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mkayahara

Rethinking tipping culture

316 posts in this topic

Yes really. They cannot extrapolate the data set collected to the myriad restaurants in the, let's use the contiguous United States. The sample size is too small and the time frame of the experiment is too short. The data was collected over three luncheon services in a chain restaurant. There are too many variables that they have not controlled for. The data was collected using self-reports of which many were spoiled and discarded, further shrinking their data set. (Self-reports are notoriously unreliable.) Their conclusion goes on to make a comparison between tipping taxi drivers and tipping servers in restaurants as if the two were equivalent. They are working backward toward their conclusion and making the data fit their hypothesis even if they have to break off a piece and hammer it in there.

I used to design psychological experiments in grad school. This one is poor.

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The assertion I challenged was your claim that "the authors say in their concluding paragraphs that their project is meaningless.". I don't think any reasonable reading of their rather carefully worded conclusion could be construed as such.

Not proven? Ok, perhaps.

Meaningless? That's a claim you have not supported. Without data, you appeared to be dismissive. With data, you appear to be on a mission with your own pre-conclusion in sight. Confirmation bias cuts both ways.

My comments were based upon a rather interesting turn that this debate may take. Into the court system. There, the sorts of arguments you present may well come to the fore. And ultimately, the final decision may rest with a panel of nine distinguished persons with impeccable academic pedigrees and a lifetime of practical experience in the field of jurisprudence. People who have been schooled endlessly in our most important founding document, and all of the arguments and decisions that have occurred regarding it over the past two centuries. Truly constitutional scholars. They'll make their wise decision on the back of all of this.

And then they'd likely disagree in a 5-4 split.

In the hard sciences we try not do that (or at least try to rectify it through further exploration).


Edited by IndyRob (log)

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I very strongly doubt that it would even be possible to "ban tipping." I mean, seriously, how are they going to monitor that? Let alone enforce it. What they might do is prohibit "tip credit" laws, forcing all restaurants to pay servers the state minimum wage, which, by the way, is currently the case in quite a few states.

As it is, I think that it is not general knowledge that the laws in many states prohibit "tip credit" wages, so customers in those states assume that servers are paid the same low server wage as in other states, and tip accordingly.

If that low server "tip credit" wage is outlawed in all the states, the legal battle and final decision undoubtedly will receive a lot of publicity, and once folks are aware servers are making the same statewide legal minimum wage as everyone else, the tip percentages will probably fall. So that might have the same effect as a "tip ban."


I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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My goodness, Rob. You already have this hypothetical case before the SCOTUS?

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned NYC's Sushi Yasuda's decision to no longer allow tipping:

"Tip 15, 20 or 25 Percent? Here, They Strongly Suggest Zero"

At Sushi Yasuda, tips are not only no longer being sought, but they will also be returned if proffered, said one of the restaurant’s owners, Scott Rosenberg.

The article also mentions Per Se's automatic 20% service charge added to every tab as their way of dealing with tipping.

I'm not their target audience but I wouldn't dine there. Who says every dining experience is worth a 20% service charge/tip? I am sure the service is impeccable.But what if you dined there and your server was having a bad day? Can you get 5% taken off your service charge?


“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

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If restaurants quietly raised their prices 20% and paid their servers a living wage, that would end this "problem" immediately. I'd certainly be in favor of that. Then of course you'd get the tightwads who miss the "good ol' days" of stiffing their server to save money in restaurants.

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Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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If restaurants quietly raised their prices 20% and paid their servers a living wage, that would end this "problem" immediately. I'd certainly be in favor of that. Then of course you'd get the tightwads who miss the "good ol' days" of stiffing their server to save money in restaurants.

And you might also get the servers who miss the "good ol' days" when they often went home with several hundred dollars cash in their pockets.

This issue simply is not so obvious as some would believe. There definitely are a great many servers that like the system just fine as it is.

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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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If restaurants quietly raised their prices 20% and paid their servers a living wage, that would end this "problem" immediately. I'd certainly be in favor of that. Then of course you'd get the tightwads who miss the "good ol' days" of stiffing their server to save money in restaurants.

Say what bro?

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If restaurants quietly raised their prices 20% and paid their servers a living wage, that would end this "problem" immediately. I'd certainly be in favor of that. Then of course you'd get the tightwads who miss the "good ol' days" of stiffing their server to save money in restaurants.

