Free Minds & Free Markets

Forcing Restaurants to Pay Servers More Will Cost Everyone

Eliminating the tip credit will raise prices for consumers and leave fewer jobs for servers.

Scottmichael/Dreamstime.comScottmichael/Dreamstime.comYou don't often hear someone arguing against a pay raise. But that's exactly what many servers and bartenders across the country are saying: They'd rather keep their current hourly wage than do without their tips.

Come June, servers in Washington, D.C., might be out of luck if Initiative 77—a proposal that aims to eliminate the tip credit—passes at the ballot box. Restaurant owners in the district currently pay waitstaff $3.33 an hour, well below the minimum wage, with the expectation that they will earn the rest (and sometimes much, much more) in tips. If gratuities fall short, existing law dictates that employers must make up the difference. Even so, the initiative would require D.C. restauranteurs to increase base pay to the prevailing $15 minimum wage.

Who doesn't love a 350 percent raise?

Sounds great on paper, but in the wise words of The Notorious B.I.G., "more money, more problems." While restaurant profit margins have grown in recent years, they are still notoriously small, settling around 6 percent on average. Forced to implement a steep hike in pay, employers inevitably respond by upping menu prices and whittling down staff.

Manhattan's Union Square Café, for instance, eliminated tipping in late 2015 to become a full-fledged "hospitality-included" establishment. To cover the cost of this, prices on the already-expensive menu rose by 25 percent. Servers are now compensated via a revenue-share system, which is a bummer, as business has declined.

If Initiative 77 passes on June 19, Washington restaurants may meet a similar fate. It's impossible to calculate the precise impact the law would have on prices in D.C., but imagine if they followed Union Square Café's tenuous lead. Want to grab your favorite $12 cocktail after a long day? That'll be $15 now. What about a $16 burger, fries, and Coke? That'll be closer to $20. And the $50 steak you get when you want to treat yourself? That might feel more like an investment than a splurge.

Consumers will have to loosen their purse strings to enjoy a halfway-decent meal. But servers and bartenders—the people this measure purports to help—stand to lose the most.

"Our jobs, should they still exist, will be completely changed for the worse," says Joshua Chaisson, vice president of the Restaurant Workers of America, an advocacy organization dedicated to preserving the tipped wage system across the country.

The data agree with him. States that upped the minimum wage in recent years have disproportionately disadvantaged low-wage workers, with employers forced to cut hours or eliminate those jobs entirely.

"We like working for tips. We earn a great living working for tips. The idea that we need to be saved or helped is completely disingenuous at best and a bold-faced lie at worst," says Chaisson, who earns $28 an hour on average.

To be fair, restaurants in D.C. would still include an option for tipping, unlike Union Square Café in New York. So those servers fortunate enough to stay employed would have the potential to earn gratuity on top of an increased wage. But not for long. Just ask Dan Swenson-Klatt, who owns a bakery in Minneapolis. He is also a member of RAISE, a restaurant organization that in his words yearns for "a restaurant industry that doesn't need to have tipping as a way to pay people."

"Removing that [tip] credit is their first line of importance in getting to no tips," he recently told MinnPost.

RAISE is an offshoot of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, which is spearheading the national fight against the tip credit. Although ROC did not respond for comment, Diana Ramirez, director for the D.C. region, has told the Washington Business Journal that the organization hopes its efforts have a "professionalizing and stabilizing" effect on restaurant work.

At the core of this argument is the idea that the tipped wage system lends itself to sexual harassment, as it gives sleazy patrons an opening to engage in a perverse form of blackmail. That may be true, but in the #MeToo era, restaurants can certainly take hardline stances against such behavior without slashing its employees' earnings.

As far as "stabilizing" restaurant work goes, the only uncertainty is just how much servers will exceed the minimum wage, not whether they'll meet it at all. Since employers must fill the gap if tips prove insufficient, waitstaff needn't fret if they're scheduled for a slow Wednesday lunch.

But without the tip credit, gratuities dwindle and menu prices balloon. Employees make less and consumers pay more. Everyone loses.

Photo Credit: Scottmichael/

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  • gormadoc||

    How the hell does it cost $16 dollars for a burger meal anywhere people want to live?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Government butting their nose into free market is why.

    There is no reason that a burger meal should cost more than $10. A fancy hamburger meal maybe $15.

    I can buy a 6 oz filet mignon steak for $10 at the grocery store, so doubling that to get that steak at a restaurant is not too bad. Hamburgers are NOT made from filet mignon, I call tell you that.

    Food is becoming waaaay too expensive and we still pay massive welfare to farmers.

    Part of it is Americans live in debt, so they rarely live within their means. I always wonder how so many super young people can afford a nice restaurant on a regular basis instead for only special occasions. Credit cards. Just like our government living on Chinese credit cards.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    "Food is becoming waaaay too expensive and we still pay massive welfare to farmers."

    All those farm subsidies are a major driver behind the high cost of food. A lot of that money is spent on artificially limiting the supply of various food items.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    True plus the subsidies create a skew in what food items Americans actually want. The government pretty much tells farmers what to plant. The USDA admits to artificially inflating food prices to get more money for farmers.

  • BYODB||

    Indeed, in my hometown that has a log of agriculture plenty of farmers are essentially paid not to grow anything. Go figure.

  • Rossami||

    Logic failure. If farm subsidies were the problem, they would be the problem at both the grocery store and the restaurant. Farm subsidies are a problem but they are not this problem.

    Farm subsidies do distort the market and that's never a good thing. But the total cost of food, even if you eat out a lot, is still the lowest it's been at pretty much any point in history. We have more food, better food and more varieties of food at costs that are unimaginably low to our ancestors.

  • JFree||

    we still pay massive welfare to farmers.

    That's not where the subsidies end up. If it was, then 'farming' would be an attractive profession for the young and especially for the unskilled - and you'd see a significant exodus out of cities into rural areas. If you split 'farming' into the classical factors of production - returns on land/labor/capital (and entrepreneur if you want for the 'mixing' of those factors) - ag subsidies end up going almost entirely to the landowner with a very small portion going to the bigger farm equipment (capital) providers. They are a taxpayer-paid rent to landowners - for the purpose of raising farmland prices to keep up with the existing subsidies that go to urban/suburban landowners.

    Granted most farmers do own some/most of the land they farm. But a major portion (30-35%) of farmland is owned by urban institutional investors, hedge funds, etc - and especially in the grain-producing areas. The subsidy allows 'farmland' to be financialized and turned into a portfolio asset where it can be easily arbitraged.

    It's all a cronyist shell game. Get a subsidy in place - and structure it so the blame/venom about it falls on someone else. And you get a much more stable diverse portfolio for your existing wealth.

    Directly monetizing the produced commodities would change the ultimate recipient - but that would also create competition for banking. And that's a big nono in this country.

