Tipping Point: Spilled Milk Chit Chat #19
Do you believe in a tipping system for restaurants?
Do you believe in a tipping system for restaurants? Yes, or no, and tell me why?
My friend Holly H sent this question along and I thought it was a great Chit Chat subject.
What do you think about including the tip in the tab up-front, rather than letting the diner decide? And what about tipping at places that are self-serve? What’s up with hospitality fees? What do you think is the right percentage?
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I think tipping should be eliminated.
I think it should be included in the bill and not left up to the consumer in sit down restaurants.
I believe in self-serve businesses there should be a service charge if there is interface with the consumer. If it is completely non-contact, then it is ownership who needs to fully compensate the employee.
I believe in hospitality fees.
I have seen a wide range of percentages but I like 3% of the gross tab in general. That allows restaurants to pay fair wages, provide paid sick leave, and other necessary benefits for employees. Sadly after the past two years, the independent restaurant industry is losing numbers, restaurateurs took on large debt to stay open, and business models are changing left and right as operators struggle to figure out what works in their neighborhoods.
It’s worth mentioning again: If you agree that restaurant owners need help, call your member of Congress and urge them to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
I believe eliminating tips all on its own doesn’t work.
There needs to be an increased minimum wage to go along with that. Most importantly, we need as an industry to stop always thinking about our guests first and instead focus on our employees. We have to be able to do this collectively in some fashion.
While I thought that the last two years of Covid would empower restaurants to change their brittle and unsustainable internal economies, it seems like that hasn’t taken form yet. In order to become more profitable AND take care of its employees, restaurants need to raise menu prices. Culturally, the consumer isn’t ready to pay for those increases. The only way to make substantive change to the bottom line is to raise menu prices to accurately reflect what it takes to put the food on the plate.
And Americans are addicted to cheap food, without regard for season, shortage, supply chain issues, rising costs of the restaurant or the employees. In that sense diners have become spoiled here in our country. It’s an awful situation in my opinion, a bit of a Sophie’s choice.
If you all want me to dive deeper into this issue let me know.
What are your thoughts on the America tipping system for restaurants?
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The problem I have with tipping, is that it only covers the front of the house (server) and not the back of the house (Chefs, bartenders, etc). In some restaurants in my city, servers make a lot of money off of tips in a mid-end restaurant while the folks that are creating delicious meals are working at or slightly above minimum wage. There truly needs to be equality in the hospitality industry. When there are a lot of customers the back of the house works harder for the same money and the front of the house makes more in tips! As for tipping, I think it is appropriate to tip for a delightful experience, only it should go to all that contributed to the delightful experience.
I certainly don’t believe in eliminating tipping. If it’s left up to the owners, they are going to pocket the money. I work as a cook in Manhattan for perhaps the most celebrated restaurateur in the country and was there when wages were barely bumped after going tip free. The change was subsequently walked back.
This is not directed at you, but I’m sick and tired of the food writing world’s fake tears over unfair wages for back of house workers. If anyone has the power to change things, it’s you guys. If state legislation needs to change, then please focus on getting it done. I bust my ass every day and feed these FOH folks while they stand around doing f*** all and get paid six figures while I bring home $650 a week. I work 2 jobs, 7 days a week to provide for my family.
If you don’t want to hear it from me, the below quote is from Roy Choy on a recent “Andrew Talks to Chefs” podcast when asked about the much hyped "restaurant reset" during Covid. I cannot express the issue any more succinctly than he does:
“Paying people minimum wage that work in the back of house or in the dishwasher area that are working 11 12 13 hour days making minimum wage with no benefits no health insurance no sick days no vacation days, and then yet front of the house which speaks English can come in and work 4 hours and make $1000 a night in tips. That seems unbalanced if you just put it on paper…because that’s the fundamental flaw in our system. We have a system that is prejudiced and a bit racist based on who can ascend to certain levels of jobs and it’s partly our fault for providing our guests and our customers this old European kind of model as if we’re living in f***ing Brigerton or something.”