And you might also get the servers who miss the "good ol' days" when they often went home with several hundred dollars cash in their pockets.

This issue simply is not so obvious as some would believe. There definitely are a great many servers that like the system just fine as it is.

You can't go raising prices up by 20% without some kind of justification, or no one--customers, employers, and employees won't buy into it. You need a system of benchmarks and qualifications to justify and keep the 20% mark-up specifically for service labour costs, and they (benchmarks) have to be on a graduating scale.

For instance, it would be a very tough sell for a lunch (or breakfast) place that specializes in the $10-$20.00 bill/check per person to add a 20% increase for service. And you can forget about fast-food burger joints. The server does not need extensive--if any, wine/liquor knowledge, formal place setting knowledge, or extensive cooking and ingredient knowledge, as compared toa fine dining place.

As I've stated before in this thread and others, you need a graduated set of benchmarks for servers, I.e. Server I qualification with no previous experience, Server II that requries X hours of previous experience and a basic wine/liquor knowledge, and Server III qualification, that builds on the last two qualifications and would probably be a pre-requisite for a Maitre D' position.

But hey, all this would be trade infrastructure, and the N. American Hospitality biz is notoriously bad for not having any trade infrastructure. If anyone can call themselves a Chef, if any school can call it's gradutes "chefs", then what's the criteria for a server?

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You need a system of benchmarks and qualifications to justify and keep the 20% mark-up specifically for service labour costs, and they (benchmarks) have to be on a graduating scale.

For instance, it would be a very tough sell for a lunch (or breakfast) place that specializes in the $10-$20.00 bill/check per person to add a 20% increase for service. And you can forget about fast-food burger joints. The server does not need extensive--if any, wine/liquor knowledge, formal place setting knowledge, or extensive cooking and ingredient knowledge, as compared toa fine dining place.

As I've stated before in this thread and others, you need a graduated set of benchmarks for servers, I.e. Server I qualification with no previous experience, Server II that requries X hours of previous experience and a basic wine/liquor knowledge, and Server III qualification, that builds on the last two qualifications and would probably be a pre-requisite for a Maitre D' position.

But hey, all this would be trade infrastructure, and the N. American Hospitality biz is notoriously bad for not having any trade infrastructure. If anyone can call themselves a Chef, if any school can call it's gradutes "chefs", then what's the criteria for a server?

What is it with you and certification? I'm not saying this in a snarky way, either. Seriously, why is the answer to almost every culinary problem "certification?"

Certification doesn't mean jack in this country. The "certified computer technicians" are always the worst of the bunch. Certified ANYTHING means the barest level of competence. At least when the person in question has certification and nothing else. No, give me someone who can hold their own in a kitchen on a Saturday night in Las Vegas any day.

I don't think certification would solve a SINGLE problem in the restaurant industry. All it would do is add another unnecessary level of bureaucracy.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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The problem with certification is that it uses criteria that are testable but not necessarily related to ability/competence. Doctors, for example, are board certified right out of training when their experience is the least they will ever have. Good old fashioned subjective grading after observation is what's needed to determine who is any good, but in our litigious culture that would never fly.

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What? You mean equality of outcome isn't a guarantee? :laugh:

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You need a system of benchmarks and qualifications to justify and keep the 20% mark-up specifically for service labour costs, and they (benchmarks) have to be on a graduating scale.

For instance, it would be a very tough sell for a lunch (or breakfast) place that specializes in the $10-$20.00 bill/check per person to add a 20% increase for service. And you can forget about fast-food burger joints. The server does not need extensive--if any, wine/liquor knowledge, formal place setting knowledge, or extensive cooking and ingredient knowledge, as compared toa fine dining place.

As I've stated before in this thread and others, you need a graduated set of benchmarks for servers, I.e. Server I qualification with no previous experience, Server II that requries X hours of previous experience and a basic wine/liquor knowledge, and Server III qualification, that builds on the last two qualifications and would probably be a pre-requisite for a Maitre D' position.

But hey, all this would be trade infrastructure, and the N. American Hospitality biz is notoriously bad for not having any trade infrastructure. If anyone can call themselves a Chef, if any school can call it's gradutes "chefs", then what's the criteria for a server?

What is it with you and certification? I'm not saying this in a snarky way, either. Seriously, why is the answer to almost every culinary problem "certification?"

