RPOWER POS - How to Increase Tips for Your Restaurant’s Servers

How to Increase Tips for Your Restaurant’s Servers

  • By: RPower POS
How to Increase Tips for Your Restaurant’s Servers


Increasing tips for restaurant servers is more than just emphasizing quality customer service. Actually, that's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to helping your staff be good servers. What's below are the processes and systems that keep servers organized, food coming out of the kitchen on time, and communication flowing between front-of-house and back-of-house.

Of course, it's no secret that servers are a key part of any restaurant business. Without them, back-of-house would need to juggle order taking, communication with the kitchen, bringing food out and accepting payments, all while handling cooking and cleaning. There's no denying that servers work hard, but since tips account for a significant portion of their wages, it's important to ensure that they're being compensated appropriately. As a restaurant owner, it's on you to provide the resources that will help your servers thrive.

In this article, we break down how to increase tips in your restaurant in order to motivate your servers and increase their job satisfaction. And since each restaurant operation differs, we'll cover the different strategies you can use to increase tips in general, for counter service, and at the table.

Increasing tips for restaurant servers

If you're a restaurant owner, then you know experienced servers appreciate working in settings where they are supported to provide great customer experiences, and in turn, receive great tips. When guests are satisfied with the customer service, that means staff are rewarded with a larger tip, and your business is more likely to get rave reviews and return customers. 

No matter where your restaurant is located or what type of cuisine you serve, here are a few essential basics that you can help your staff boost their earnings:

It all starts with good service

With so many convenient options at their disposal, guest expectations are at an all time high. If your staff takes over an hour to get food on the table, customers will be extremely frustrated and probably won't want to tip — and if they do, it won't be generous. 

Customers expect a seamless dining experience when they dine out, so it's essential that you do everything in your power to ensure that you're able to provide one. There are many ways you can improve your service, but some of the most successful methods include streamlining your menu, using a point of sale system that allows for table-side ordering, and encouraging effective synchronicity between staff members.

Allowing curbside pickup

The pandemic propelled us into a world where curbside pickup is now an expected and permanent offering. The convenience and ease of this feature means guests can enjoy food from their favorite restaurants with a click of a few buttons, and they're happy to pay for it too. In fact, more customers are beginning to tip for pickup orders, so offering that convenience can help your servers earn more while you generate more revenue.

Encouraging upselling and cross selling

The vast majority of the time, tips are calculated as a percentage of the total bill. And as the total of the bill rises, so do your servers' tips and your revenue. Upselling and cross selling are great ways to improve customer satisfaction, increase restaurant sales, and boost servers' wages. You can incorporate them into your business via promotions (i.e. get a beer for 2$ off with the purchase of an appetizer), lunch or dinner specials, offering the option to add cheese or meat to a dish, and more.

How to get a better tip for counter service

While counter service isn't traditionally associated with tipping, the tides are turning. More and more customers are starting to tip in coffee shops, take out restaurants, breweries, and other hospitality establishments. Here's how you can get in on the action:

Sign on screen

A sign on screen feature allows you to accept customer signatures and tips on your countertop and tableside POS devices. This makes the payment process more convenient for customers, but more importantly, gives them an easy way to tip your staff in the process. By presenting tip options when customers are prompted to enter their signature, they're more likely to add a tip.

Forced tip response with default values

Customers tip more often and in larger amounts when the process is made easier for them. By including a forced tip response in the payment process, customers must automatically consider whether or not to tip before they complete their transaction. And with default values, there is a greater chance of them selecting one of the options than manually choosing "other" and entering a $0 tip.

"Voting" system

As one of the oldest and most proven methods to increase tips, creating a voting system doesn't require the use of restaurant point of sale technology or even electricity. Simply set up two containers beside one another, and label them with two opposing (bonus points if they're controversial) options. Common examples include rival sports teams, cats vs. dogs, famous movie characters, and so on. Customers who have extra cash or change from their order can drop tips into whichever option they support. At the end of the day, this friendly competition ends with a memorable interaction for your customers and an overall increase to your staff's tips.

Table-side payments and tipping

As mentioned above, the key to increasing tips for restaurant servers is convenience and simplicity when a guest pays and tips. If you make it convenient for them to tip while they are completing their transaction, there is a higher chance that they will. Here's what you can do for diners paying at the table:

Suggested gratuity on receipts

Back in the day, teachers scolded students for using calculators in math class because they shouldn't expect to have a calculator on them at all times. Turns out they were wrong. Nowadays, everyone has a phone in their pocket, and with every phone comes access to a calculator. However, customers still struggle to calculate tips on their own, especially if they're not sure about local customs, whether to tip on the pre or post-tax total, etc. Fortunately, you can make it easier. By adding suggested gratuity on the bottom of receipts, you can take the guesswork out of the process, which in turn encourages an accurate tip amount your servers.


Despite mass vaccinations and lower case counts, many customers are still hesitant to dine out. And those who are getting used to eating in restaurants again are still taking precautions when they eat out. Using RPOWER mPay, a feature of RPOWER point of sale technology, you can provide a contactless experience for your customers. By sending them a link or QR code, they'll be able to view and pay their bill right from their phone, and will even have the option to add a tip. Providing a safe and convenient dining experience is more important now than ever, and customers are happy to show their support, especially when you make tipping easy.

Final Thoughts

Good service nowadays is all about a frictionless experience where diners leave feeling satisfied and positive. Your employees are critical to your overall operation, but as we've mentioned, the system and processes you use will also impact how well your business runs. The right POS system is the backbone of many successful restaurants, so be sure to choose yours wisely.

If you want to learn more about how the right POS system can increase profitability and improve your customer experience, then check out our latest guide which will teach you how to:

  • Increase your sales
  • Boost productivity
  • Leverage data-driven insights
  • Improve customer satisfaction
  • Streamline cost management

Get the guide now 

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