A recent report in The Telegraph in the UK stated that the Innsbruck team had found that dining to the sound of ‘Dancing Queen’ from Abba and other upbeat hits increases the amount of money left after a meal.
However, the Innisbruckians also demonstrated that sad songs (such as the Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby)’ also prompted customers to leave slightly more than when hearing “neutral” background music.
The Telegraph reported that tables of two who enjoyed a meal which cost €98.65 left tips of £3.95 more on average when they listened to happy tracks than those who heard “neutral” music.
Billy Joel’s ‘Uptown Girl’ and Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ counted among those prompting greater gratuity.
“Tips among older diners were particularly affected and researchers said they were probably more susceptible to the effects, because they’re exposed to less music than young people,” The Telegraph reported.
Older customers’ tips also appeared to be more influenced by the music choice because younger people are generally more exposed to music in everyday life, possibly lessening the emotional impact.
“Of course, it’s also possible that they just don’t have the financial freedom to tip as much as older people,” added the study’s co-author psychologist Annika Beer logically.
Melancholic music nurtures the people’s ‘helping behaviour’, she explained, “The manipulated customers want to help the waiter or waitress with higher tips than usual”.
The team studied 277 diners at a relatively upmarket restaurant in Innsbruck, a popular ski destination, where a typical meal costs €100(£88) and the average tip was 10% or £8.80 according to the report.
While avoiding “well-known” music, it was nevertheless found that other sad songs likely to prompt more generous tips included Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’.
For the research, music volume was kept to lower, background levels which also suggested diners may not be aware of the subconscious effects it had on their generosity levels.