August 28 2015 – Robert Fiumara
The Future Of Tipping
When dining out, tipping your server is par for the course. It’s a tradition that’s deeply ingrained into the Western culture, but many claim that tipping does more harm than good and should be eliminated. The new minimum wage regulations that are popping up in cities across the country have prompted some to make their arguments against tipping.
What Some Are Doing
In Seattle, where the new $15 an hour wage went into effect in April, some restaurants are experimenting with an all-inclusive menu. By raising menu prices and ending tipping many restaurateurs claim that they can increase everyone’s wages while keeping customers satisfied with the increase in food prices. This also ends the vast discrepancy between those who work in the back of the house like cooks and dishwashers and those who work in the front of the house like waitresses and hostesses. In other restaurants, a mandatory service charge has been implemented for each bill, eliminating the need for customers to tip their wait staff.
Many restaurateurs say that they will need to either raise prices or implement these fees to combat the mandatory wage increases. While in some restaurants tips are shared among all workers, this is not the norm and this wage gap can cause frustrations and divide between workers in the same restaurant. Eliminating tipping would also simplify bookkeeping especially in states where tips are subject to a variety of local, state, and federal tax regulations. Managers say that the elimination of tips will also make it easier to reward staff monetarily, based on years of service or excellent performance.
However, eliminating tipping isn’t such an easy process and many fear that they will encounter a backlash from customers and employees. Many claim that tipping is a number one motivator for new employees to join the restaurant industry, and without it, potential employees may choose different industries. Many restaurateurs fear that they will lose their best servers to establishments who continue to provide tips. But some waitresses claim that earning a solid hourly wage in lieu of tips makes their position more secure. Instead of worrying about slow nights or depending on tips to make a living, wait staff actually prefer a higher hourly wage. Many also claim that the elimination of tipping has drawn the staff closer together.
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