Restaurant Tipping

05 Jan 2023

Tip Jar Ideas to Get You More Tips

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Isabel Carter

FREE DOWNLOAD: Tip Jar Ideas- updated for 2023!

If your business has a tip jar, it’s not hard to imagine that an empty one can be discouraging for employees. There can be several reasons why a customer might decide not to tip; perhaps they don’t have cash or aren’t sure whether tipping is appropriate.

Luckily, getting creative is a great way to boost funds in a tip jar and encourage your employees to stay engaged. Check out fun tip jar ideas that you can implement today:

#20 Spin the Discount:

  • Create a spinning wheel with different discount percentages or free item options. When customers contribute a tip, they get a chance to spin the wheel and receive the corresponding discount or free item on their purchase.

#19 Christmas Tip Jar Sayings:

Get your customers in the holiday spirit with some fun Christmas sayings! 


  • "Spread the holiday cheer, drop a tip here!"
  • "Tips make Santa smile!"
  • "The best gift you can give: a tip for great service!"
  • "In the spirit of giving, show your appreciation with a tip!"
  • "Make it snow with your tips!"
  • "From our holiday helpers to you: your tips are treasured!"

#18 Tip Wars: 

Set up two tip jars with different themes or options, and have customers vote with their tips. For example, "Cats vs. Dogs" or "Chocolate vs. Vanilla." This adds an element of friendly competition and engagement.

#17 Thanksgiving Tip Jar Ideas:

Get your customers in the thanksgiving mood with some fun sayings! 


  • "Tipping makes the holiday feast even sweeter!"
  • "Count your blessings, then drop a tip in the jar!"
  • "Express your gratitude with a generous tip this Thanksgiving!"
  • "Gobble up great service, leave a tip in our jar!"
  • "Turkey and thanks, plus a tip for outstanding service!"


#16 Tip Jar Milestones:

Set specific tipping milestones and display them near the tip jar. For example, when the tip jar reaches $100, a special treat or discount is unlocked for all customers. This creates a sense of progress and encourages customers to tip more to reach the next milestone.

#15 Tip Jar Raffle:

Place a raffle box next to the tip jar. Customers can write their name and contact information on a slip of paper, along with their tip, and enter it into the raffle. Draw a winner at the end of each week or month to receive a special prize or gift card.

#14 Tip Jar Trivia: 

Attach a small whiteboard or chalkboard to the tip jar and write a trivia question each day. Customers can contribute a tip along with their answer, and those who answer correctly are entered into a weekly drawing for a special prize.

#13 Tip Jar Song Requests: 

Allow customers to request a song to be played in the establishment by contributing to the tip jar. Each tip can be accompanied by a note with the requested song, creating a personalized music experience for customers.

#12 Tip Jar Puzzle Challenge: 

Create a puzzle or riddle related to the establishment or employees and display it on the tip jar. Customers can try to solve the puzzle by contributing a tip, and those who solve it can receive a small reward or discount.


#11 Tipping Tally Contest: 

Create a contest where customers can guess the total amount of tips in the jar at the end of the day or week. Those who come closest to the actual amount can win a special prize or gift card.

#10: Create a Tip Jar Poll

One of the simplest ways to entice customers to tip more is to engage their interests. Creating a tip jar poll can encourage them to add a few dollars to the tip jar to tip the scales in their favor. The best thing about creating a tip jar poll is that it only takes a few minutes to set up and can be modified often to keep customers engaged in the game.

Here are a few examples of tip jar polls that might work for you:

  • Beyonce vs. Taylor Swift
  • Apple vs. Android
  • Facebook vs. Twitter

One of the easiest places to pull inspiration from is pop culture trends. A few other effective categories for tip jar polls include foods, television characters, and movies. Don’t be afraid to get creative! Remember: The more attention-grabbing, the better.

#9: Try Funny Tip Jar Signs

Appealing to a customer’s sense of humor is a great way to get their attention and encourage them to tip more. If you can direct their attention towards the tip jar, even for just a few seconds, you'll increase your chances of receiving a tip. Funny tip jar signs represent a lighthearted, fun way to get more tips.

Give some of these funny tip jar sign ideas a try:

  • Tipping… it’s not just for cows
  • If you fear change, leave it in the jar
  • Let’s not make this awkward

Having trouble coming up with fresh ideas for funny tip jar signs? Check out Pinterest or online forums to keep your ideas fresh.

#8: Consider a Themed Tip Jar

When big holidays or events are on the horizon, it’s a good rule of thumb to use them to your advantage. Christmas themed tip jars, for example, encourage a culture of giving, which is a huge theme of the holiday season. Other major events such as award shows or sporting events are another great option, especially if your patrons enjoy them.