  • JFree||

    The same sort of cronyist subsidy occurs re Sec8 housing vouchers, Medicaid/Medicare, and a ton of other 'welfare subsidies'. The purported recipient gets the public opprobrium - the real recipient gets to vacation in Bimini while sucking on the public teat.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Some of this is that restaurants made massive profit on sodas which millennials drink less of. Maybe that is why restaurants have raised their food prices.

    All I know is that I sometimes get takeout from On The Border. They now charge for takeout containers. I asked why they don't factor that into the price of the food. The corporate tool replied that they did not want to add container prices to the prices for everyone. I replied that I did not want to pay for the silverware and plates that people eating there use.

    In all honesty, I am fine with takeout patrons paying for the containers it just seems like corporate chains use any excuse to keep prices artificially high. At 6% profit margins no average, I can see they do.

    Maybe restaurants will get a market correction and go back to begging people to eat at their establishment.

  • The Laissez-Ferret||

    Food has never been a high profit item, but booze is. I managed a bar in a former life and we'd buy a one liter bottle of vodka for seven bucks and get 30 shots from it at an average of 3.50 a shot. I agree that people go out way too much and leverage it on credit cards. I enjoy going out for a meal but it's only 1-2 times a week max. My employees who typically sweat their last few days until pay day are almost always the ones who buy lunch out everyday at 6-8 bucks a pop. They don't understand how much money they waste in buying cheap shitty food vs making a lunch at home.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Amen. I even buy my alcohol by the case to save 10% which more than pays for sin taxes. Its not like the stuff goes bad over a few year period.

    People who need financial counseling tend to get glossed over eyes when you look at their expenses and explain how much money they can save each month by cooking their own food at home. They just have a tough time understanding how much cheaper a cooked meal is compared to processed food or takeout.

    I can make a lasagne for less than $15 which can feed 4+. This comes out to be a meal for four at less than $4 per person. Can you even get a burger meal at Mcdonalds for that anymore?

  • StackOfCoins||

    Time is money; cooking takes time.

    I can get a frozen Lasagna for one that costs $3 and takes me 2 seconds to prepare, and 15 minutes in the microwave.

  • hello.||

    If optimizing your calorie intake for a given amount of dollars is your only concern that makes sense but quality is a factor too. It makes sense that a generation of people raised in daycare who can't cook anything but microwave ramen noodles eats out more. If you can actually make yourself food that doesn't taste like shit for around the same cost of frozen food that does taste like shit you'd opt for the home made food if you aren't a lazy cunt.

  • Sevo||

    "...If you can actually make yourself food that doesn't taste like shit for around the same cost of frozen food that does taste like shit you'd opt for the home made food if you aren't a lazy cunt...."

    You can make your own furniture, too, if you aren't a lazy cunt. Right, lazy cunt?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Of course. I am talking about young adults without much money.

    Time is a much crueler mistress if you have to wait until next paycheck because you overspent.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Furthermore, you can always cook big meals on the weekend and freeze them to reheat during the week.

    It seems like simple 'living within your means' 101 to me.

  • JFree||

    'Time is money' only if you are actually making money during that time.

    Otherwise that phrase is merely a form of signalling - I'm really busy because I'm important so I'm better than you

  • commentguy||

    If you're paid by the hour then it may well be financially worthwhile to pay someone on a lower wage than you to make your meal. And even if you aren't paid by the hour, are you going to be the guy that leaves work slightly earlier than the rest in order to get home and start cooking?

    So, not really signalling for a lot of people.

  • IamNotEvil||

    Home is 20+ mile commute. So 1 to 4 gal has @$2.70 per and 25 min each way leaves 10 min to prepare cook and eat. $12/day to eat out is a quality of life issue so I budget for the cost. Plus I don't have any clean up when finished.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Many people make these choices and that's free market. Many people only eat out a few times a week to save money. Its fun to get special meals cooked for you. Its not fun to be strapped for cash between paydays because someone wastes money on 'wants' rather than 'needs'. Restaurant food is a 'want' not a 'need'.

    This mainly becomes and issue with people who cannot stay in budget to afford all the other things in life.

    As someone who is well-to-do in life, much of that came from saving money on do-it-myself stuff like cooking rather than paying someone else to do it. Paying someone else is nearly always more expensive.

    As I pointed out, if time is an issue you can cook everything on the weekend or days off and freeze it to reheat on a different day. Cooking you own food can save you a small fortune. Just look at your receipts for eating out each month and what you would spend to buy food to cook. Add that up over years and that is how much you can invest.

  • Ride 'Em||

    ^^^This. It leads to a simpler and more enriching life. My philosophy has always been: it is easy to make the payments at the end of the month when there are no payments to be made. The problem, Love, is that you are implying budgeting. When I was young schools still taught Aesop's Fables, particularly the one about the ant and the grasshopper. To a certain extent, schools tried to prepare students for an independent life where you weren't a burden to others, now they teach how to be a SJW and what to be offended by.

    High schools really need to teach such life skills like balancing a checkbook and budgeting. If you avoid the high interest on credit card debt you can afford a better life.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    They now charge for takeout containers. I asked why they don't factor that into the price of the food. The corporate tool replied that they did not want to add container prices to the prices for everyone.

    That actually sounds like a perfectly reasonable response.

  • Agammamon||

    Except that the price for the non-take-out serving gear *is* included in the price even if you do take-out.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    And you don't leave a tip when you take out.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I used to leave a tiny 2% tip for takeout so hopefully the cooks would get it. I don't if they charge for containers.

  • OGREtheTroll||

    Cooks never get the tip. Its forbidden by IRS regs. Tip pools can only go to employees who "customarily recieve tips" and this has been defined as Front of House staff such as servers, bartenders, hosts, busboys, and runners. Cooks and dishwashers cannot receive a tip share unless the employer is not taking the tip credit.

    But its customary to leave a tip for the server or bartender who handles the order as theres usually a bit of work involved in taking the order and preparing it for takeout. Not nearly as much as waiting on a table, but 5% to 10% is a reasonable tip here.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Everything it costs to run a restaurant should be factored into the food and drink prices. Otherwise, you're probably doing it wrong. I literally am costing the restaurant less money by not eating there. I don't take up a table for paying customers and still pay for the food at regular prices. The restaurant can get more paying customers per hour the more takeout orders are placed.

    With that being said, I will either be fine with paying an extra fee for takeout or wont.

  • Rhywun||

    I bet it's some woke eco-nonsense.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    On the Border went from thin plastic containers to heavy duty plastic, so they are charging more and using more material for no apparent reason.

  • jerbigge||

    I'm old enough to remember that the only people who "ate out" were the rich and travelers. Otherwise the average middle class family only ate out on special occasions. Otherwise food was purchased at the "food store" (supermarkets appeared first in the larger cities) and cooked and eaten at home. Here locally the first "fast food" place didn't open until the 1960's. Supermarkets first appeared about this time too. Otherwise you bought your food, cooked it and ate it at home.

    Get the prices up high enough and this is going to be a return to that era.

  • Ben of Houston||

    It goes in cycles. We have records of what we would call fast food restaurants from the Roman era. These include food carts and stand-up restaurants that did not even offer seating.

