a comprehensive view. Figure 2 and 3 demonstrate the answer for this question in a graphical manner. As apparent in Figure 2, all studied reasons were ranked in a descending order based on customers’ responses. The studied reasons were classified by mean value based on customers’ responses into three groups. The first group included the most important reasons that motivate customers’ to leave tipping in Egyptian restaurants with mean value from 3.75 to 5. This group included the following seven reasons; server friendliness (M= 4.38), server attentiveness (M= 4.24), compensating waiters according to the effort they make (M= 4.22), quality of food and beverages (M= 4.04), the standing kind smile of service providers (M= 3.99), speed of service (M= 3.96), and if you are a repeat guest (M= 3.85).

  

Figure 2: Importance Level of Reasons Influencing Tipping in Egyptian Restaurants

 

The second group included the reasons that have moderate influence on customers’ tendency to leave tipping with mean value from 3.00 to 3.749. This group included the following seven reasons; server knowledge of all information related to menu items (M= 3.72), server attractiveness (M= 3.70), adequate size of food and beverages portions (M= 3.56), to compensate poorly paid service workers (M= 3.51), good suggestions by waiters about menu items (M= 3.50), to get superior service on future visits (M= 3.49), and to guarantee an equitable relation with employees (M= 3.05). The third group comprised the lowest influential reasons with mean values from 1 to 2.99. This group included the following reasons; to follow social norms (M= 2.87), to buy social approval from employees (M= 2.79), to buy social approval from companions (M= 2.52), to avoid feeling guilty in front of employees (M= 2.44), to avoid feeling guilty in front of friends (M= 2.30), to avoid feeling guilty in front of family members (M= 2.29), and tipping gives a feeling of superiority and power among others (M= 1.7).

 

Using the same approach, tipping dimensions were ranked in a descending order based on overall average of means as shown in Figure 3. According to Egyptian restaurant customers’ views, the most important dimension that motivates customers’ to leave tipping is to rewarding good service quality (Overall Mean= 3.93). Consequently, the dimension food quality was the second in importance (Overall Mean= 3.80), followed by seeking better service in the future (Overall Mean= 3.67), assisting service employees (Overall Mean= 3.59), gaining social approval (Overall Mean= 2.66), following social norms (Overall Mean= 2.48), and the desire to impress others reported the least importance among other dimensions (Overall Mean= 1.70).

 

Figure 3: Importance Level of Dimensions Influencing Tipping in Egyptian Restaurants

RQ.3. Do the dimensions that motivate customers to tip differ significantly according to their demographic and behavioral characteristics (gender, social status, with whom/eat out, preferred restaurant type)?

Answering this question aims at determining whether, and to what extent, tipping motivators/dimensions (rewarding good service quality, food quality, seeking better service in the future, assisting service employees, gaining social approval, following social norms and desire to impress others) differs among different customers’ profiles. Both demographic and behavioral characteristics of customers were analyzed. The inferential analysis results for these contingent variables using descriptive statistics including means of scores that were compared using Mann-Whittney and Kruskal-Wallis tests resulting in p-values are presented in Table 4.

Table 4: Differential Analysis of Customers’ Profile for Tipping Motives/ Dimensions

Customers’ Profile

Motives/Dimensions of Tipping

Rewarding Service Quality

Helping Service Employees

Seeking Better  Future Service

Gaining Social Approval

Following Social Norms

Desire to Impress Others

Quality of Food and Beverages

1. Gender

 

 

Male

M.

3.96

3.56

3.67

2.74

2.43

1.78

3.77

 

Female

M.

3.88

3.67

3.69

2.52

2.56

1.56

3.87

Asymp. Sig.  (2-tailed)

0.064

0.035

0.671

0.040

0.058

0.032

0.318

 

 

2. Social Status

 

 

Single

M.

3.96

3.65

3.70

2.73

2.34

1.59

4.03

 

Married

M.

3.92

3.58

3.65

2.60

2.50

1.74

3.7094

Asymp. Sig.  (2-tailed)

0.659

0.113

0.596

0.167

0.047

0.018

0.000

 

 

3. With Whom/eat out

 

 

Alone

M.

4.21

3.50

4.25

3.25

2.69

2.00

4.50

 

With Family

M.

3.92

3.62

3.64

2.67

2.51

1.71

3.68

 

With Friends

M.

3.91

3.57

3.72

2.63

2.43

1.69

3.94

Asymp. Sig. (2-tailed)

0.360

0.655

0.089

0.188

0.603

0.950

0.000

 

 

4. Preferred Restaurant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Service

M.

3.80

3.54

3.64

2.64

2.38

1.67

3.80

 

Casual Dining

M.

3.90

3.54

3.54

2.43

2.48

1.52

3.74

 

Fine Dining

M.

4.00

3.70

3.92

3.02

2.38

1.94

3.73

 

National Dining

M.

3.92

3.66

3.71

2.62

2.46

1.65

3.78

Asymp. Sig. (2-tailed)

0.000

0.021

0.008

0.000

0.087

0.000

0.068

M. = Mean

* Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed).

 

Firstly, the comparison between mean scores reported for male and female customers’ regarding tipping motivators/dimensions revealed slight differences. Accordingly, motives that encourage male customers to tip more than females are; rewarding service quality, gaining social approval, and desire to impress others. On the other hand, motives that encourage female customers to tip more than males are; helping service employees, seeking better future service, following social norms and quality of food and beverages. Results of the Mann-Whittney test revealed significant differences between male and female customers (p-value < 0.05) in three of the seven motives namely, helping service employees (p-value= 0.035), gaining social approval (p-value= 0.040), and desire to impress others (p-value= 0.032).

