While the pandemic has created a number of hurdles and obstacles for restaurants both this year and last — consumers appear to be digging deeper in their pockets to reward restaurant and food delivery service workers this year.
According to a new report from Home Run Inn Pizza, a Chicago-based pizzeria chain and national frozen pizza company, 49% of consumers surveyed within the report stated they’re tipping a larger amount, on average, over the past year when dining out at restaurants, ordering food online, and/or going to bars.
What might be causing this increase in generosity? Sympathy and empathy appear to play a role. In fact, 61% of respondents that stated their tipping behaviors have changed in the past year cited feeling sympathy and/or empathy for service people who are working through the pandemic as the reason they adjusted their tipping habits.
Interestingly, female respondents were much more likely than men to cite sympathy/empathy as a reason they’re currently tipping more than the previous year (70% of females, compared with 52% of males).
The report also highlights that Americans ordering food and eating at restaurants are tipping despite the perception of receiving bad service — with 67% stating they’ve still tipped staff despite receiving bad service. That trend may also continue into 2022, as 47% of respondents stated they are “likely” to “very likely” to tip if they receive bad service in the future.
With the impact of the pandemic weighing on businesses, some restaurants supported their staff by including a surcharge and/or gratuity to customers’ bills — which may have caused customers to leave less of a tip, if at all. In fact, 51% of respondents stated they are “unlikely” to “very unlikely” to provide an additional tip if a restaurant automatically adds gratuity to the bill. On the other hand, 40% of respondents stated they would be OK with restaurants adding a surcharge to the bill, in place of tipping.
As the pandemic continues, will consumers continue to reward restaurant and food service workers into 2022? Only time will tell.