Tipping in Restaurants Reaches a Tipping Point...Will 2014 Be the Year It's Abolished?
Recently, a push has been made to eliminate the tip credit, ensuring that all employees make at least minimum wage and freeing diners from the obligation to tip. Because when you think about it, do you most often tip for stellar service, or because you feel you have to? How often to you struggle to give your server a "fair" tip when you don't really want to?
Photo by Dan4th Some people object to an automatic gratuity, but the IRS took care of that.
The recent ruling by the IRS regarding gratuities aside, service charges seem to be the best route for many restaurants. Or, to eliminate any confusion regarding who's reaping the rewards of a service charge, an "administrative charge" or a "dining fee." Just like tipping, eventually diners would get used to seeing that on their receipts.
Service charges still don't protect restaurants from lawsuits, though, if servers continue to get tips and lose tips while they aren't actively waiting tables. Only a change in legislation regarding these murky charges can do that, and there hasn't been much headway in that department, in spite of encouragement from prominent restaurateurs including David Chang and Alice Waters.
And here in Houston? Well, it's same-old, same-old. Many (though not all) servers are paid minimum wage, and service isn't included on tabs. We're expected to tip, though most of us don't even think about it any more unless the service was truly terrible.
So how do you tip? And do you wish you didn't have to?
I know I'm just looking forward to the day when I no longer have to end my meal with a math problem.