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Eliminate Tipping
Old 02-22-2015, 08:17 AM   #1
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Eliminate Tipping

DW and I rarely go "out to eat" -- maybe three times a year. This is not the primary reason for so few visits but it is a major factor. I absolutely hate this practice.

Smart Reasons to Eliminate Tipping So Everyone Wins

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It poses puzzling questions for customers, adds instability to employee earnings and, ironically, leads to worse service at businesses.
Quote:
To reduce these risks, the restaurant business managed to convince customers that they are responsible for both evaluating and paying the wages of their serving staff. That reduces the businesses' direct labor costs, lowering the risk of them failing.

So tips, instead of acting as an incentive, simply shift the burden of paying workers from the business owner to the customer.
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And that disconnect between the tip and service defeats the entire purpose of the practice. The tip was historically a small token payment, designed to ensure “promptitude” – or promptness.
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Old 02-22-2015, 08:45 AM   #2
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Agreed! Now you can't even get away from the tipping option when ordering carry out. I only enjoy eating out when we go to a place that serves food we will never cook at home.
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:15 AM   #3
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It is an interesting scenario, but imagine if waitstaff didn't have to evaluate your ability to tip based on their ability to please you. No one would then be interested in how well you enjoyed your restaurant experience.

I've always observed that most waitstaff are pretty much independent workers, and no one is watching over them as they move through their day. Some sort of manager is present on the floor of "some' restaurants, but only to ask you how you liked your food. I find that our experience in a restaurant is pretty much related to how well the place is run and not the person waiting on us.

Poor service was usually a result of overworked staff - too many tables to attend to, and/or in different areas of the restaurant, and/or general confusion as to how the place is managed (poor menus descriptions, what days what pricing menus are offered, etc). Waitstaff just get the backlash of our unhappiness with the restaurant - and they don't give feedback to the owners. You can give some of them feedback these days with contact info offered (in a shallow attempt to express their concern with your overall experience) on their receipts. Chain restaurants are the worst offenders of "receipt concern". Guess it's like the Walmart Greeter who welcomes you when you enter and tells you to have a nice day after they check your receipt to your shopping cart (hello - it was supposedly implemented as a theft deterrent).
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:20 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by fritz View Post
It is an interesting scenario, but imagine if waitstaff didn't have to evaluate your ability to tip based on their ability to please you.
So that's why I have so many unpleasant experiences in restaurants -- I appear to be a lousy Tipper. I always wondered why. Thank you for enlightening me. <chuckle>
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:34 AM   #5
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So that's why I have so many unpleasant experiences in restaurants -- I appear to be a lousy Tipper. I always wondered why. Thank you for enlightening me. <chuckle>
My original complaint about how a lot of restaurants are managed is pretty much the reason why I have had unpleasant dining experiences in restaurants (I've never waited tables).
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:35 AM   #6
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This has been debated here several times. Having held two restaurant jobs while in college (one low end pizza place & one high end/fine dining), I couldn't disagree with OP more, it most certainly influences the performance of servers. We go out twice a week or more (why would you even care going out 3 times a year?). Every tip we leave (not limited to restaurants) is based on the service we receive, we usually tip very well, and servers at restaurants we're regulars at seem to like seeing us in their sections. I can see both sides, but have you ever been to a restaurant in a country where tips are built in/not discretionary? You might be surprised at how much you're required to pay for horrible service in some countries...

And the article makes points that are way too easy to counter. People can't do math - that's idiotic and sad? People eat out less during recessions (forced tipping would make that worse, not better)? Wages unpredictable, ask servers - they usually fluctuate in a predictable way at established restaurants, and good servers can make considerably more than bad ones. If that weeds out bad servers, sounds good to me.

All that said, there are some practices that are abused, tip pooling can be unfair IMO. When I was a server, I took care of that myself by always tipping my busboys and bartenders, others at times. And guess what, I always had the best support from them, and probably still netted more than an average server by providing the best service to customers we could.
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:36 AM   #7
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Yes, I'd like to eliminate tipping. I don't know how to get from here to there.

In my Utopian world, servers would get a base pay plus a percent of the bill. That's because they really do work harder when they're busy. I'd pay cooks a percent, too, for the same reason.

I'd also have a pencil on the table, and the bill would come with a "service quality" section that gives the diner a chance to rate the service by simply checking the appropriate box. Drop the quality survey in a box by the door on your way out. Pay servers an additional bonus for higher than average scores.

That's not going to happen. In the real world, I've become comfortable with "over tipping" in restaurants. I figure servers work hard at a tough job, and they frequently have low incomes overall. I feel okay about rewarding people who have the get-up-and-go to do those jobs.
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:57 AM   #8
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How about you pay all the waiters a decent salary and they all make the same amount of money. No more tipping allowed. Will some of the waiters give lousy service? Of course because some people are lazy. You solve that by firing the lazy ones, just like any other job.

If tipping is needed to ensure good service, then how come all workers don't get tips (or bonuses for people not working with the public)? I could name a million jobs where people get paid the same for the same job with no tips or bonuses for being a good employee. The bad employees will get fired soon enough.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:01 AM   #9
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A new Philadelphia (I think this is in Philadelphia) restaurant recently dealt with the tipping issue here: No-tip restaurant offers food for thought on employee wages, benefits - Chicago Tribune

Where the wait staff makes a decent wage and has benefits, but the food apparently is not more expensive than tipping-encouraged restaurants. I hope there is a follow up story in a few months as to whether the owners could maintain the set-up. I would bet not.

ETA: the prices actually are adjusted higher to pay for the benefits. And akthough "no tipping is necessary" the owner says,

Quote:
He noted about half the customers are leaving tips of 5 percent to 10 percent for a job well done — what Mora calls "a true gratuity," akin to the European custom of leaving a token amount for servers, who generally earn a living wage and have national health care.
Give me a break.... Either allow tipping or don't allow it.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:06 AM   #10
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Since I sincerely doubt this will ever happen in my lifetime, I don't think about it.