Certification doesn't mean jack in this country. The "certified computer technicians" are always the worst of the bunch. Certified ANYTHING means the barest level of competence. At least when the person in question has certification and nothing else. No, give me someone who can hold their own in a kitchen on a Saturday night in Las Vegas any day.

I don't think certification would solve a SINGLE problem in the restaurant industry. All it would do is add another unnecessary level of bureaucracy.

DOH!!!!!

I think we can all agree that the hospitality biz has problems, right? Cooks with two years school an a few years experience getting paid jack-sh*t, servers taking home $300 a night and the dishwasher waiting two weeks for a $200 paycheck.

But in other countries this isn't the case. Cooks, waiters, dishwasher all paid a fair, liveable wage, and no one takes home $300 a night.

What's the difference? Well besides being another country, the difference is certification.

Like I said in other posts, many trades use this system: Plumbers electricians, HVAC, mechanics, etc. They all base their pay scales on benchmarks that have been achieved. And it obviously works.

It's the mentality that needs to be changed. No one can admit that the hospitality biz has a problem or that things need to be changed. Why can't all those (deleted) foreigners just knuckle under and use our system?

Back in the 70's GM and Chrysler were whinging that Asians and Europeans weren't buying their cars. And they kept on whinging and crying until they finally thunk of putting the steering wheel on the "wrong side"--since that is how most Asian countries drive .

As a hobby woodworker I purchase specialty and antique tools, and many dealers are in the U.S. Most won't deal with Canadians because we don't use U.S. funds. DOH! Of course we don't, we're a different country using different money. Paypal for a long time wouldn't accept Canadian users because we didn't have a US. address or US Visa account. DOH! Of course we don't, we're not US Citizens. Even now, when I try to send Postal money orders--in US funds, many US Banks won't accept them, because they weren't issued in the US. DOH! What a mentality.

Look at the hospitality industry in other countries and see how it works. Then compare it to yours. There are better ways of doing things, but you have to be open about it, if you're constantly on the defense and not even listening to how other countries have solved their hospitality industry problems, then nothing will change.

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And we've already given you reasons why certification isn't particularly well regarded in this country.

Certification for BOH is ridiculous. That's what staging is for. As for FOH, certification isn't going to make anyone friendlier or more professional. It would end up being just one more thing that employees have to pay for in order to work -- like a health card. Employers aren't going to raise their wages just because a server completes the next level of certification. Not unless someone in government points a gun at them, at least.

I submit that other countries have not "solved" their problems. There are just as many restaurants in Europe with problems as there are in America. Kitchen Nightmares first aired in the UK, after all.

Look at the hospitality industry in other countries and see how it works. Then compare it to yours. There are better ways of doing things, but you have to be open about it, if you're constantly on the defense and not even listening to how other countries have solved their hospitality industry problems, then nothing will change.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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Certification in practice is just another way for the government (or whoever certifies you) to reach into your pocket for periodic fees for "re-certification".

Good training is vital but certification unfortunately accomplishes nothing.

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And we've already given you reasons why certification isn't particularly well regarded in this country.

Certification for BOH is ridiculous. That's what staging is for. As for FOH, certification isn't going to make anyone friendlier or more professional. It would end up being just one more thing that employees have to pay for in order to work -- like a health card. Employers aren't going to raise their wages just because a server completes the next level of certification. Not unless someone in government points a gun at them, at least.

I submit that other countries have not "solved" their problems. There are just as many restaurants in Europe with problems as there are in America. Kitchen Nightmares first aired in the UK, after all.

Look at the hospitality industry in other countries and see how it works. Then compare it to yours. There are better ways of doing things, but you have to be open about it, if you're constantly on the defense and not even listening to how other countries have solved their hospitality industry problems, then nothing will change.

Hooh-boy. You've already got certification in your country, have had for years and years, and your trades and professions love it. Why do you think you pay your HVAC/refrigeraton repair guy $80/per hour plus truck fee, plus parts, plus taxes? Your plumber to install a hot water tank $75/hr plus, plus, plus? All trades have "tickets" certifying them to operate this piece of equipment, install this, or design that system. And their employers pay according to the tickets or benchmarks achieved.

You need a non-American to tell you how things really are, and I'm telling you that you, as Americans, embrace the metric system and would complain bitterly if things changed. Look in your wallet. Ten dimes make a buck, 100 pennies make a buck, ten bucks makes a ten note, 100 make a hundred note, and so on. All in base units of 10. For a really screwed up Imperial system look at the English before thier metric conversion: Pennies and ha'pence, shillings and what not, some in base units of 8, some 12, some 16.

