Does a Customer by Any Other Name Tip the Same?: The Effect of Forms of Address and Customers’ Age on Gratuities Given to Food Servers in the United States

Document Type

Conference Paper

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Interpersonal Communication Division at the annual meeting of the Western States Communication Association


Western States Communication Association

Publication Date



This study examined whether different forms of address used by food servers were related to customers' tipping behavior. Food servers addressed diners who paid with credit cards by their first names, titles plus last names, sir/ma'am, or no address. Results indicated that when food servers personalized their service by addressing their customers by name, they earned significantly higher tips than when they used less immediate forms of address, although customers' estimated age mediated these results.

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