  • StackOfCoins||

    Because people are suckers.

    Disneyland charges about $15-20 for their fast food items, but you're in a giant complex that can easily take 1-2 hours to get out of and find a drive-through.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Isn't that $15-20 per item. Like $15 for a slice of pizza not including a drink?

    Those tourist traps live up to their names.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    How the hell does it cost $16 dollars for a burger meal anywhere people want to live?

    It doesn't. At least not anywhere any sane person would want to live. Unfortunately, sometimes people have to live where their work is.

  • NoVaNick||

    I paid close to that at a McDs at the Amsterdam Airport last summer-the good thing was that a half liter can of Heineken cost less than a smaller sized soda there.

  • MichaelL||

    God forbid those who eat out to pay those who work, for their convenience! The underpayment needs to stop! Eliminating tips might be the first step. But then, how many would go the extra mile to provide good service...just because?! Society has forgotten about considerate treatment and just plain being polite! Cook it at home or don't complain about the cost!

  • SQRLSY One||

    Government Almighty LIKES policies like this because... They raise more taxes!!!

    Follow the money!!!!

    We should all be paid $12 million per year min wage... THINK of how much money Government Almighty could raise!!!!

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Obvious solution is for government to just butt out. It's none of their business to set minimum wages or to say how those wages are paid. Tax collection may make the amount of wages their business, if you swing that way, but that's a different matter.

    Every time governments butts in, it fucks up. Government is the most incompetent organization I have ever known, and I've had several startups evaporate from underneath me. None were anywhere near as incompetent as government on its best day.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    With businesses, you have to keep customers happy. The government does not really have to keep its slaves happy. They just have to keep us from getting too angry.

  • Thomas L. Knapp||

    "Want to grab your favorite $12 cocktail after a long day? That'll be $15 now. What about a $16 burger, fries, and Coke? That'll be closer to $20. And the $50 steak you get when you want to treat yourself?"

    Anyone who pays $12 for a drink, $16 for a burger combo, or $50 for a steak either has more money than sense and deserves to get taken for more, or is on an expense account and just doesn't care.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    The expense account thing has a bigger impact than many people realize, especially in a political-industrial complex like D.C. Prices in general, and annoying add-on fees all get bundled onto expense reports without much question.

  • MikeP2||

    HAHA. screw'um

    that's what happens when local government has been mono-party ruled for decades and continually moves toward hyper-proggyism. They are eating their own.

    DC, and NYC as well, are ungodly expensive, and the only reason the restaurants can maintain such high pricing is that the locals have more money than sense. In DC's case, they are living large off our tax dollars that floods into that cesspool of corruption.

    No sympathy. If they don't like it, then stop voting for your statist overloads.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Tips are discriminatory to ugly and unpleasant people.

    Anything we can do to get rid of them will promote our constitutional right to complete equality.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    Tips or ugly people?

  • Don't look at me.||

    It would be better to get rid of the unpleasant people. You can always put a bag on ugly people. Tips are ok.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    What about gorgeous and unpleasant?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    What about gorgeous and unpleasant?

    Hate fuck and then kick them to the curb?

  • Don't look at me.||

    That's my policy.

  • Don't look at me.||

    That's my policy.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    That's my strategy with the ugly unpleasant ones as well, though there is a lot more alcohol involved.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    When someone bitches about getting low tips, its usually them not doing well at making the customer's experience worth 20% of the tab. Some serve staff expect 20% as a minimum. Fuck that...$0 is the minimum.

  • CDRSchafer||

    One beer at a restaurant costs as much as a six pack in a supermarket. Then I have a pay 20% additional for a guy to bring it from the refer to my table. This is why I eat at home and then I can drink while I cook.

  • SIV||

    More restaurants should switch to counter service.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Honestly, I think the corporate restaurant business is run by amateurs.

    They rarely find a void in the area for food type and then have extra people standing around during slow times and not enough employees available during peak times. We have 4 Mexican food restaurants in a 5 miles radius and they are raely full of customers. I get that entry level employees are unreliable but flex hours with incentives for coming in on short notice would help.

    Government fucks up things a bunch too by mandating minimum wages and minimum hours to be considered full time for health insurance and all that bullshit.

  • OGREtheTroll||

    Actually since obamacare rolled out most corporate restaurants are doing all they can to keep everyone to under 30 hours/week. So what happens is that management cuts staff as soon as possible. For instance, as soon as the dinner rush is over half the kitchen staff gets cut. It theres a late pop the kitchen (and the customers) get hosed. But thats a small price to pay compared to health care for everyone.

    Its not untypical to see people work 5 or 6 shifts a week for 25 to 30/hours week.

    Oh and yes they'll call people in if they think they need them, but no way in hell is anybody getting a pay incentive to come in on their day off.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    It sounds like bartenders and waitstaff have a better grasp of basic economics than their so-called betters. But as others have pointed out here, said bartenders and waitstaff don't seem to grasp the consequences of voting for their so-called betters.

  • JFree||

    What voting choice do they have? Nannies v people who spit on them.

  • BYODB||

    Want to grab your favorite $12 cocktail after a long day? That'll be $15 now.

    I feel like this is intended for this audience, all right.

    The data agree with him. States that upped the minimum wage in recent years have disproportionately disadvantaged low-wage workers, with employers forced to cut hours or eliminate those jobs entirely.

    Uh, duh. This has been known for so long that it's amazing any retard doesn't know that raising the minimum wage has the opposite of it's supposedly intended consequences. In fact, the only people who appear to have been honest about minimum wage laws are those who first enacted them explicitly to cut out African American and immigrant labor from the labor pool.

    I hope D.C. does this to shoot themselves in the foot, but lets face it politicians are going to charge those more expensive dinners to their expense accounts and we'll all end up footing the bill. There's virtually no chance that the social-signaling idiots of D.C. will go against minimum wage laws.

  • Juice||

    Want to grab your favorite $12 cocktail after a long day? That'll be $15 now.

    Right? And wtf are you talking about? It's already $15 in a lot of places.

    Fuck buying expensive cocktails in a bar/restaurant. It's so not worth it. If you want them so bad, make it yourself. It's really not that hard.

    And fuck $9 beers. Stick your $9 beer in a small "pint" glass right up your ass.

  • SIV||

    For $15 it better be the mother of all tiki cocktails served in a hollowed out pineapple or coconut shell that provided actual ingredients to the drink. That, or one of those bloody Marys with a hearty appetizer-sized meat or seafood garnish.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    95% of the people in this country have been educated by someone who thinks unions are a good idea.

  • jerbigge||

    They are to those members who keep their jobs. Unions are one of the driving forces behind automation. They raise labor costs high enough that it becomes economically sensible to automate the job and lay off the employee who used to do it.

    I suspect those teachers who always want more $$$ should consider that with modern technology, a child with a computer and full time Internet access effectively becomes "self educating" once they learn to read enough so that they can use the computer. It's simple enough to turn school textbooks into electronic books "readable" by tablet or computer.

