As a group focusing on ‘inter-personal’ interactions with money, our initialfocus was to tackle issues regarding ‘security’ and the ‘convenience’ of handling money,between people. Based off our personal experiences, as all of our group membersare not from New York, we decided that the city’s ‘tipping’ system seemed to be a bighassle that we’ve all encountered - especially when new to the city. As a result of the discussion and brainstorm session, we came up with manymore issues regarding the notion of tipping, but most problems mostly came fromrestaurant tipping. We’ve all had experiences of double-tipping, when the tip wasalready included initially on the bill. Other than that, we also experienced several‘embarassing’ moments when waiters would come out of the restaurant to chase for atip. Many find it difficult to split tips and checks at restaurants when dining with a largegroup, and when orders are complicated - e.g. Person A wanted to pay for Person B’sdrink, and Person C and D shared a meal..... Because of all these identified problems,we decided to focus our project on ‘tipping’ systems and come up with a designsolution. For our research, we also decided to narrow the scope to students, preferablyaround 18 - 26, and a mixture of both local New Yorkers and international individuals.Besides, we would also look at the issue from the perspective of the waiters andrestaurant management, and see if they experience the same frustration with thecurrent paying system.
Our first data collection was primary research conducted through a survey -hosted on surveymonkey. Here we contacted a sample population of 50 individuals,with a large range of international / local New Yorkers. Some were also visitingstudents from other countries, so it was interesting to see how they related to theunfamiliar experiences of tipping in New York, and their thoughts on it. Below aresome of the results that we tabulated. NYC Participants! Was tipping difﬁcult when you ﬁrst came to NY?! 28%! 28%! 72%! 72%! Student! Visiting! Yes! No! How much do you usually tip at restaurants?! Have you ever experienced confrontation over a tip?! 13%! 15%! 32%! 68%! 73%! below 15%! 15-20%! 20% +! Yes! No!
Would you prefer a standard method for tipping! 19%! 51%! 30%! Yes! No! Don’t Know!How do you feel about taxis with automated tip prompts?! How would you feel if tip was automatically included in price of bill! 16%! 26%! 25%! 56%! 28%! 49%! Easier! More Limiting! Other! Satisﬁed! Dissatisﬁed! Circumstantial!
Besides conducting surveys, we also interviewed 10 individuals, and recordedthe process via photographs and a video (posted on Youtube). The results were veryinteresting, with many personal stories of embarrassing or frustrating moments ofdining experiences. Most of the results correlated well with our survey results, so itconfirmed the validity of our project and the need for a design solution.
Many existing innovative dining experiences and use of technology is availableon the market currently, but all of the examples that we found for our secondaryresearch doesn’t seem to embody the solution of implementing a tipping or evensimplified paying system. The examples we found include: London’s Inamo Restaurant,NYC’s Adour Wine Bar, paying with digital fingerprints, electronic tablets, as well asmany ‘tipping’ calculators or apps that seem to be ill designed.