Thursday, November 13, 2014

Moe's Southwest Grill - Pavlovian conditioning leads to greater tips.

Moe's Southwest Grill is a Mexican cuisine restaurant that allows you to walk down the buffet-style line and have them prepare your meal for you. Their food is fresh, the servings are large, and the taste is good.

What fascinates me though is the use of peer pressure in order to increase the tips they receive. You see, their servers never leave their space behind the counter, yet they work hard to prepare your meal the way you want it. So, as you make your way toward the register, you continually hear this little bell each time a customer pays -- or, at least you should if you want to be part of the tribe.

You see, each time a customer leaves a tip, the person at the register rings the bell and all the employees yell out a robust "thank you" for the tip.

Talk about peer pressure -- would you want to be the next in line and not leave a tip? It's a classic case of the Pavlovian effect of conditioning. And while I have not been able to determine the exact rate at which customers leave tips, the tip jar is always full.

Next time you eat at Moe's, pay attention to how many times the bell rings. Then, look at the tip jar in the next Subway you go into and notice the difference.

The cost of the bell? Probably $1. The return on investment? Priceless.

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