    The consequence of raising your "cost" to an employer beyond a certain point will lead to your job being automated and your next job will only be one that can't be automated.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    Good points.

    I hope the tipping point comes before my son gets to college, though maybe $50,000/yr for unlimited brothel privileges may not be his worst investment.

  • hello.||

    They should just exclusively hire illegal Mexicans while the government looks the other way like the entire ag industry does. Exclude law-abiding people from the work force with a million regulations and impossible wage laws then demonize them as lazy welfare mooches and use their lost jobs to justify more illegal immigration. Rinse and repeat. That's literally the Reason and Cato immigration policy proposal. Laws are for the little white people.

  • Agammamon||

    . . . hire illegal Mexicans while the government looks the other way like the entire ag industry does.

    Yeah, no. Around here, during the harvest seasons, you can't sneeze without getting some on a Border Patrol agent out looking for illegals working illegally.

  • hello.||

    It's amazing how all of you fuckwits have that golden anecdote that defies all of the data.

  • hello.||

    If you get a chance the next time you run into that army of border patrol agents you might want to point them in the direction of Fresno

  • soldiermedic76||

    Your data doesn't support the statement the entire ag industry (or even that illegals are the majority of the Ag industry). In fact all it states is that again and construction tend to be the industry illegals work more in. You misinterpreted the data set.

  • Sevo||

    Naah, the fuckwit lied.

  • soldiermedic76||

    You misinterpreted the data set is pretty much science talk for "the fuckwit lied".

  • soldiermedic76||

    Not the entire ag industry, most cereal crops are mechanized and have very low manpower needs. Also, most beef ranches utilize very minimal man hours. And the dairy industry is increasingly mechanizing, to the point that it's manpower needs have dramatically reduced. You would be hard pressed to find an illegal working on a wheat farm on the northern praries or the palouse and very few working on a ranch in the Rockies or intermountain west (or northern praries). Yes, the fruit industry still is manpower heavy, but agriculture is increasingly mechanized and has much less need for illegal immigrants.

  • soldiermedic76||

    BTW used my GI bill to go back to grad school and now work as an Ag professor.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    So much for pay for performance. Now you'll get the same impeccable service you receive at the DMV or McDonald's.

    Leave it to government to fuck up a working system.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    I'd be willing to bet that females make more in tips than men do. But equality is definitely the way to go here.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Why would I tip better with a pissed off little Communist young man compared to a pleasant young woman?

    Women are wired to please, so being pleasant works for them.

    Men normally want to complete tasks well to do a good job, so I don't understand why so many male servers are shitty at their jobs.

  • Juice||

    I've noticed I get friendlier service from females and more efficient service from males, but that's only when the service is good. If it's bad, then it's just bad regardless of gender.

  • JFree||

    They also get sexually harassed a ton more.

  • Blaze Miskulin||

    Not so, based on my 30 years working side-jobs in F&B.

    Better servers get better tips. In most places I've worked, the top earner was a usually a man. A lot of women (mostly when they first start serving) think they can flirt a little and get better tips. There are 2 problems with that. 1) time spent flirting means less time serving (especially other customers) and 2) when a married couple goes out, the wife is the one who pays the bill (AND leaves the tip).

  • soldiermedic76||

    My wife would be more pissed off that the female waitress wasn't also flirting with her.

  • Gasman||

    Service at McDonald's at least leaves me alone. Wait staff who interrupt repeatedly really annoy. Just be available and be attentive. Notice when I look your way (you have to be out on the floor to do that), and nod or subtly gesture. But until then, stay away. Don't ask how things are moments after being served, don't ask if I'm 'still working on that', and don't clear any plate until everyone at the table is finished (it makes both the slower and faster diner feel badly about their dining speed.)
    Come to think of it, about the only place that gets most of the above right is a super expensive french place, or Steak 'n Shake. Everything in between is pushing for too much table turnover.

  • soldiermedic76||

    Why is it wait staff always ask how your food is when your mouth is full?

  • jerbigge||

    We had great DMV's here in Michigan. Short waiting times, excellent service. Then we elected Jennifer Granholm as governor. She cut the DMV's way back, closed about 2/3 rds of them and understaffed the ones still open. One of the worst governors we've ever had...

    Problems with the DMV system isn't the fault of those working in them, but the state government that runs them. Like in everything, good service will be more expensive than poor service is. Private businesses usually don't do this too much, especially if they have a lot of competition. Walmart gets away with it due to low prices, but Amazon com has great customer service and can often beat Walmart for prices.

  • Tony||

    I recently had dinner at a restaurant for which the combined bill was over $1000. The waitress was downright snippy the whole time. But she knew that the gutter trash who don't tip waiters can't afford that restaurant, so she had no reason to be friendly. Something of a short circuit, I think.

  • hello.||

    I recently had dinner at a restaurant for which the combined bill was over $1000

    Imagine how disappointed he must have been when he got you home and found out your asshole is wide enough to store bowling balls.

  • BYODB||

    Or maybe it's just because you're a cunt to wait staff. It's just a thought, since 'nice' restaurants usually only employee 'the best of the best' of servers, and if they're ever 'snippy' they get fired instantly.

  • Tony||

    That's why it was so conspicuous. I'm very kind to waiters no matter what. There's no upside to being a cunt.

  • Don't look at me.||

    The way you tend treat people here fails to give credence to your claim.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I literally don't believe anything you say.

    You're a proven liar and bad person who fucks over as many nice people as you can.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    This comment was meant for Tony.

  • Tony||

    Honestly I'm a bit of a pushover who would rather let someone fuck me over than cause a scene. I think I've caused exactly one scene in my adult life, and it was over the phone. Unless you count that one 4th of July party, but I only remember the hangover.

  • BYODB||

    I won't assume that you behave the same way in real life that you do here, that would be pretty nutty of me.

    But I also know a lot of gay men that act like cunts at nice restaurants then get all pissy about the wait staff, so I'm torn on what to think about this.

    It's one reason why I prefer lesbians, actually. The more butch, the better.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    My lesbian neighbors grill out basically every night from March through October.

  • Juice||

    Especially the truck drivers.

  • Tony||

    I had a gay friend who was the absolute worst. Like special order everything off of something and then special order it all back on again. He actually kicked a waitress in the face once, but that was after a serious night of drinking. Lesbians are great when they're not intimidating.

  • gormadoc||

    Why would you be friends with that man?

  • Tony||

    I exaggerate but not by much. Drive-throughs were a nightmare. The face kick was actually an accident, and hilarious. He was my first gay friend, and I suppose I latched onto his strong personality in order to be and do things I would otherwise have been too shy for. Those were some of the best years of my life. But one does grow tired of strong personalities eventually. Perhaps the last straw was when he salted the communal chips and salsa without asking anyone else if they wanted extra salt. What a self-centered cunt, huh?

  • soldiermedic76||

    To be fair, most tortilla chips and salsa don't ever have enough salt.