Secondly, results indicated that the tipping motives that are more important for single than for married customers are; rewarding service quality, helping service employees, seeking better future service and gaining social approval. Conversely, motives that influence married customers to tip more than singles are; following social norms and desire to impress others. Consequently, in order to correlate the customers’ social status with different tipping motives, means of the different tipping motivations were compared utilizing Mann-Whittney test. With a significance of (0.05), there are significant differences between single and married customers in two of the seven motives namely, quality of food and beverages (p-value= 0.000) and desire to impress others (p-value= 0.018). However, there are no significant differences among other motives (p-values > 0.05).

Thirdly, calculated mean scores confirmed that all the tipping motives have greater influence and more importance for customers’ who prefer to eat out alone than those who prefer to eat out either with family or with friends. Additionally, slight differences were recorded in the motivation to leave tipping between those who prefer to dine out with family members and those who prefer to dine out with friends. Concerning this behavioral characteristic of respondents, results of the Kruskal-Wallis test revealed significant differences between customers (p-value < 0.05) in one of the seven motives namely, quality of food and beverages (p-value= 0.000). However, there are no significant differences among other motives (p-values > 0.05). As for the type of restaurant preferred, the comparison of different means resulted in the following conclusions. Rewarding service quality was found to be the most important tipping motivator for different types of restaurant customers. On the other hand, the desire to impress others was found to be the least important motive to leave tipping from different customers’ point of view. Results of the Kruskal-Wallis test revealed significant differences between customers (p-value < 0.05) in five of the seven motives namely, rewarding good service quality (p-value= 0.000), quality of food and beverages (p-value= 0.021), seeking better service in the future (p value= 0.008), assisting service employees (p-value=0.000), and desire to impress others (p-value= 0.000). However, no significant differences were recorded between other motives (p-values > 0.05).

 

RQ.4. Is there a correlation between the different motivators/dimensions that motivate the tipping behaviour of Egyptian restaurant customers?

On the one hand, the strongest positive relationship was recorded between the dimension of rewarding service quality and three other dimensions namely; food and beverages quality (p-value < 0.01, with a correlation magnitude of 64.9 %), seeking better future service (p-value < 0.01, with a correlation magnitude of 60.9 %), and the desire to help service employees (p-value < 0.01, with a correlation magnitude of 59.5 %). Other strong relationships were recorded between the following dimensions; seeking better future service and the desire to help service employees (p-value < 0.01, with a correlation magnitude of 56.5 %), following social norms and gaining social approval (p-value < 0.01, with a correlation magnitude of 51.4 %), and gaining social approval and the desire to impress others (p-value < 0.01, with a correlation magnitude of 50.8 %). On the hand, many of the reported relationships between the tipping dimensions were weak (r < 0.5), as reported in Table 5.

 

5.     DISCUSSION OF RESULTS

Additionally, results are made clear and further justified through presenting supporting previous researches and researcher’s insights where applicable. The first objective of this research was to study the different theorized reasons and motives that motivate customers to tip and to investigate their conformity with Egyptian restaurants customers’ point of view. Therefore, twenty one theorized reasons to leave tipping were derived from the literature and categorized under seven motivators/dimensions. Afterwards, these reasons were evaluated from Egyptian restaurant customers’ point of view to identify the reasons that best explain their motivation to leave tipping. When examined from a descending mean value perspective, rewarding service quality recorded the highest importance among other motivators/dimensions when it comes to explain customers’ tipping motivations. Additionally, Egyptian customers ranked the quality of food and beverages as the second most important motivator/dimension that influences their desire to leave tipping. Previous research has confirmed this result by scrutinizing the positive impact of food and beverage quality on tipping behaviour (e.g., Medler-Liraz, 2012; Lynn and Latané, 1984). This result proves that food and beverage quality is a very important influential motivator for Egyptians to leave tipping. The third highly ranked motivator/dimension among others is seeking better service in future visits. In the same vein, Egyptian customers indicated that they are motivated tip primarily if they are repeat guests, followed by the desire to get superior service on future visits. This result goes in line with available literature reviews regarding the positive influence of seeking better future service on customers’ desirability to leave tipping (e.g., Azar, 2004; Bodvarsson and Gibson, 1997; Lynn and Grassman, 1990; Ben-Zion and Karni, 1977). The dimension assisting service employees was ranked the fourth in importance among other dimensions. Under this dimension compensating waiters according to the effort they make was the most important reason that stimulates customers’ desire to tip restaurant employees. This desire to help service employees was one of the most common motives for tipping reported by customers’ in previous researches (e.g., Lynn, 2009; Jewell, 2008; Azar, 2004; Videbeck, 2004; Speer, 1997).

Table 5: Correlation Analysis of Tipping Motives/Dimensions

Tipping Motives/Dimensions

Rewarding Service Quality

Helping Service Employees

Seeking Better  Future Service

Gaining Social Approval

Following Social Norms

Desire to Impress Others

Quality of Food and Beverages

Rewarding Service Quality

Pearson Correlation

-

-

-

-

-

-

-

Sig. (2-tailed)

Helping Service Employees

Pearson Correlation

0.595**

-

-

-

-

-

-

Sig. (2-tailed)

0.000

Seeking Better  Future Service

Pearson Correlation

0.609**

0.565**

-

-

-

-

-

Sig. (2-tailed)

0.000

0.000

Gaining Social Approval

Pearson Correlation

0.347**

0.295**

0.364**

-

-

-

-

Sig. (2-tailed)

0.000

0.000

0.000

Following Social Norms

Pearson Correlation

0.090*

0.095*

0.108**

0.514**

-

-

-

Sig. (2-tailed)

0.021

0.016

0.006

0.000

Desire to Impress Others

Pearson Correlation