Factors affecting tip size in restaurants : a study of Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong

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Factors affecting tip size in restaurants : a study of Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong

 

Author: Chung, Kam-ho Manson
Title: Factors affecting tip size in restaurants : a study of Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong
Degree: D.B.A.
Year: 2003
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Tipping -- China -- Hong Kong
Restaurant management -- China -- Hong Kong
Restaurants -- China -- Hong Kong
Department: Graduate School of Business
Pages: xi, 158, [99] leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b1740415
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/2405
Abstract: Tipping is a common custom involving billions of dollars (Conlin, Lynn, and O'Donogbue, in press; Lynn and Grassman, 1990). The voluntary nature of tipping raises questions about why people tip. Numerous studies have been done in the past to identify factors which could affect the tipping phenomenon in restaurants (Mok and Hansen, 1999; Harris, 1995; Lynn and Mynier, 1993; Crusco and Wetzel, 1984; May, 1980). Likewise, Lynn, Zinkhan, and Harris (1993) concluded from their research that tipping is a complex phenomenon that can be studied at multiple levels of analysis such as cross-country differences in tipping customs. However, majority of the previous studies were conducted in the domain of western-style restaurants in the United States, and there is a dearth of cross-cultural research examining the differences in tipping practices and norm. In addition, Becker and Murrmann (1999) opine that findings and implications drawn from western-style restaurants, however, may not be applicable for other restaurant like Chinese restaurants as customers' expectations of service are affected by their cultural orientation. Therefore, this study reviews the phenomenon of tipping and the accompanying factors that determine the gratuity amount of customers. The purpose of this study is designed to examine the influences of customer's personal values, restaurant's reputation, food quality, service quality, bill size, and patronage frequency, on the customer satisfaction and tip size in an environment of Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong. Data was collected from 611 dining parties from three of the Chinese restaurants in Hong Kong, and tipping decisions of the restaurant patrons were then be explored by using multiple regression analysis and ANOVA. Ostensibly, it is not a norm-driven behavior for the Chinese restaurant patrons in Hong Kong to remunerate food servers. Chinese restaurant patrons gave out an average tip amount of HK$14.07 or 2.1 percent of the average total bill during the dinner period. There was a ten-percent service charge added to most Hong Kong's Chinese restaurant bills, yet, tips were still expected by most of the food servers in Hong Kong. Pursuant to the results of this study, albeit customer's personal value in universalism and food quality were making a statistically significant contribution to the prediction of tip size in Chinese restaurant, these two variables have a tenuous relationship with the tip amount. Conversely, customer's personal value in conformity, food quality, service quality, restaurant's reputation, likelihood of return, and patronage frequency were significantly associated with the customer's overall meal satisfaction. However, even though restaurant patrons were satisfied with all the foregoing parameters, it has been shown to be insufficient explanations for the correlation between overall meal satisfaction and tipping propensity. Despite of the tenuous relationship, these findings suggest that the Chinese restaurant operators and food servers could possibly reckon on tip size to gauge the food quality of the Chinese restaurant. Furthermore, as customer's personal value in universalism was the best predictor of tip amount, the Chinese restaurant operators may have to acclimatize their marketing and training strategy to attract potential customers with this personality trait in order to pave the way for augmenting the side income of the food servers. The differences in the tipping phenomenon of the Chinese restaurant patrons could plausibly attribute to the cultural difference across various countries, and the levy of ten-percent service charge imposed by the Chinese restaurant operators.

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