  • Heraclitus||

    This makes no sense. Why would you pay 25% more for your food when tips were previously 15-20%? Where is the extra money going? I'm not buying it. If a server is taking care of $100 worth of items per hour then if you charge 12% more for those items you can raise the servers pay to $15 per hour and break even. Add a couple percentages for FICA and maybe some benefits and there you go. Consumers break even because they don't have to tip. I understand some servers are mad because they are making more than $15 per hour right now when tips are included. But think about it. If they are mad because they will ultimately get less, then that means restaurants may be able to pass on lower prices (when you exclude tips). If this means cooks and dishwashers are also going to get raises then yes, overall prices may rise. But then that just raises the whole servers vs. kitchen inequality debate. I shed no tears for servers when it comes to that debate.

    In summary, it is a non-debate overall. Change is needed because topping is stupid. Change will affect some people positively and some people negatively but in the end, the change is beneficial for everyone.

  • Juice||

    Change is needed because topping is stupid.

    When you get bad service, it's like you get a bit of a break on the cost of the meal, because at least you're justified in leaving less for a tip.

  • BYODB||

    Add a couple percentages for FICA and maybe some benefits and there you go.

    Are you serious? Just a 'a couple percentages' for some benefits? That's pretty hard to take seriously. I would assume that part of D.C.'s nonsense is that these employees would now be considered full-time non-exempt employees and, as such, would be eligible (and, indeed, required to provide benefits).

    Or, alternatively, they schedule all their employees as part-timers to avoid that requirement and...have to hire more people to make up the difference in shifts to keep everyone below the cut off.

    I'm not going to lie and say I have the math to illustrate a concrete final number, but it's more complicated than you're letting on here.

  • OGREtheTroll||

    restaurants already schedule almost all employees as part timers for that very reason. Go into any restaurant and you are hard pressed to find anybody outside of management who pulls down over 30 hrs/week.

  • Sevo||

    "...Go into any restaurant and you are hard pressed to find anybody outside of management who pulls down over 30 hrs/week."

    O-care made sure of this.

  • OGREtheTroll||

    This exactly.

    Assuming a 18% average tip rate, essentially 15% of the money spent by customers at a restaurant goes directly to the Front of House staff. This doesn't count the FOH wages which will come out of the roughly 25% total spent on all wages (FOH, BOH, and management salaries, with about half of that going to management in the form of pay and benefits). Profit will be about 4% (assuming a profit margin of 5%, which is pretty good).

    Point being, the FOH staff takes a bigger cut than anybody from what customers spend at a restaurant. By far. Now if FOH income is dropped down to what the BOH makes and is paid by the restaurant instead of the customer, the restaurant would need to raise prices about 10% to cover this. Maybe less. Servers won't be making $20-30/hr anymore, but menu prices shouldn't increase 20% either.

  • Sevo||

    "...but in the end, the change is beneficial for everyone."

    Assertions are not arguments.

  • stuartl||

    "Why would you pay 25% more for your food when tips were previously 15-20%? Where is the extra money going?"

    Taxes. Only some amount of tips are reported

    "Change is needed because topping is stupid."

    Except that it inspires better service. Have you ever been to a restaurant in France?

  • Juice||

    If you want to see inflation in action, just look at restaurant prices over the past 5 or so years. They've gone up a good 25% across the board at least. And then states and municipalities keep adding little taxes here and there and boom, fuck you for going out to eat.

  • Gasman||

    DIscussion at the Kirkwood MO city council meeting last month was basically that. And the restaurant owners were essentially all in on the tax hike too (benefiting a special use tax district for local improvements.) Both the restauranteurs and city believed that it was a free for all to tax the end user, as the price pop occurred after the patron saw the price on the menu and ordered. Sales tax of 4.625% is the number I remember as a youth. Now up to 12% in some locations around town.

  • Bender B. Rodriguez||

    At my brewery, (I'm only a 1/4 owner) we pay our servers around $6 an hour, which is more than double the required server wage for our area. Last payroll, our guys were making roughly $25 an hour in wage plus cc tips, not including cash tips.

    This has helped us attract and retain some really good workers, and I'm glad they are doing so well for our metro. But it has me to our payroll expenses pretty high in comparison to our competitors. A $15 minimum would put us right out of business.

  • OGREtheTroll||

    You'd basically have to prohibit tipping and raise prices a bit.

    The customers won't spend any more than they already are, but they are already spending some 115% of your gross income already. If you increased gross revenue by 15% and raised service staff wages to be comparable to the rest of the staff, what would your situation be then? Because thats really what the situation would be.

    I'll admit that an increase in menu prices would decrease customer spending a bit, but that would be a temporary adjustment as its a perceived cost increase to the customer not an actual one. And in the long run could actually reduce the customer purchase costs...i.e. for a 100$ meal that currently costs a customer 118$ with tip, a customer might in the future spend only 112$ for the same meal without tip. So more customers but lower incomes for servers.

  • jerbigge||

    Increased prices likely will push some customers to fast food where there are no tips. Others likely will buy more at the supermarket and cook for themselves. Then there are meals that you just stick in the microwave. I suspect one reason for so many restaurants is due to two earner families (DINKs, double income, no kids). Restaurant pricing is a lot like the minimum wage. Prices go up, business goes down, fewer jobs. Today's young people with their massive student loans, higher housing costs, etc., are likely to have less money to spend on things like "eating out".

  • Gasman||

    How much of this is the problem of being the first mover in the field?
    If the entire market of employers and employees simultaneously underwent this change, and tipping stopped entirely, then there would at most be a brief transient in customers as people got used to the higher, but all inclusive, price. At the end of the month, my credit card statement would likely show about the same amount spent at restaurants, regardless of how any particular credit slip itemizes service inclusive in the food price or at the bottom 'tip' line.

    One restaurant would be hard pressed to go it alone, and likewise any municipality within an economic region would also probably suicide. An entire economic zone would have to move at once, such as Lake, Cook, and Dupaige counties in Illinois, and Lake county in Indiana combining as a single economic zone.

  • NoVaNick||

    I've noticed lots of places now, esp those that cater to hipsters and where its not clear if they are a food store, bakery, or restaurant, now have a place to leave a tip even if I am buying something to go and all the person behind the counter does is hand me what I ask for. If its a cute girl, I don't mind leaving a little extra, but it generally seems annoying.

  • Gasman||

    Yep. They turn the iPad for your signature, and there is the option for 15%, 18%, and 25%, and if you look really hard, you can find the 'no thanks' option.
    Just tell me what you want for your good or service, then I can consider whether I like that price. I hate the guilt trip (or the 'please spit in my food' option) that is pushed after the price has already been agreed to.

  • Tony||

    I got the stinkeye from my sister who is a chef when I told her how often I have restaurant meals delivered. To the staff, packaging up the food and such is just as much work, but they don't get a tip. They hate it. Of course they're going to have to figure out how to live with it.

