Open in App
KTNV 13 Action News

Growth in technology creates shift in Las Vegas valley tipping culture

By Jaewon Jung,


From coffee shops, nail salons and even pet groomers, there are options to tip practically everywhere. More and more businesses have been using a digital payment kiosk system which gives recalculated tip options to consumers.

“We have seen consumers get overwhelmed these days because it is everywhere,” said UNLV marketing professor Dr. Marla Royne Stafford.

Lash artist and beauty business Illumino owner Soo-jin Yang said working in the beauty industry, customers have always left generous gratuity.

“Tipping was really nice from my clients but never really expected,” said Yang. “It’s always just a nice gesture of thank you for the service.”

Stafford said the essence of tipping has changed in recent years, largely due to the pandemic causing inflation and a growth in technology.

“Tipping today is not just about good service. Tipping today is about actually helping to make up some of the wages that the employer would typically give somebody,” said Stafford. “It's because the consumer is accepting those social norms. And one of the reasons we've seen this grow is because during COVID, we did a lot of restaurant ordering. We did a number of things to make our life easier.”

The growth of technology has also made it more convenient for customers.

“When all you have to do is press the 15 or 20 percent button, it makes it a lot easier. At the same time, it puts a pressure on them, and it's right there in front of them,” Stafford said.

TIPPING FATIGUE: Are requests for tips getting out of control?

Grouchy John’s Coffee co-owner J.J. Wylie said he’s been using a digital kiosk system for payment since his business opened in 2010. But he said top-notch service has always been top of mind.

“Even though we use kiosk technology, we still take in-person orders,” said Wylie. “We still ask customers what they want. We still suggest things for them.”

Friendly and attentive service is something HI Coffee owner Troy Sakaguchi also takes pride in.

“We’re not a coffee shop that just gets people in and out,” said Sakaguchi. “We like to socialize with our customers.”

Sakaguchi said he has noticed a shift in payment norms after the pandemic, with more people opting to use “no-touch” options.

“Now everyone wants to do everything off their phone,” Sakaguchi said.

There is no doubt tips are important in a city like Las Vegas, which relies heavily on hospitality. But Stafford said the original concept of tipping shouldn’t be forgotten.

“I don’t think tips will ever go away,” said Stafford. “And I’m not saying that it should. But again, it’s about the service, and it’s about providing outstanding service.”

Expand All
Comments / 0
Add a Comment

Comments / 0