Reasons We Should Eliminate Tipping at Restaurants

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Photo by Torbakhopper
That's great advice sidewalk sign.

I'm always a little shocked and disgusted when I discover that someone I'm friends with is a lousy tipper, or expects some ridiculous level of service in order to extract a meager dollar bill from their miserly pocketbook. It's not usually a case of that person simply being an insensitive or cheap individual, although there probably are lots of diners that fit that description out there.

I've never been a waiter or depended on tips to make money, but lots of people in my life have been in that position, and I feel like the time has come to do away with tipping at restaurants. I have several reasons for feeling this way, so bear with me, before the cries of "That's crazy talk! Kill him!"

In Texas, it's legal to pay waitstaff as little as $2.13 an hour, with the rationale that they will make up the difference in tips. Yes, there are people that make great money relying on this system of tipping, but there are also many more that get shafted at the end of their shift.

Interestingly, while the idea of tipping food workers is a very American concept today, it was originally a custom brought over from Europe when wealthy Americans visiting there decided it was a cool way to show off their elevated social status when they returned to the States. In the early 20th century there was actually an anti-tipping movement in America, because many people thought that the entire idea ran against the ideals that this country was founded on. They felt that it imposed a system of inequality that was Un-American by its very nature. Sadly, that movement didn't catch on, and the haven't been major drives to abolish the system of tipping in this country since.


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65 comments
Marvin Rivera
Marvin Rivera

as a Dominos delivery driver. If the store has to cover that diffrence on multiple occations. Its Grounds for Termination on the grounds of " If youre not making tips, youre service is poor." never heard people acutally getting fired for that, but its in writing somewhere.

Wayward Shepherd
Wayward Shepherd

Take care of your usher at the movie theatre and they will take care of you.

Mark Anthony Ledbetter
Mark Anthony Ledbetter

When was the last time most of you who comment on this actually tried to live on, and support a family on the Minimum Wage? You should try it sometime. Then you might actually realize how selfish, and stupid your comments are.

Josh Webster
Josh Webster

So you don't get paid a wage as a stylist?

Heather Phillips
Heather Phillips

Stylist here. What you pay for your service 100% goes to the owner of the salon, the tip is what you give me...the person who did the work. Unless it's a booth rental in which the stylists keeps it all.

Heather Phillips
Heather Phillips

Have you actually ever waited tables? I have. And trust me when I tell you that's not the case at all. I did get a check to make up the difference of what I wasn't tipped...the 2.13 I made an hour minus taxes usually came out to be a $20 check. That's me working 10 plus hours a day, 5 days a week while I was in school.

Mayling Tate
Mayling Tate

My husband normally tips 18% on the bill when service is good, but he tips very little when service is crap! He says even though the service was crap and the server was a bitch, they still served us. I definitely don't agree with him at all.

Nicki Stacy
Nicki Stacy

Is it really? Not questioning bc I don't believe you, but bc the public is led to believe otherwise. So the argument for still tipping crappy service is mute. They will get their minimum wage somehow. If what you are saying is true, then good and great service should be earning the tips they deserve. Hopefully bad service is weeded out by the management since they have to always make up the difference.

kevin818
kevin818

An alternative way to address this is to require mandatory tipping, that is, a forced gratuity charge on all bills, proceeds of which go to all non-managerial staff.  ALL - not just the servers. U.S. tipping & gratuities laws are inflexible, so should be adjusted.


Plus - no income/SS taxes on tips or gratuities.

Khadir Abdullah
Khadir Abdullah

Just for the record, servers are guaranteed at least minimum wage hourly, as employers are required to make up the difference b/w what was tipped and the minimum wage if the servers made less than the minimum wage. This is posted in the print on the Equal Employment posters you see in work areas.

Joseph Stark
Joseph Stark

Eliminating tipping will improve the livelihood of servers working at the bottom end of restaurants (Chili's, Applebee's etc.) but would severely impact the servers working at nicer restaurants and bars in a negative way. In addition to that, menu prices would up exponentially as owners need to pay their employees a higher minimum wage (server pay is $2.13/hr) and any of the extra profit from the higher costs of menu items would flow to ownership instead of the worker (who previously received a tip).

Josh Webster
Josh Webster

Plus, what's up with tipping stylists, etc.? It is a pure service transaction. Why don't they just charge whatever they expect to get paid?

Josh Webster
Josh Webster

Does anyone actually refuse to tip a bad server? I have never done it, despite having crappy service many times. It is a ridiculous system that forces patrons into being co-employers. I don't want to negotiate employment with someone every time i eat out. Just raise the prices and pay the staff yourselves.

Dana Daniels
Dana Daniels

If someone is providing a service they deserve a tip if it's a job well done.

