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Substantial increase in tipping after the introduction of new payment systems



Billings, Montana — It’s likely that you will tip whether you’re getting a cappuccino or your favorite sandwich. Yet more and more shops are switching from tip jars to point-of-sale spin-around card scanners.

These devices, according to payment processing giant Square, may have contributed to the 25% increase in tips at full-service restaurants in 2022.

Tucker Veltkamp, the owner of Topz Sandwich Company, is well-versed in tipping customs.

“I personally love tipping. I tip 20 to 30 percent wherever I go, with the service being good,” said Veltkamp on Sunday at his Topz Sandwich Company location on the West End.

He pays his employees more than the minimum wage because he is a company owner, but he is aware that they value their tips.

“As far as taking the financial edge off even during Christmas time, things like that, tips are a big deal for my staff for sure,” said Veltkamp.

He has observed numerous shifts in tipping tendencies over the last three years, particularly at the height of the pandemic.

“During the pandemic, we were seeing big-time tips and a lot of local support,” Veltkamp said.

According to Veltkamp, the tips enabled his business to survive the pandemic. Yet, tipping isn’t the only modern trend.

According to Square, tips at restaurants like Topz that offer counter service increased by about 17% in 2022.

The payment processing business suggested that it might be as a result of the widespread use of spin-around card readers at points of sale.

“Often we feel like other people can see what we’re tipping, maybe even the employees themselves and so it can feel a little uncomfortable. So, I think it’s really worth just thinking through, it’s okay to decline a tip if the situation doesn’t call for one,” said a spokesperson for NerdWallet, Kimberly Palmer.

Natasha Barbotiko, a Topz client, concurs with this assertion.

“Well, it’s like way more persuasive versus when there’s just the jar or something. ‘Cuz it’s like right there, it’s an option when you click it, it’s more in your face instead of just on the corner,” said Barbotiko.

Consumers are beginning to believe that these methods are making tipping more difficult. Not according to Barbotiko and her lover Dominic Slayton, especially if they are getting good service.

“Tipping’s fun sometimes, you know? ‘Cuz then you can show them you appreciate them,” Barbotiko said.

Veltkamp stated that although tips are always appreciated, they are not required at Topz.

“Where you see a problem is when staff is starting to expect since you bought this, you owe me a tip. Which shouldn’t be the case. It really should be, if you provide good service and someone wants to leave a tip, you got to have that function available so they can leave a tip. Lots of places don’t even have the function to tip,” said Veltkamp.

It’s a feature that distinguishes small local enterprises from some large corporations and aids in their expansion during challenging periods like the epidemic.

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