When it comes to going out, it’s always nice to have your food cooked and served to you without having to do it yourself! Whether you’re eating in a diner in Milwaukee or having the best burger in NYC at a fancy sit-down place, chances are that you’re going to have your food brought to you by a waiter or waitress. Many of these people are subject to a low minimum wage and rely on tips to make up the majority of their income.
With millions of people working in the food serve in the U.S. as a way to support themselves and their families, you probably make an effort to tip fifteen percent. Now the concept of tipping servers themselves is being questioned.
It may seem that people are talking up the idea of going without tipping online and in print. However, this idea seems more of a top-down concept than an actual movement that servers across the nation are rallying for.
That’s hardly been the case; waiters and waitresses are hardly campaigning outside of their workplaces with large signs calling for tipping to be outlawed. So who’s leading the charge? One thing’s certain— it’s not servers who are pushing this model.
One such person who does not work as a server is Jay Porter, a restaurant owner in San Francisco. he penned a statement piece that was all about banning tipping. He said tipping is often unrelated to service and encourages profiling and even racism (by referencing a study that said so).
That’s great, except Porter said he switched to an automatic 18% gratuity that is ‘shared’ with the back of house staff. Wow, a whole three percent about the bare minimum which most decent people feel guilty about leaving even 15%. The average is now 20%.
Porter espoused that his staff works just as hard than tipped servers because it allows them to focus on their jobs. What’s interesting is that Porter still uses the tip model– he just makes it impossible for servers to get more or less than 18%. Perhaps his business is up because cheap diners no longer have to feel guilty about leaving 15%… it’s 18% now. Oh, and some goes to the cooks. Who get minimum wage or higher. Is this about helping servers or making them poorer?
At least with optional tips, servers can get more for great service. This model incentivizes the staff to turn over as many customers as possible or run up a bill to make the automatic tip higher. It makes the reader wonder whether people like Porter have actually ever worked a serving job full-time. If they had, they likely wouldn’t be pushing this concept and feeling morally superior for it.
Bottom line: it’s easy to implement a change if you are not affected. Businesses may get more customers who are interested in cheap, implemented tipping. They may even see it as novel. Servers have a tough job already. Let’s not take their money away from them (which is being given by a customer voluntarily) just so we can feel like we did something. People like Porter are just ensuring his servers cannot reap the rewards of working hard. Why shouldn’t they? He did