13 Tip Jar Ideas That Actually Collect Tips

So your tips have been a little short recently, eh? No recent visits from the Washington Twins, Mr. Lincoln, or The Jackson Five to keep the cobwebs out? You may be starting to wonder if all your customers are super stingy, or if you need to pop an extra piece of gum before you take your next order—but maybe it’s not you or your customers. Maybe you’re just not asking in the right way.


The truth of the matter is that most people won’t go out of their way to look for the tip jar (though we all love those few customers that do). Not only should you make it a prominent piece on your counter top, but you need a better way to ask.


Here are a few not-so-imposing ideas that get people into tipping beyond just the human good it does for your paycheck. Try some of them out, and watch those pennies (or papers, hopefully) start to pile up.  

Trivia Quiz

Having a question of the day is always a smart choice for getting people to look for the tip jar. If you display the question prominently, it will get people looking for answer options. Have at least two options that people can use to “vote” on their answer. And be sure to tell them to come back tomorrow to see if they got it right!


Battle Of the Sports Teams

Everybody has someone they root for. And if they’re not the ones rooting, someone close to them no doubt has a close allegiance. If there’s a game coming up, it’s the perfect excuse to pit fans against each other. Put out two jars with the opposing teams on display, and wait for the support to come flying in. Get some love for the home team, or get some hate against the rival.

Battle of the Pop Stars

The same can go for the celebrities we all love. Recent twitter feud? Ask your social media savvy customers to take sides. Devastating Grammy loss? Maybe your customers can way in on who really deserved to win. Don’t underestimate how much your customers love pop culture.

#artbytrixie #revolver #tipjar #imreallytrying #dontwannadie   A photo posted by Roxanne (@project.rox) on


Opinion Polling

Get into the issues people really care about. Keep those two jars out, and ask about which choice people prefer: boxers or briefs? Coffee or tea? It’s like a store-wide game of “would you rather”!

Love the tip jar at Refuel! #tipjar   A photo posted by New In NOLA (@newinnola) on

Get Political

If you’re so bold, you can really tap into the passions of your customer base. Just make sure to leave a third jar for “I’m moving to Canada.”

dilemma, guess who won? #donaldtrump #kanyewest #kanye2020 #tipjar #chipotle #gay A photo posted by Vincent Chiesa (@____vincent) on


Guess The Number

Work at a coffee shop? Try leaving a jar full of beans on the counter and several jars with different number options. It engages customers, and can bring out the competition in some of your know-it-all customers.

A photo posted by pocketpunk (@pocketpunk) on

Add a Picture

Pictures can be a great way to get people’s attention, and they can also be a creative way to ask for tips without asking. Add pictures of employees, celebrities, or just cute animals. It creates a competition without ever officially declaring one, and can be a creative way to tap into people’s sympathy for making everyone feel loved.

Found this piece of joy at coffee•deli #mullets #savethechildren #creativetipjar A photo posted by @lizmariewhite on



Go Digital

Did you know that there are tools out there for swiping a credit card exclusively for tipping? In addition to POS systems like square that add the tipping option on the end of a checkout, there are also standalone systems like DipJar make it so that even cash-free customers can swipe a tip.

  A photo posted by Square (@square) on

Make It a Game

Do you remember those diner games where you dropped a quarter or bill and tried to land it on the platform—and you’d win a free treat if you did? Sometimes people just like games. It can keep a rowdy child busy, and is a fun way to add a few extra bucks to the jar.

Future Menu Item

Start getting your customers’ opinions on what they’d like to see most on the menu. Have mini-contests where the item listed on the jar with the most tips will be featured on the menu next week, or even just come at a discount the following day. It’s a mini promotion that will get people excited to contribute their input.


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