How does “tip creeping” affect Texans?

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The advent of new software that allows consumers to tap their phones and cards at checkout instead of paying with cash has undoubtedly made the mad dash to the coffee shop or market a little easier, especially those of us who frequently lose credit cards.

But using this type of software, like Square and Toast, can also make consumers feel “guilty” about leaving a larger tip than they might otherwise offer. Some have dubbed this new phenomenon “tip creeping.”

Toast recently released fourth-quarter 2022 sales data, which places Texas at the bottom of the list of states with the most generous tippers. Admittedly, the difference between “most” generous tipping status and “least” generous tipping status is only a couple of percentage points.

While the variation isn’t as pronounced, Kelsey Erickson Streufert of the Texas Restaurant Society said Texas consumers are feeling the effects of creeping tips.

“We’re seeing some rollover fatigue out there. And all the new technology — which has been great — also comes with people being asked to tip in transactions that they’ve historically never left. And so that’s generating a little bit of rollover fatigue,” she said.

Even with inflation, restaurant tips have increased, according to the same Toast report.

“Tipping was up 16.5% for full-service restaurants and 15.9% for quick-service restaurants,” Erickson said. “In other words, restaurant tipping is increasing, which is nice to see. And I think the fact that we’re seeing those numbers at the same time that we’re seeing record inflation shows that rollover fatigue isn’t really impacting our restaurants,” he said.

In terms of creeping tipping, Erickson said this could be a transient phenomenon as restaurants and consumers get used to the new point-of-sale systems.

“Anytime we have a new technology, there’s always a little bit of a growing problem and a little bit of adaptation as we figure out what that new normal is.”

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