  • OGREtheTroll||

    Take out orders shouldn't bother the cooks so much unless they are at odd hours. Or if the place is disorganized and fails to keep the takeout containers stocked or in a handy to reach place. But as far as the cooking line goes, theres no real difference; and in fact its somewhat easier as the timing issues are a bit more relaxed as opposed to managing a 3 or 4 course table.

    Its customary to leave a tip for a carryout order in the range of 5 to 10% as the server or bartender has to take the order and enter it for the kitchen plus package the order. Not as much work as waiting on the table in house, or as much as a delivery driver, but its additional work nonetheless.

  • Tony||

    I do tip when carrying out, but delivery drivers and, I gather, most other humans do not.

    People have a quaint expectation of being waited on in exchange for a tip. That of course doesn't work when the tip makes up a bulk of the worker's pay, meaning payroll is passed on to the customer, as if raising menu prices by enough to cover a living wage would make any difference whatsoever to the customer.

  • Gasman||

    Good money in them tips. Used to be all cash*, and that went largely unreported, 'saving' the employee and employer each 7.65% on social security and medicaid, and the employee from paying any income tax. Who wouldn't want to take home 75% of their pay as undeclared cash?

    *the amount that flows through sales receipts via credit cards probably forces reporting on that amount. But still, cash economies run largely off the books and off the tax grid.

  • Longtobefree||

    The IRS has a nice book full of the assumptions of how much a server makes in tips. And that is what they require you to report as tips, no matter what.

  • santamonica811||

    "Manhattan's Union Square Café, for instance, eliminated tipping in late 2015 to become a full-fledged "hospitality-included" establishment. To cover the cost of this, prices on the already-expensive menu rose by 25 percent. Servers are now compensated via a revenue-share system, which is a bummer, as business has declined."

    I call BS on Union Square. They did away with tipping and raised prices by 25%. That makes sense to every customer who was already tipping at a 25% rate. In other words, almost no one. If I were a customer there, I would be saying to myself, "The restaurant is using this new policy as a way to rip off their customers (or, to be more fair, to massively raise their prices and hope customers will wrongly attribute all of it to the no-tip policy)."

    I tend not to patronize restaurants--or other businesses--where I feel taken advantage of. I have zero surprise that their business went down. Don't blame it at all on the new no-tip policy.

  • mmmjv||

    What good are tips when the boss just takes them? That's legal now because of Trump.

  • Sevo||

    "That's legal now because of Trump."

    You and that hag lost, didn't you?

  • Tony||

    Perhaps if you reserved a single brain cell for appreciating the point, you wouldn't embarrass yourself so much by licking Trump's nutsack all the time.

  • soldiermedic76||

    I hate when people snarkily ask for a citation, but at the risk of hypocrisy, could you please provide a citation?

  • SimonP||

    It's not true, but not for lack of trying. Trump's Secretary of Labor had proposed a rule that would allow employers to take a share of pooled tips. But the spending bill passed in march nixed that. It allows for tip-pooling with non-tipped workers in the back of a restaurant, but specifically excludes employers, supervisors, and owners from dipping into the pool.

  • IndependentTexan||

    Can't believe you didn't mention he real reason why government wants to make this change: higher salaries are taxed W-2 income while tips are for the most part undeclared.

  • Blaze Miskulin||

    I spent about 30 years working in bars and restaurants--as a primary job when I was young, and as a side job when I got older.

    I FULLY support the low-wage + tipping model. Every good server I know also does. There are 2 major benefits:

    1) Good servers get good tips. Bad servers get bad tips--and quit because they're not making enough money. This means, over time, a restaurant builds up a good staff without having to raise prices, or pay unemployment benefits. It also means that crappy co-workers disappear fairly quickly. Good for the employer, good for the servers, good for the customers.

    2) Good servers get good tips. This means you're getting paid for how well you work. If you're willing to put in the work and learn the skills, you can walk home with a big wad of cash every night. The last time I worked as a waiter was at my sister's restaurant. As family, I would work just for tips (plus a meal and a beer at the end of the night). I would put in 4 hours and make a minimum of $40/hour--in a mid-western town of 3,000 people. That's more than the median hourly wage for physical therapists, radiation therapists, speech pathologists, and MRI technicians. Outside of fancy restaurants in big cities, most servers aren't doing this as a primary job. They're either picking up extra cash or paying their way through school.

  • Tony||

    This is an argument for tipping in all service industries. (And don't forget the sexual harassment angle.)

    Sure it's great for waiters who get to take home a wad of cash, but has the waiter at a $100/plate restaurant really done that much more work than the one at a cheap diner? Fast food workers have a pretty rigorous day and they get no tip at all. There is a measure of unfairness here (which of course someone does benefit from).

    It is quite possibly true that waiters in non-tip countries aren't as friendly. But you get used to is, just as we have gotten used to unfriendly DMV clerks (they don't get tips either). Tipping is a way for restaurants to advertise lower-than-market prices for their food while the customer subsidizes payroll to make up the difference. I don't know if a hot waitress's extra spending money is worth ignoring all of these problems.

  • Don't look at me.||

    Fast food work is not equal to serving tables in a high end restaurant.

  • Tony||

    Yeah it probably sucks more.

  • sarcasmic||

    Supply and demand. The number of people with the skill, knowledge and temperament to serve tables at a high end restaurant is much smaller than the number of people who can hack it in fast food.

    Though I doubt you could do either.

  • Blaze Miskulin||

    And... another guy that's never worked in the food service industry.

    but has the waiter at a $100/plate restaurant really done that much more work than the one at a cheap diner?

    Yes. Absolutely yes. Would you suggest that the sales staff at Graff in Manhattan should be paid the same as the gal at the watch counter in Wal*Mart? That c-note waiter needs to know every ingredient of every dish, how it's prepared, and how that preparation can be changed--and the menu changes nightly. They need to know how to walk a customer through the menu using the customer's personal tastes to find the best match for both their pallet and mood that evening. And, most of all, the c-note waiter has to deal with the most arrogant, condescending assholes and not tell them to go fuck themselves with meat grinder.

    Fast food workers have a pretty rigorous day and they get no tip at all.

    Fast food workers have a cake-walk compared to a full-service waiter. It's not even close.

    I don't know if a hot waitress's extra spending money...

    And there we have it. You're either an ass or a troll. Either way, you know nothing about waiting tables or tending bar.

  • Longtobefree||

    It's Tony; both a an option, depending on the day - - - - - - - -

  • sarcasmic||

    Forget it. People who haven't worked in the industry just don't understand.

    And you did explain it well. The two server jobs where I made the most money were places where I started in the kitchen. So I knew the menu inside and out. I could answer any question, and up-sell like a motherfucker. The other waitstaff hated me because I always had the highest sales, and tips, every single night. It also helped that I was boning the hostess with the mostess, and got sat more tables. ;-)

  • Tony||

    It also helped that I was boning the hostess with the mostess, and got sat more tables.

    Ah, the Invisible Crotch of the market.

  • Tony||

    I know nothing about being a mechanic either but I don't understand why they don't get tips while bartenders do. Is high-end restaurant work the hardest service work there is? Clearly not. So clearly it's a customary thing.