Here's how things have changed in B.C., Canada since 2010 when the Provincial Gov't chaged the rules for the "Red Seal" certifiation for cooks: You need some form of school for Cook I, or a cetain amount of hours in the industry to write this test. After this, you need to work a reqired amount of hours in the "field" befor you write the Cook II test. Then again, a certain amount of hours worked before you can write Cook III or the "Red Seal". With each jump,. there is an increase in pay, and with each jump, employers are not obliged to pay for the increase And yet, many employeers are demanding the "Red Seal" certification for hires and paying the wages it demands. And many employers are bragging/advertising about how al thier "chefs" are Red Seal certified. Culinary schools can offer courses that accelerate the required working hours for Cook I, but have to design thier curriculum to meet the required knowledge base. We have some kind of standards in place.

It's somethnig to think about and base a model around for servers, don't you think?

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You think you know a great deal more about America than you actually do. Although that is fairly common. Everybody seems to think they're an expert on America, simply because they have visited a few times and they watch Hollywood movies.

We do not need non-Americans to "tell us how things really are." This isn't snobbery. It's just that foreigners think we are easily pigeonholed.

And I guarantee you, employers in America would demand the highest level certification and most would not pay accordingly. That's how things work here.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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The metric system comes straight from the Kremlin.

You still haven't answered how taking a written test is the measure of a cook's skill. The test measures something related to cooking, but not cooking itself. One can create levels of certification but they don't usually mean much. I point again to medicine where both the jackasses and the good ones are board certified.

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The metric system comes straight from the Kremlin.

Ehh...noooo. The only thing the Kremlin has in common with the metric system is that Napoleon (who commisioned the system of weights and measures) made anyone who didn't use the system "examine" the guiltotine for sharpness and edge retention....

You still haven't answered how taking a written test is the measure of a cook's skill. The test measures something related to cooking, but not cooking itself. One can create levels of certification but they don't usually mean much. I point again to medicine where both the jackasses and the good ones are board certified.

The only guarantees anyone can guarantee are death and taxes.

And yet, a Gr. 12 diploma (certification?) is no guarantee of anything, but how many colleges and universities demand this certification before you can even write entrance exams?

A valid driver's license is no guarantee that you can drive properly, but how many insurance co.'s demand it in order to insure your car? How many car rental co.'s demand it in order to rent you a car?

What certification offers is the lack of an excuse not to know any better. A medical practioner can screw up royally but can not claim ingnorance.

Will a car mnfctr honour it's warranty if you get an unlicensed (certified?) mechanic to repair it? Will an insurance co., honour it's policy if you get an unlicensed plumber to install a major gas appliance and it catches fire?

Certification is part of the social fabric in N. America, and it has nothing to do with the Kremlin....

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So you see our point. Certification may be accepted, but it availeth little.

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It availith an ascending pay scale based on qualifications achieved....

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So, using this system, Edward J, if one is underperforming as a Cook III, may he or she be busted back down to a Cook I, depending on the infraction?

I think what you are advocating is a military style brigade system for the FOH, much like that in the back of the house as is used in Europe and less formally, the US, yes? This sounds like a ripe opportunity for government oversight, adding yet another layer of bureaucracy (and costs) to operation. We're in the middle of a grand scandal regarding government overreach right now. I think this proposal would be met with cold water and a firm "No".

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If one is underperforming, they get the choice to perform as per expectations or they get to to see the other side of the entrance door....

Like I 've said sooooo many times now, this system of pay scale "pegged" to qualifications is used by many trades and professions.

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So, they get fired and go to work somewhere else as a Chef III? That doesn't seem right.

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No, they get fired and have a long think about how and why they screwed up. Some smarten up and get back to work, some even go further and move on to higher things. Some drop down a notch and are content, and some leave the industry.

I think the original idea of this thread was how to get servers to rely less on tips and more on how to earn a respectable salary. I think pretty much everyone agreed that "tipping wages" of under $3/hr was a slap in the face for servers, ignoring the minimum wage a kick in the crotch, and, on the other side of the coin, a server taking home $2-$300 a night while the rest of the restaurant staff have to wait until the end of their pay-period for less than stellar wages wasn't fair either.

It's fun argueing the merits and weak points of certification, and I'm more than happy to discuss other ideas that other posters may have of how to address the tipping situation.

Are there any?

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