Woman showing off pigtails(l+r), Dollar bills left as tip(c)

Kckate16/Shutterstock @autumnsgotaux/Tiktok (Licensed)

‘The pigtail theory scares me so much…’: Server shows how much she makes in tips with different hairstyles

'I always wore pigtails in customer service just bc I figured it would be hard to be mean to a girly in pigtails.'


Brooke Sjoberg


Posted on May 8, 2024   Updated on May 8, 2024, 11:39 am CDT

While working in the service industry, some employees have discovered certain tricks that lead to higher tips from customers.

Many of these have spread like wildfire due to the popularity of TikTok, where servers from all over the country share their best practices for enhancing customer experiences, for better or worse.

From asking customers to please factor their children into dinner reservations, to advising that customers tip on the total amount before any discounts or gift cards, or advising other servers to do certain things for higher tips on tables with children, there is no end to the advice being offered to both customers and servers on TikTok.

More recently, servers have been exploring and sharing their results with the phenomenon of hair theory, in which a person’s hairstyle can change the way they are perceived by others, as well as how they are treated.

A primary focus of this particular trend in the outcome of different hairstyles for tipped servers is women in pigtails. Female servers have shared several videos describing the difference in their experience working with pigtails in their hair, versus working with their hair in a different kind of style.

More often than not, these servers have reported that their pigtails got the highest return on tips from customers.

In a pair of videos recently shared to TikTok, one server kept track of how much she made each day in tips, and what kind of hairstyle she was wearing.

Posted to TikTok by Autumn (@autumnsgotaux), she shows her hair in a ponytail on a day she earned $155 in tips; a low bun that only earned her $103 in tips; half-up pigtails with ribbons on a day she earned $188 in tips; bubble braid pigtails on a day she earned $197 in tips; and french braid pigtails on a day she earned $283 in tips.

The pigtail styles, per her observation, seemed to earn her the most money.

The Daily Dot has reached out to Autumn via TikTok direct message regarding the video.

Several viewers shared that in their work as servers, they had also noticed that pigtails were popular with big tippers.

“I’m curious to see if you get more tips with the super pigtails like boo,” one commenter wrote. “I did it once and it worked but didn’t like the stares of older men.”

“Pigtails making the most always makes me a little bit sad,” another said.

“I get the most compliments from old men when i’m wearing braided pigtails, its disturbing but it works,” a third claimed.

@autumnsgotaux this week was mid #pigtailtheory ♬ orijinal ses – ✮

Others suggested she run her experiment a few more times with some adjustments to determine whether certain days are just generally better for tips and not tied to her hairstyle.

“I feel like u gotta try a week with each hairstyle, some days ur gonna naturally get more tips because it’ll be busier than others,” one commented

“You should test different hairstyles but all on the same day of the week like every Friday wear it different!” another suggested. “That way business is similar.”

“If you actually want results, one hairstyle per week, then average all of the tip amounts together,” a third said.

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*First Published: May 8, 2024, 9:00 pm CDT