  • sarcasmic||

    Ah yes, the Marxist labor theory of value.

  • sarcasmic||

    DMV clerks are government employees who can afford to be rude because their "customers" have no alternative. After all, if you don't register your vehicle you could be killed. Think that's hyperbole? What happens if you don't pay? You will likely be caught and given a ticket. Don't pay the ticket and a warrant will be issued for your arrest. Resist the initiation of force by the police and there is a very real chance that you could be killed. All because you wanted to avoid the asshole at the DMV.

    If your waiter is surly then you can go somewhere else, or eat in.

    So that is an extremely stupid comparison, and exactly what I would expect from you.

  • stuartl||

    "It is quite possibly true that waiters in non-tip countries aren't as friendly. But you get used to is, just as we have gotten used to unfriendly DMV clerks (they don't get tips either)."

    Even worse, they are slower and do a bad job. Just like DMV. You may not care about my time and my enjoyment, but I do. As for your time and enjoyment, it sounds like you don't care, so I suggest going to cheap but sucky places.

  • My Dog Bites Better Than Yours||

    I never understood the rationale for tipping by percentage. Why should I pay more for "service" if I order a steak as opposed to a sandwich. It's about the same for the waiter either way.

  • Blaze Miskulin||

    Why should I pay more for "service" if I order a steak as opposed to a sandwich. It's about the same for the waiter either way.

    No. It's not.

    If you're ordering a steak, you're going to be a more finicky customer. Your server needs to make sure that things are more precise. A server does more than just grab the food and bring it to your table.

    The waiter is often asked to pair a steak with a wine. He needs to know enough about each steak--and the basics of wine--in order to do so. This includes knowing what seasonings or enhancements (if any) the chef uses on any particular steak.

    A steak generally comes with a cascade of courses. At the very least, you're going to be getting a salad before your steak. This means watching you to see how fast you're eating so that they can alert the chef when to start your steak (if you're a slow eater) or to offer something to fill the space between your salad and your steak (if you're a fast eater).

    Steak and sides usually come on separate plates, so the waiter is carrying more, and needs to place it on your table in the proper place and in the proper order.

    If you order the club sandwich, it's basically "fries or chips?" and what would you like to drink?

  • sarcasmic||

    There's also table turnover and plate price.

    I always over-tip (is there such a thing?) at breakfast. While turnover is high, plates are relatively cheap. So it's hard to get good numbers, even on a busy shift. I mentally calculate 20% in my head, and round up to the nearest five.

  • dchang0||

    Ah, so that means that since I'm the least finicky eater out of all my friends, I get to tip the least at the table if we all order the same steak. Good to know--I think I'll do that.

  • Blaze Miskulin||

    Then don't go back to that restaurant again--because waiters remember bad tippers. You aren't willing to pay for the service, you won't get the service.

  • dchang0||

    So, this was never about finicky eaters being charged more because they're finicky (in which case less-finicky eaters should pay less), but waitstaff wanting to maximize their earnings.

    I knew it.

  • Duelles||

    I waited tables in the1970's. We shared tips, & got paid the minimum wage I think around $3:25. I made $30k a year. Our entree's were $20-25 so it was an expensive place. Always work at the best place in town.

  • jerryg1018||

    "Eliminating the tip credit will raise prices for consumers and leave fewer jobs for servers/

    How so? Currently the tip comes out of the consumer's pocket along with the price of the meal.
    A $20 meal + a 20% tip = $20 + $4 = $2

  • jerryg1018||

    = $24

  • Longtobefree||

    This is straight forward.
    Working for tips is like commission sales; the good workers get paid very well and stick around.
    The poor workers get small tips and quit due to lack of income. (they are paid what they are worth)

    The problem for the socialists is that this form of compensation does not require equal outcomes. They want a system where the poor performer and the high performer get the same reward. And you can't fire the poor worker because everyone is now in a protected class. In fact the poor worker will become even less effective.
    A an intentional side benefit, the no tip model increases tax income from both payroll taxes and from sales taxes.
    Win win for everyone but the good performer and the customer.

  • Blaze Miskulin||


    And you brought up a point that I had forgotten: Nobody is bitching about a minimum wage for sales staff who work on 100% commission. Or even those who only get partial commission.

  • dchang0||

    There is a crucial difference between sales staff who work on commission and waitstaff that works for tips. Look at my post below about the three-party transfer problem.

    Here is the crucial difference stated succinctly and precisely:

    The sales commission is paid to the sales staff by the employer, not the customer.
    The tip is paid to the wait staff by the customer, not the employer.

    The sales commission model therefore is two discrete transactions: customer pays only the employing business for goods/services, employing business pays sales employee. It breaks the triangular shape of the three-party transfer that happens with tips.

  • dchang0||

    ALSO, the problem of posted prices (see my post below) applies here.

    Sales staff working on commissions always know their commissions rate before they do the labor. That is to say, the employers POSTS the price of the commissioned labor to the sales employee beforehand. It's a fixed rate.

    But the waitstaff does not have a posted price for their tips. If a waiter gets a string of bad tippers, they will walk out at the end of the day with a lower real tip rate. AND, the waiter does the labor before they find out their tip rate.

    This is why commissioned sales staff don't bitch. They know what they're getting into BEFORE they get into it. But really, waitstaff should not bitch either about bad tippers, because they are free to get another job with less uncertainty in their income.

    But since waitstaff and other people like Dave Ramsey can't stop bitching about it, we should solve this once and for all by eliminating tipping in our country.

  • sarcasmic||

    I worked at one place where we pooled the tips. I basically subsidized the lazy teenage girls. But it was worth it because I'd always volunteer to close, and then get all the end of the night tips. That was a Benjamin right there, in addition to what I made earlier.

  • Number 2||

    Don't fall for this racist, capitalist propaganda. Restaurant workers deserve a raise! D.C. restaurant owners should pay their employees a living wage. So what if prices go up? D.C. should pass this law immediately!


    The Bethesda, Md. and Northern Virginia Restaurant Associations

  • Sevo||

    Number 2|4.19.18 @ 8:33PM|#
    "Don't fall for this racist, capitalist propaganda. Restaurant workers deserve a raise! D.C. restaurant owners should pay their employees a living wage. So what if prices go up? D.C. should pass this law immediately!
    The Bethesda, Md. and Northern Virginia Restaurant Associations"

  • MichaelL||

    God forbid those who eat out to pay those who work, for their convenience! The underpayment needs to stop! Eliminating tips might be the first step. But then, how many would go the extra mile to provide good service...just because?! Society has forgotten about considerate treatment and just plain being polite! Cook it at home or don't complain about the cost!

  • Sevo||

    MichaelL|4.19.18 @ 9:56PM|#
    "God forbid those who eat out to pay those who work, for their convenience! The underpayment needs to stop! Eliminating tips might be the first step. But then, how many would go the extra mile to provide good service...just because?! Society has forgotten about considerate treatment and just plain being polite! Cook it at home or don't complain about the cost!"
    Fuck off, slaver.