Dodd Melcher
Dodd Melcher

It's a service industry. They depend on tips for their good service to you as a diner. They don't even get paid minimum wage hourly. If they suck, don't tip, but otherwise they deserve compensation.

coolmom_1950
coolmom_1950

I own a restaurant in Canada and I have to agree with you for many of the reason you gave, that we should eliminate tipping, however I pay my staff the same hourly rate that other workers earn.  My problem with tipping is that most of the staff focus so much on the tips that they are at the point of being greedy.  They use to all keep their own tips but they decided that they would pool their tips and at the end of the night they would tip out the kitchen staff 30% and then divide the other 70% between the two of them.  Which means they get 35% each and the kitchen usually splits between 3 of them which amounts to 10% each.  The kitchen staff pretty well makes the same hourly wage and also help the service with many of their duties, *something wrong with that system".  Also if a low income family comes in for a meal, they may not have a lot of disposable income and they may leave a smaller tip, the wait staff will complain about how cheap these customers are.  I always tell them that maybe this is the first time they've been out in a long time and they deserve the same service as wealthier customers, make their experience a good one.  The next thing is that some of them cheat and pocket more than they put in the tip pool and it's not hard to tell which ones do that.  You are correct that there are cheap skates out there, we have a couple people that will call the server back to the table over and over and over, instead of ordering everything at once and some that it doesn't matter how good the food or the service is, they will complain because they know that if things aren't perfect, I will comp and make sure they are happy.  I really love the people that eat a whole steak except for one bite and then complain that it wasn't cooked enough or it was over cooked and expect the whole meal to be comped.  Also I've had people say to me that I am just a waitress, what do I know.  Well I know that they have a grade 8 education and I have several college degrees but I own a restaurant because I like to serve people and make them happy with good food.  One person was so rude to me once that I actually lost it and told them that when they have the education I have, come back and they can talk to me as an equal.

TheBestCritic1
TheBestCritic1

I hate the arguments on this topic, you can always identify comments from "Servers" as opposed to diners.

Simply put:

Shitty Server = Shitty Service = Shitty Tip !!!

Shitty Service = Non-Returning Guest = No Business = No Job for Shitty Server !!!

It's unfortunate that a server might get STIFFED, which means someone forgot to leave a tip NOT that someone didn't leave a tip for Shitty Service.   THERE IS A HUGE DIFFERENCE.  This IS NOT and entitlement program, tips are EARNED!!!

Dan Belenkov
Dan Belenkov

Rachel Rosenberg Where did you hear that waiters only declare 1/4 of their tips? You dont think that those computers the use to charge cards...actually might keep track of those tips?

Angela K Palmer
Angela K Palmer

Good to know! It's impossible for anyone to know all of the caviats of tipping. I would say it should be more regulated.

Jessica Galvan
Jessica Galvan

This isn't true for all/most salons. I know quite a few salons that require a "monthly booth fee" from their stylists. Meaning, they pay the monthly fee and keep the rest of what they make. Same goes for tattoo shops

paval
paval topcommenter

I strongly disagree with those that think that introducing wages and health insurance for servers will cause more Landrys and Dardens and the like. I actually think that their success is based mostly on cheap service help and economies of scale intricate to their system. 

A systematic operation like any of the restaurants of the chain is easy to understand for anyone you can pick from the street. So no training needed and the costs at 2.13 an hour are rather low for the restaurant. 

Furthermore purchasing is concentrated in one central office and everything is delivered, just in time and quantities, ready as needed by the super charged market trucks from Sysco or Ben E Keith. Obtaining these economies of scale are impossible for a 40 seat operation. The system operations tend to have 200 or more seats allowing for a higher rotation of people through the eating-factory. 

So these restaurants have cheap purchasing, cheap labor, cheap concepts in food and drinks, cheap furnishing, and most times cheap land, as they tend to be in suburbs rather than inner city, etc. increase the costs on one or two more of these factors (increase in quality of products sold as food and labor costs) and all these concepts would have to re-invent themselves. 

In the meantime a mom and pop can stand out mostly through service and food quality. and as a small operation you can tend to it with much less personnel, mostly family members, just like in the old times. 

I personally almost never go to chain restaurants because I do not like to be swarmed by hordes of servers, and I do not like to eat like i am in a factory and just one wheel more in the big clockwork. I want to enjoy the meal, the people I am with and the people that run the place. A Eddie V, Saltgrass or alike does not give me any of that. But obviously it is what the market wants, otherwise the success wouldn't be there. 


