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Should American restaurants abolish tipping?
Old 08-22-2013, 09:37 AM   #1
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Should American restaurants abolish tipping?

Yes, we've had threads on this before, but I thought this was a good summary article and I agree with the authors observations and conclusions, my bias acknowledged. I've never been uncomfortable with tipping, and I waited tables myself throughout my college years in both high end and basic restaurants (so I have seen it from both sides). IMO rolling tips into restaurant prices will diminish service (guaranteed), cost more, and servers will probably net less. YMMV

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So in the end, as dreamy as it would be to not have to end a delicious meal on a sour note with multiplication and decimal points, I came around on our tipping system. Overall, it seems financially better for the waiter, provides better service for the customer and gets us to order more liberally, which is better for the owner.

Mostly, I think tipping is just too ingrained into our psyche. After all, this is America, where we expect that our hard work will be rewarded with better pay. What's more capitalistic than that?
Should American restaurants abolish tipping?
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:13 AM   #2
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I have spent quite a bit of time in New Zealand which has never had a pervasive tipping culture. And, I actually think servers there tend to make more money, at least in lower and middle tier establishments, than servers in the USA. But, I have not done any research to verify this assumption.

Service does seem to be spottier without tipping, ranging from absolutely fantastic to abysmal. I just vote with my feet by not returning to places with bad services, much as I do in the USA. The only difference is that I do not have the personal satisfaction of leaving a miserly tip for bad service in New Zealand.

Prices were generally higher across the board in New Zealand; but, I have no idea how much of that was actually related to tipping vs. not.

Tipping cultures seem to have a bigger issue with travelers than with residents since many travelers do not spend enough time in a culture to figure out the nuances of who should be tipped, when and how much.

Tourism and immigration is starting to bring a bit of a tipping culture to New Zealand; and, many long time residents are very unhappy about this.
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Old 08-22-2013, 10:52 AM   #3
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we have forced tipping on F&B at the club - it's a win/win
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:15 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Big_Hitter View Post
we have forced tipping on F&B at the club - it's a win/win
We have forced tipping also at our club to the tune of 17% and overall I would rate the service very good. One time when it wasn't good I spoke to the dining room manager that same night. I mention this because of the post by CoolChange where he said he just wouldn't return to a place if they had bad service. That's also what my wife would do. I'm different in that I think the management needs to know why you are not returning. Maybe not right on the spot but they need to know first hand by a phone call later or a letter. Phone call is better because it affords management the opportunity to ask questions. How do they turn things around if they don't know about the problem?

I'll bet that people who travel overseas where tipping is not common (or the gratuity is added into the total and not a separate line item) would say that the service is generally very good because that is the norm. I don't think you could expect the same here because the wait staff knows that the tip depends on how they treat the customer.

Years before we met, my wife was a waitress in a nice restaurant. She relied on tips to earn a decent living in addition to her second job. In her opinion, management would just screw over the wait staff if the tip was included in the price. Just her opinion. How would this be regulated?

I would imagine thoughts on this subject to be all across the board.
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:28 PM   #5
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There was a restaurant here in San Diego that had a no tipping policy, but 18% was added on to every bill as a service charge. Yelp reviews on the service were poor, and the restaurant is now closed. I only went a few times even though it was 3 blocks from my house because they were just way too pricey, even before the service charge.
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:39 PM   #6
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I don't see tipping abolished. Even if that becomes policy, I don't ever see a "Psst..here's a little extra for better service" going away.
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Old 08-22-2013, 12:52 PM   #7
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Tipping is one of those bug bears for me, I don't mind tipping if I feel I've had good service but I do hate that it's expected, the reasons I am given is that wages are low for hair dressers, taxi drivers, servers etc but so are my wages and yet no one tips me, were off to Turkey next week and have been pre warned there are tipping boxes all over our hotel, will need to make sure I don't trip over them
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Old 08-22-2013, 02:51 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by JOHNNIE36 View Post
...

Years before we met, my wife was a waitress in a nice restaurant. She relied on tips to earn a decent living in addition to her second job. In her opinion, management would just screw over the wait staff if the tip was included in the price. Just her opinion. How would this be regulated? ...
I would imagine they would have trouble hiring/keeping wait staff if the total compensation was sub-par. Management would figure it out pretty quickly. I would expect it would be self regulating.

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