Here are a few more ideas you can consider for your themed tip jar:

  • Decorate your tip jar with American flags for the 4th of July
  • Wish your customers a happy holiday ahead of Thanksgiving weekend
  • Display the home team colors on your tip jar for the The Super Bowl

Above all, it’s important to consider what themes your customers will respond the best to. For example, if you have a sports bar, theming tip jars toward the next big game could be a great option. A coffee shop, on the other hand, might have more luck theming a tip jar toward major holidays.

#7: Display a Memorable Quote

Displaying an inspiring quote on your tip jar can serve as a helpful reminder to customers to be generous. After all, service workers work hard for their money, and deserve to be rewarded. Inspirational quotes can also appeal to customers’ emotions, which encourages them to do a good deed.

Let’s take a look at a few examples:

  • “You do not have to be rich to be generous”
  • “Giving liberates the soul of the giver”
  • “No one has ever become poor by giving”

Quotes from television shows or movies are another great option for tip jar quotes. When choosing quotes for your tip jar, remember to keep it tasteful. This ensures you’ll be able to appeal to as many people as possible.

#6: Rotate Tip Jar Ideas Often

Perhaps the most effective way you can get more tips in your tip jar is by keeping your tipping station looking fresh. This helps to keep repeat customers engaged and reduces the chances that tip jars will be looked over. It’s also a great way to keep employees engaged by encouraging them to use their creativity to stay motivated at work.

Consider using a variety of tip jar options, especially when you’re just starting out. This gives you the opportunity to see which methods are the most effective with your audience. If one method isn’t working, there are always plenty more to choose from. Embrace the process and have fun with it - your hard work will pay off in the long run.

#5: Don’t Forget the Starter Dollar

Did you know that your empty tip jar could be warding off potential tippers? That’s because if there isn’t any money in the jar, customers might assume that tipping isn’t necessary or that it’s a courtesy that’s not common at your place of business.

Adding a starter dollar or two is an easy and effective way to remind customers that tipping is encouraged. However, adding too much starter money in the tip jar could have the opposite effect; if customers believe enough people before them have tipped, they might be tempted to keep their money in their wallets.

#4: Use Fun Tip Jar Containers

When it comes to encouraging adding tips to a tip jar, getting your customers’ attention should be top priority. That’s why using fun tip jar containers is a fantastic way to get more tips. While the standard large jar might be the norm, there’s no hard and fast rules for what qualifies as a tip jar. Plus, the more creative you get, the more tips you could earn.

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Here are some suggestions for creative tip jars:

  • Fish bowl
  • Mason jar
  • Plant pot
  • Coffee mug

The crazier, the better when it comes to this tip jar idea. If it looks like a container and can securely hold money, it’s a good candidate. However, you’ll need to ensure that you keep tip jars in a safe location and that it’s easy to monitor against thieves.

#3: Don’t Forget the QR Codes

Have you considered that you might not be getting tipped because your customers don’t have cash? It’s true! In today’s digital age where direct deposit and payment apps are king, cash is becoming less and less prominent. Luckily, there’s an easy way to combat this - use QR codes.

QR codes are computer-generated images that, when scanned, can bring users to payment platforms where they can virtually send tips to your employees. Payment apps such as Venmo, Cashapp, and PayPal all give you the capability of generating QR codes. Simply print them off, display them where they’ll be easily seen, and watch the tips roll in!

If you choose to use QR codes as a method to increase tips, you might want to consider creating new accounts on the platforms of your choice. This ensures that the money is sent someplace where it can be accurately and fairly distributed and not muddied with personal or business funds.

#2: Benefit a Charitable Cause

Enticing your customers to help you do a good deed is an easy and fast way to increase the tips in your tip jar. After all, benefitting charitable causes makes the world a better place. Each month, pick a new cause to donate a portion (or all) of your tips to. To add another layer of engagement, let customers vote on the charitable cause they’d like to focus on in the next month.

It’s extremely important to do plenty of research on the cause you choose before opting to display it in your restaurant. Make sure to fully vet organizations and ensure that they are legitimate. A few safe bets include local food pantries, homeless outreach organizations, and federal 501c3 foundations.

You also want to make sure your employees are on board with your charity of choice and the decision to use tip jar funds to wholly or partially support a charity.

#1: Take Advantage of POS Connected Tipping

Did you know that 28% of all transactions in 2021 were made using credit cards? That’s why it’s important to offer debit and credit card compatible tipping options to your customers. Since customer satisfaction is so closely linked to good tipping, improving your restaurant's processes can also have an impressive impact on your tip jar.

Implementing POS connected tipping is a fantastic way to increase tip jar funds while also moving the needle on customer satisfaction. POS systems help lines move faster, reduce errors, and make transactions more pleasant for customers and employees alike. When you add POS connected tipping into the mix, you give customers the flexibility to tip using the form of payment that is the most convenient for them.

Some of the most popular methods that businesses use for POS connected tipping include a guest-facing screen with a tipping option or a digital tip jar. As an added benefit, investing in a POS system enables you to integrate with employee incentive software like SparkPlug, which can work alongside your tipping initiatives to improve employee satisfaction and reduce turnover.