We eat out a LOT - several times a week. It's something I really enjoy. We cook a lot of food at home too. We only go out to eat at places where we really enjoy the food, and it's usually something that would be more trouble to make at home*.

Tipping is fine with me. We really enjoy good table service and tipping is a nice direct way to reward them. We go back to restaurants that have good table service as well as good food. Some places have had the same waiters for years.

*Certain foods we don't go out for because these are so quick and easy to do well at home and much cheaper provided you can get the quality ingredients: steak and king crab legs, for example.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:09 AM   #11
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For an article by a "research scientist" I was a little disappointed that it he didn't present any objective or quantitative arguments for why things would be so much better if we eliminated tipping. Granted the counterfactual case (i.e. no tipping but server compensation baked into the price) is hard to come by in the US, but there are at least a few restaurants that have switched over.

I used to think that tipping was a rather ineffective/suboptimal way to compensate servers but then I went Europe. At least at the level of restaurants I go to, service was much better in the US.

For ethnic restaurants where I have been to the home country (china/korea), I didn't really notice much service difference. Mainly they just bring your food with little/no chit chat and they never bother to ask how was your food.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Midpack View Post
This has been debated here several times. Having held two restaurant jobs while in college, I couldn't disagree more, it must certainly influences the performance of servers. We go out twice a week or more. Every tip we leave (not limited to restaurants) is based on the service we receive, we usually tip very well, and servers at restaurants we're regulars at seem to like seeing us in their sections. I can see both sides, but have you ever been to a restaurant in a country where tips are built in/not discretionary? You might be surprised at how much you're required to pay for horrible service in some countries...

And the article makes points that are way too easy to counter. People can't do math - that's idiotic and sad? People eat out less during recessions (forced tipping would make that worse, not better)? Wages unpredictable, ask servers - they usually fluctuate in a predictable way at established restaurants, and good servers can make considerably more than bad ones. If that weeds out bad servers, sounds good to me.

All that said, there are some practices that are abused, tip pooling can be unfair IMO. When I was a server, I took care of that myself by always tipping my busboys and bartenders, others at times. And guess what, I always had the best support from them, and probably still netted more than an average server by providing the best service to customers we could.
Pretty much matches my experience too. I did waitering while a high school senior and in college, and definitely the more efficient and better the waiter, the better the tips. I was able the earn a lot more waiting tables than I was at other jobs available to me while I was taking classes, so I stuck with it until my senior year when I took less pay for career related work experience.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:15 AM   #13
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Receipt tipping with credit cards is probably the only measurement management reviews as to waitstaff success/failure. I imagine they also use it to chastise waitstaff that are not pushing the moneymakers (liquor, appetizers, desserts). As mentioned previously, my observation is that they're not usually around supervising waitstaff, or very concerned if your dining experience is what you expected (use the receipt contact information for that ).
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:18 AM   #14
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Since I sincerely doubt this will ever happen in my lifetime, I don't think about it.....
+1. It's on my list of things I can't change so just let it go if we want to eat out.
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Old 02-22-2015, 10:19 AM   #15
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Since I sincerely doubt this will ever happen in my lifetime, I don't think about it.
Instead of tipping going away, I think America is slowly exporting the practice to other countries.
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Old 02-22-2015, 11:39 AM   #16
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One of the problems with tips is that you still might have to put up with lousy service.... and if it is really bad you cannot give a negative tip....

At my last job I used to go to a chain restaurant for lunch... there was one lady who gave poor service.... she just could not handle the lunch crowd... she probably got OK tips since it was not the worst service.... but there were times it was.... she should not have been working there... but the reality of it is that they do not get paid well and it can be hard to get good workers...


There was this one guy who was very good... when I first met him he did excellent service.... tip $1.50 ($6 lunch)... when I went back the next time he came up to me and put me in his section... still got excellent service.... later I would go in and request his section.... all for a small tip... but his time serving me was maybe 5 minutes total...

To me, the difference in a great server and an OK server is that the great ones anticipate your need and will respond before you ask... like filling up a glass of water instead of having to ask to get a refill... getting you your check instead of asking... things like that... not rocket science.....
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:23 PM   #17
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Instead of tipping going away, I think America is slowly exporting the practice to other countries.
My cousin asked me how much extra we pay for a meal in a restaurant in US. Well, that amounts to 9.5% tax and another 15% tip, so about 25% more than he pays from back home.

Gradually though, many restaurants back home automatically add 18% service charge on top of the bill. This practice is obviously imported from US.
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:33 PM   #18
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Instead of tipping going away, I think America is slowly exporting the practice to other countries.
I know as an American traveling in Europe and SA I was always snatched up by a server that knew we tipped. Always had great service, always gave a fair tip for it.

I always thought it would be fun after retirement to w*rk part time in a restaurant. A guy I ate with often, grew up working in family owned diners warned me that that was a really bad idea, the worst idea he'd ever heard me say. He claimed as a kid he'd never taken so much abuse from a mouthy guy over a $2.00 hamburger. He made me see things a little different.
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:52 PM   #19
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I've been out with locals in Europe who refused to let me leave a tip. Probably didn't want to give restaurant owners any ideas...
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Old 02-22-2015, 12:54 PM   #20
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I was vacationing in Berlin last May. I couldn't figure out how tipping worked. At the bars and restaurants I never saw anyone tipping. About half way through the trip I read that restaurant workers are paid a living wage and that people tip by simply rounding up the bill to the nearest Euro or two. Everyone paid in cash. It amounted to a 2-5% tip on average.
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