Race Differences in Tipping: Questions and Answers for the Restaurant Industry

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A widespread perception in the restaurant industry is that Black patrons tip less than do White customers. As a result, many waiters and waitresses dislike waiting on tables of Black parties, resist being assigned to serve Blacks, deliver inferior service to those black customers whom they must wait on, and refuse to work in restaurants with a large Black clientele. In turn, these attitudes and behavior reduce Blacks' patronage of table-service restaurants, contribute to discrimination lawsuits against restaurants, increase costs and reduce profits of restaurants with large Black clienteles, and deter restaurant chains from opening units in predominately Black communities. This report draws on the available research to pose and answer questions about race differences in tipping and about what servers, restaurant managers, industry organizations, and restaurant chains could do about those differences.

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2006-01-01
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restaurants; tipping norms; racial differences; gratuities
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Required Publisher Statement: © Cornell University. This report may not be reproduced or distributed without the express permission of the publisher
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