8 Tip Jar Ideas Customers Can’t Resist

Whether your team helps your customers find the healthiest food for their pups or brew the perfect cup of coffee every morning, they deserve a reward for going the extra mile.

Tip jars are a great way for satisfied customers to express appreciation for a job well done. But, in today’s world of digital payments, physical tip jars can easily go unnoticed. These 8 tip jar ideas will make your tip jar impossible to ignore—ensuring your team gets the recognition they deserve. 

What is a tip jar and what businesses use it?

A tip jar is a container that customers can use to leave tips as a token of appreciation for good service. It’s basically like a monetary thank-you note. Tip jars are frequently employed in the service industry, especially in establishments where customers and employees interact directly. Think bakeries, bars, cafes, pet stores, and beauty salons.

8 tip jar ideas to help collect more tips

With the rise of digital payments, cash tips just aren’t as common as they used to be. But looking at a perpetually empty tip jar can be a bit of a bummer. So if you want your team to be compensated for a job well done, it’s time to get creative. With these tip jars on display, your customers won’t be able to conceal their smiles or their appreciation. 

1. Question of the day jars

Use two tip jars to settle light-hearted debates like:

  • Were Rachel and Ross really on a break? Yes/No
  • Could Jack have fit on the door with Rose? Yes/No
  • Does pineapple belong on pizza? Yes/No

2. Funny jars

Nothing brightens a mundane day quite like an unexpected joke or pun. Make your tip jar too funny to ignore and your customers will have no choice but to reward you. Here are a few ideas:

    • We knead the dough (best suited for bakeries or pizza joints).
    • Afraid of change? Leave it here.
    • Complaint Jar: All complaints must be made on $1 bills.

3. Tips for a cause

This one is all about tugging on customer heartstrings. Replace your “tips” label with a heartwarming cause like:

  • Vet bills
  • Student loans
  • Puppuccino fund

4. Interactive jars

Providing customers with a chance to receive a reward in exchange for a tip ensures that your tip jar will fill up quickly. Set up two jars for this approach, one for tips and another for their chosen reward.

Consider offering fortune teller messages, a bucket of compliments, or a joke in return for a tip.

5. Voting jars

Another great way to encourage tips is to let your customers vote on your next promotion or special. Set out two tip jars and ask questions like:

  • Help us decide on next week’s special! Sweet or savory?
  • Which service would you buy in a bundle? Hair cuts or blowouts?
  • Which products deserve a special promotion? Pet food or toys?

6. Competition jars

Nothing gets people reaching for their wallets quite like a real-life competition. Let your customers vote on things like team rewards (pizza or cash), events (laser tag or paintball), or employee of the month—you’ll need a couple more jars for this option. 

7. Tip jar contest

If you really want to fill up that tip jar, offer your customers the chance to win a prize.

For every dollar placed in the tip jar, your customers can put their name on a card for a chance to win things like a coupon, gift card, or complimentary beverage.

8. Celebrity faceoff

Print off two headshots and let your customers pick their favorite! This works best when you pin two similar celebrities against each other like:

  • Britney vs. Christina
  • N’sync vs. Backstreet Boys
  • Elon vs. Mark
  • Bluey vs. Peppa

Give these ideas a whirl and take note of which ones spark the most joy. Don’t forget to involve your team too—coming up with funny tip jar ideas can be a great way to connect!

Homebase can help you record and administer tips to employees

All puns aside, administering pooled tips from tip jars is far from a laughing matter. Without a way to include these tips in your existing payroll process, you’ll have to put time aside to count change and pass out envelopes of cash. Sounds a bit old school, if you ask us.

Homebase brings tip distribution into the twenty-first century, allowing you to incorporate pooled tips into your existing payroll process. So, whether your team directly earns tips during their shifts (like servers and bartenders) or shares pooled tips from a tip jar, Homebase helps ensure your team is accurately compensated. And, to avoid any confusion, tips or bonus pay are always clearly identified on their payroll.

Worried about tax complexities? No need to fret. Homebase automatically withholds income tax for all supplemental pay, eliminating the need for additional calculations on your part.

Whether you prefer to run a separate payroll for tips or include them in your team’s regular payroll, Homebase makes it simple to record and administer bonuses for each team member.

​​Easily distribute pooled tips with Homebase. Try for free.

Tip jar ideas FAQs

What is the purpose of a tip jar?

The purpose of a tip jar is to provide your customers with a voluntary way to express their appreciation. Whether your barista made a perfect cup of coffee or your nail technician threw in a complimentary design, tossing a couple of bucks in a tip jar tells them they’re doing a great job.

What businesses use tip jars?

While there are no specific restrictions on which businesses can utilize tip jars, they’re commonly found in establishments where customers directly interact with employees. This includes places like coffee shops, food trucks, nail salons, pet stores, and even escape rooms.

How do employees get their tips?

Employees usually get tips directly from customers or tip jars. But the way those tips are distributed depends on management. Sometimes, tips are pooled and shared among staff, but usually, employees keep most of the tips they get directly.

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