So its the consumers preference for lively (read: loud), places with quick serve food of dubious quality, close to their suburbs home, with a wide array of dishes to choose from so there is something for everyone (anyone who ever worked in a kitchen knows that you cant have 100 dishes and still be a fresh, made from scratch kitchen), quickly free-refilling tea and water plastic cups, and some competitive pricing that is killing the concept of service in restaurants. 



chris luder
chris luder

The percentage you tip is a direct reflection of how good of a person you are. Shitty tippers = shitty people... with exceptions only being made for shitty service.

Angela K Palmer
Angela K Palmer

I think tipping is appropriate in restaurants where servers make 2.13 an hour. It's like commission; people who work hard to maintain a clientele deserve the perks of tipping. I do think that tipping in other industries like salons and coffee shops is absurd because they make salaries. If a hair dresser does a great job ill tip but when my hair cut already cost $160.00 and I'm expected to tip another $30.00+ on top!, that's crazy

Nerak Oad
Nerak Oad

Well, until this day comes.. please don't forget to tip your friendly servers ;)

Rachel Rosenberg
Rachel Rosenberg

Servers don't declare all of their tips. I'd love to pay taxes on a fourth of what I make. It would solve that issue.

Ashley Rothschild
Ashley Rothschild

I love the tipping system! My fiance made wayyyyy more as a waiter being tipped than if he had 15/hr. Made about 50,000 annually those three years instead of under 35,000

Berghoff
Berghoff

Ja, why are we subsidizing restaurants? Have them pay labor costs like other businesses. 


The reason they have such high-turnover and can't find decent employees is because tips distort the labor market; they make it so restaurants hire bodies instead of qualified employees. They test-drive the employees, the employees test-drive the restaurant and usually someone ends up saying goodbye.

Good servers, I mean real professionals, are a treat. Often you don't notice them because they are so efficient and good; other times you do, because they have real thoughts and opinions ( see John the Greek from Bibas).

jberlat1
jberlat1

Can we stop tipping a bartender $1 for popping a top off a beer bottle? 

Ashley Farve
Ashley Farve

This has been proven untrue over and over.

Amanda Nash
Amanda Nash

If you can offer a server a fair fixed wage and benefits I think it's not an entirely bad idea. I did my time as a waitress and there were definitely more than a few occasions a fixed wage would have been far more helpful than working the Sunday church crowds. Bible phamplets don't pay my bills, and Jesus saw what you did there.

Josh Webster
Josh Webster

Then how do small restaurants survive in other countries, where tipping does not exist?

jberlat1
jberlat1

Fine by me, but service will suffer. Knowing your income is dependent on how well you do your job is a major incentive. 

John M. Balzer
John M. Balzer

We should get rid of tipping and add an automatic 20% gratuity. That way cheap sorry azz people can't get out of tipping. If you can't afford to tip then don't go out to eat.

gentian
gentian

Tipping $30 on $160 cut isn't crazy. But paying $160 is.

TheBestCritic1
TheBestCritic1

Friendly is nice, but good service is what makes tips.  I don't give a damn about "Hi, I Susie and I'm going to be your server today."  "Show me the service, and I'll show you the money!!!  Show me poor service, and I'll KEEP the money!!!"

kavendish
kavendish

You said the same about Obamacare. And your Grandparents said that about Medicare. Buck up, Mr Wellborn, things aren't so hard.

TheBestCritic1
TheBestCritic1

But then the lazy sorry ass servers with get paid and continue to be lazy sorry ass servers.  If you can't give GREAT service, get out of the business!!

taylor134
taylor134

@gentian I think when she (Angela Palmer) says "cut" she means cut + color -- not just a regular trim. Very common in salons for a woman's regular cut, color and blowdry to run you ~$200. 

jberlat1
jberlat1

@Barleyvine Not as directly as a servers. Bring out coke instead of iced tea, cold food, wrong food, you don't get a tip. Your performance overall might get your fired from your job, but you get paid everyday the same amount no matter how good or bad you do.

kavendish
kavendish

@taylor134 @gentian 

Taylor, we in the world of marketing love ladies like you and Angela. We can sell you all sorts of stuff that costs us very little, but that you'll pay dearly for. Why? Because we convince you it makes you feel better about yourselves.

Barleyvine
Barleyvine

@jberlat1 and that is exactly how it should work in the restaurant biz.  One mess up, shouldn't mean you don't get paid that day.  You screw up (as pointed out in the article), the manager pulls you aside and talks to you about it, (just as a manager does at a regular business).  Continue to screw up and you get fired (just as you do in a normal business).  Why should restaurants be any different?

taylor134
taylor134

@kavendish @gentian I didn't say that I personally paid that price for my own hair cut, but nice attempt at a put-down. Did it make YOU feel better about yourself?

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