  • dchang0||

    Whose fault is the underpayment?

    The problem of the tipping model ultimately boils down to the POSTED PRICES problem.

    We have the same problem in healthcare. The patient in healthcare often has NO IDEA how much a medical procedure costs, and the medical provider loves this.

    With tipping, there is no explicitly posted price of the waitstaff's labor. The customer can choose whatever they wish to pay.

    Whose fault is this entire situation? It's management's fault for not simply explicitly posting prices for labor. There are two ways to do this:

    1) The tipless model: raise the posted prices of food, post to the customers that tipping is banned, pay the employees a higher, posted wage.

    2) Retain the tipping model but set explicit minimum tips. There are some restaurants that do this now, but they fail to notify the customer early enough--the customer often finds out about the "minimum service charge" after they're done eating, which ends up being a nasty surprise. It would be wiser for the management to print on the menu that there is a minimum service charge so the customer can decide to walk out.

    HOWEVER, there is still a problem with this approach. It is not an honest posted price. The prices in the menu are too low compared to the actual, final price of the product. For instance, the burger may be posted as $10 in the menu but really cost $10 + 20% = $12 in the end. The $10 posted price is essentially a sleight of hand.

    Management is to blame. They can fix this.

  • billdeserthills||

    These raises in the minimum wage aren't helping anyone--the cost of living just keeps rising
    and everyone else makes less money everytime the cost of living goes up

  • Liberty Lover||

    More and more restaurants are adding the gratuity to the check. The governments mandates the server pay income
    tax based on a percentage of the total of the check already. It is less than the common gratuity, which is why servers like the current system. If given an hourly wage they will pay tax on all their income and lose some government benefits. Not really a big difference either way as far as I am concerned, and yes I almost always over tip unless it is horrible service.

  • Tom Beebe||

    If the purpose of a tip is, as I suspect you believe, for good service or maybe even good food, then what is withholding or eliminating a tip for? bad service, bad food? Probably, but who has the ultimate responsibility for your dissatisfaction? I suggest it is the management. Of course the management is hurt only marginally, if at all, by your action.

    Now consider that a restaurant was required to pay their employees 100% of that employee's compensation and all tips went to the house. That's not difficult these days when most meals are paid for, along with any tip, by credit or debit card. Who gets the message, who gets the hurt, for poor service or food? Would that make tip sizing or withholding more effective in getting YOU better results?

  • Blaze Miskulin||

    If the purpose of a tip is, as I suspect you believe, for good service or maybe even good food, then what is withholding or eliminating a tip for? bad service, bad food?

    A tip is a reward after the fact, not an incentive before the fact. And it primarily works in aggregate. Good servers get good tips and continue to work as good servers. Bad servers get bad tips and quit.

    > Of course the management is hurt only marginally

    Wrong. Management is hurt quite a bit by bad tips.

    1) It means a high turnover of staff. That costs for training; capital outlay; new payroll accounts, etc.

    2) Word of mouth is the strongest advertising--more so to the negative than the positive. A high turn over in wait staff reduces the quality of the service. And customers do notice. It's a sign of a bad restaurant. For regulars, your server is like your barber or your mechanic; you build a relationship, an understanding of expectations. Customers absolutely return to or avoid restaurants based on the servers. High-quality food is secondary. What brings back customers is the service.

    Servers are your marketing team. More than any advertising you buy. (And I'm saying this as someone who works in marketing!).

    Tips are a direct reflection of customer satisfaction. They are an almost pure market force. Tips are libertarian.

  • dchang0||

    If management is hurt quite a bit by bad tips, then they should do the rational thing and go to the tipless model. Raise prices of food to cover labor, tell the customers that tipping is banned in the restaurant (to make it clear so that the customers don't experience that uncomfortable moment of "should I tip or not?", and pay the employees a higher, proper wage.

  • Grooveman||

    I used to tip 20% but now I've cut back to 15% and as the minimum wage goes up to $15 over the next couple years I'll probably reduce my tips to 10-12%. Several area restaurants have already raised prices and put notes on the menu's explaining why they had to.

  • dchang0||

    I believe we should follow the model that Japan and most of the rest of the world follows: no tips at all--the cost of labor is factored into the posted price of food and the restaurant pays their employees full wages directly

    The reason is this: any time we have a three-party transfer of payments for goods/services, we get some kind of graft.

    Prime example of a corrupted three-party transfer: health insurers, healthcare providers (doctors/hospitals), healthcare consumers (patients).

    Another prime example of a corrupted three-party transfer: politicians, public sector unions, taxpayers.

    It is better for us to break these three-party transfers into two discrete two-party transactions in order to break the corruption. For instance, if health insurers paid only the patients directly, and then the patients paid the doctors directly, we would not see this dramatic healthcare inflation.

    Analogously, the problem with tipping would be solved if the customer paid the restaurant and only the restaurant and the restaurant paid the waitstaff.

  • dchang0||

    (In the example of politicians, public sector unions, and taxpayers, the proper fix is to break a transfer in the triangle. Some possibilities: ban public sector unions, ban ability of public sector unions to contribute to politicians, ban ability of politicians to overpay public sector workers represented by the unions, cap taxes so that graft is not feasible, etc.)

  • dchang0||

    Another problem with tipping:

    Waitstaff should take full responsibility for their personal choice to gamble with their income and stop bitching about bad tippers.

    Nobody forced a waiter to take a job that depends on tipping.

    And we have a few waiters here in this comment section who love the upside of the tipping model: that they could rake in huge earnings.

    So stop bitching about the downside of the tipping model: bad tippers. You waiters knowingly took a gamble with your income, so own it, ALL of it.

    If you don't like the uncertainty, go and choose a job with less uncertainty.

    (Also, to those waitstaff who are trying to reduce uncertainty by enforcing a minimum wage; you're also wanting to have your cake and eat it too by getting the upside of tipping with no downside.)

  • josh||

    This is only slightly off topic, but I can't stand people who tip shame others.

    I like to tip. It'll usually take truly bad service before I will tip less than 20%, and I often like to tip more. Hell, if the waitress is cute, she can forget my food entirely, and I'll still put her kids thru college. But it's become this moral crusade with a lot of people that if you don't tip at least 20% (and it will inevitably increase again in time, since it used to be 15%), you are undermining the livelihood of your fellow man. Some suggest that you shouldn't even eat in a restaurant if you can't afford to tip. No one shames restaurants for not living up to their obligation to make up the difference.

    It just grinds my gears is all....

  • XM||

    A restaurant used to pay its servers 3,4 bucks, who would earn that plus tip. Now you get rid of tips, pay workers an hourly wage, and make up for the lost tip by adding a few bucks onto the hourly wage. The cost is passed unto the customer.

    Who would want this, honestly? I never understood this. During dead hours the owner would be paying wages to waitresses who would be doing nothing. Some places already close down after lunch.

    Servers at a restaurant without tip might lose working hours.


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