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Studies of tipping behavior indicate that black customers tend to leave lower tips than do white customers. Rather than unnecessarily demean a customer group, however, the industry should try to understand and address the underlying cause of this ethnic difference in tipping. The results of the study reported here suggest that differences in tipping between African American and Caucasian customers may reflect differences in the groups' familiarity with the 15 to 20 percent restaurant-tipping norm. This explanation suggests that one solution to the problems posed by differences in the groups' tipping is to publicize the 15 to 20 percent tipping norm in minority communities.


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