Home Articles The (awkward) tipping point: August 1

The (awkward) tipping point: August 1

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I was having dinner on Friday night with two friends in Darlinghurst in inner Sydney, and it came time to pay the bill.

As per usual, I placed my credit card on the tray and 10 minutes later the waiter came back up with the bill ready to be signed. A big part of the discussion started when it came time to decide, ‘should we tip?’. Australian’s aren’t a big tipping nation by default.

So we discussed the meal, the food and of course the service. I’m more than happy to tip the waiter if they have made my experience a memorable one. On this particular occasion our waiter was impressively personable and thus earned himself a tip.

Come August 1, I am going to be required to enter my PIN number to pay on credit.

So I ask the waiter what they are going to do on August 1 when PIN & Chip becomes mandatory. They don’t have a solution. For me, the diner, it means that I will need to walk downstairs to close the payment at the terminal. Awkward. It adds an unnecessary hassle to the end of a good dinner.

Some restaurants are better prepared with handheld POS systems, but really? Standing over our table for five minutes while they take payment?

Let’s for a moment dissect the experience. Put into a real-life scenario in two weeks time. The waiter is going to stand over our table, entering the amount and asking me to enter a tip and my PIN.

Talk about killing the mood, is that my PIN? Do I leave a tip? All whilst trying to keep your cool in front of your friends or with a first date, whilst been stared at by your waiter!

So where is my social discussion on whether I wish to tip the waiter? What if I don’t think their service was worthy of a tip? I am going to hit ‘$0’ in tips and hand it back to them with a naïve smile hoping they don’t notice?

I feel this could be quite a confrontational introduction to an otherwise seamless dining experience.

There has been much talk about the implications of August 1, particularly in the bar tab space, but not much around the implications in the restaurant space and the social awkwardness it will create and the resulting drop in tips for wait staff.

I asked the waiter what his average tip was on a Friday and he said about $150 to which he eluded that he feels this will diminish very quickly with the introduction of PIN + Chip.

When designing Clipp, we looked at how we could better this experience and solve problems on both the venue/waiter side as well as for the customer.

This is where tech can play a super-hero role in solving these issues. Instead of having to hand my card over and enter the tip amount in front of the waiter, I can simply flash my tab number and the waiter can transfer the entire bill to my Clipp tab.

This is an eloquent solution that puts the emphasis on me to make the payment and most importantly leave a desired tip. Not to mention that it turns my phone (and the other 50 in the restaurant) into a mobile payment terminal that the venue incurs no cost. (Sounds familiar right Virgin Australia?!)

Over time this data will become incredibly value to the venue as it allows customer profiling and they will be able to welcome me back, ask me how my Duck Ragu was and did I enjoy the McLaren Vale Shiraz.

The airline industry has done a fantastic job on making it’s best customer’s feel like rock-stars through the use of technology, now its time for the hospitality sector to shine.

Greg Taylor is one of the co-founders of Clipp, an iOS and Android app that allows customers to start, manage and pay their bar or pub tab using their smartphone, instead of leaving a credit card behind the bar.  He’s a serial entrepreneur whose ventures so far have started off the back of the one preceding it. Greg was also the brains behind BetterDeal.com.au, Eat Media and eCoffeeCard. Greg Taylor works closely with over 160 venues across Australia including the White Horse, Mrs Sippy, The Lobo Plantation, Martin Place Bar, Gin Palace, and The Gertrude Hotel, and is an expert in the hospitality space and advancements in the industry.

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