How Waitstaff Can Double Their Tips


In the bustling world of hospitality, tips can significantly impact a waiter’s income. A good or bad tip can make or break a shift.

In the United States, it is customary to tip 15-20% of the meal cost, but not everyone adheres to this norm. However, a recent revelation by a TikTok creator, known as Dillon Brooks or @citizenscientist, has shed light on a psychological trick that could potentially double these tips.

Brooks’ video, which garnered over 590,000 views and nearly 1,000 comments, reveals a ‘real life Jedi’ psychology hack used frequently by the FBI. This trick, he claims, can almost double the tips received by waitstaff.

The technique, known as ‘mirroring,’ involves repeating back a customer’s order word for word, thereby triggering their biological need to connect and fostering a sense of trust and security.

The concept of mirroring was put to the test by a waitress who wanted to know if any psychological trick could help her earn better tips.

She first tried positive reinforcement, responding to customers’ orders with phrases like ‘great choice,’ ‘no problem,’ and ‘coming right up.’ After testing this approach with 30 groups, she then switched to mirroring.

The results were astounding. The average tip the waitress received for mirroring was 70% more, nearly doubling her tips. This technique is so effective that the FBI refers to it as a ‘real-life Jedi mind trick.’

By repeating back what someone says, you trigger their innate need to connect, fostering trust, a sense of security, and a desire to build a good relationship.

However, the effectiveness of this tip has sparked a debate among viewers.

Some agree with Brooks, stating mirroring makes the customer feel more confident their order will be correct and they reward this accuracy with a larger tip. Others believe mirroring works because it makes you a better server, as you are more likely to get the order right and thus earn more tips for not making mistakes.

Another user shared her own tip, suggesting that complimenting something about the customer, especially something they clearly care for or spend a lot of time/money on, can yield unbelievable results. Another viewer advised calling someone by their name also helps, as hearing our own name is like music to our ears.

While the hospitality industry can be challenging, employing psychological tricks like mirroring can significantly increase tips. This ‘real life Jedi’ trick, frequently used by the FBI, has proven to be an effective tool in fostering trust and connection, leading to increased gratuities.

However, it’s important to remember good service goes beyond tricks and techniques. Genuine care for customers and attention to detail remain paramount in providing excellent service.