Neutral piano music has no effect but “uplifting music makes people happy and the better mood someone is in the more they tip. Melancholic music nurtures people’s helping behaviour. The manipulated customers want to hep the serving staff with higher tips than usual” says Annika Beer a psychologist at the University of Innsbruck.
The tipping effect applied particularly to older customers, perhaps because they listen to less music than younger people, or it could be that younger people have less disposable income.
The experiment was carried out in quite an upmarket restaurant where the average bill for two people was about £90 (the average tip was £3.50 more under the experimental condition).
There has been other research on tipping behaviour suggesting that waitresses who wear red lipstick do better and touching the customer’s hand as you give them the bill can increase tips.
There is also research that suggests that playing faster music will make customers finish their meals quicker – obviously an ideal in fast food restaurants.