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mkayahara

Rethinking tipping culture

316 posts in this topic

state laws vary about how a "tipping pool" can be constructed.

 

and the proprietor, working within those laws, establishes how any "tipping pool" is handled / divided in the proprietor's business.

there are a couple recent cases where proprietors did not meet local laws/guidance - and turned into (successful) legal actions.

 

POS=point of sale (system)  it is bought / paid for / installed.   and although I was involved in those kinds of things up past my earlobes, I have never heard of a POS provider getting any kind of residuals - and even less believable, from tips.

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Regarding the p.o.s., and tipping,  it's very simple:

 

Customer purchases say, $10.00 worth of goods, and selects either, say,  15% or $1.50 for a tipping amount. (you can chose any % or amount, but 15% is the first prompt....)  The system debits the customer $11.50.  Around here "They" (p.o.s systems) take 2% for their cut.  That's 2% from the $11.50, not from the $10.00

 

No one says you have to tip when you use the key pad, but the system is programmed to p[rompt you to tip before you can complete the transaction.  You can bypass the tipping, on the keypad, but it takes a bit of effort...... 

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Eater article on how the no-tipping scenario will work (at least for Danny Meyer's restaurant group).  Treat it as you wish.

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One reason I seldom dine is restaurants (unless someone else is buying) is I detest having to figure out a tip and whether I under or over paid.  Please just tell me what my food costs and serve me with efficiency and a smile.  I will say thank you.

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Regarding the p.o.s., and tipping,  it's very simple:

 

Customer purchases say, $10.00 worth of goods, and selects either, say,  15% or $1.50 for a tipping amount. (you can chose any % or amount, but 15% is the first prompt....)  The system debits the customer $11.50.  Around here "They" (p.o.s systems) take 2% for their cut.  That's 2% from the $11.50, not from the $10.00

 

No one says you have to tip when you use the key pad, but the system is programmed to p[rompt you to tip before you can complete the transaction.  You can bypass the tipping, on the keypad, but it takes a bit of effort...... 

I work at a place that is part retail food/wine shop and part wine bar now. When the wine bar was set up the owners' first inclination was to deduct their credit card processing fees from employees' tips because it didn't make sense that they should have to pay a service cost on dollars they don't keep. i actually agree with that logic, but the practice is illegal in our state.

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See this to me goes against my instinct as a diner. My tip is what establishes service, my first time at a restaurant, unless I received horrid service, but I avoid Applebee's and the such like the plague, I tip %25-30. Always. In the true interest of being an American I like to vote with my wallet.

And on the other side of the coin, if I were to ever go back to waiting tables, no way, no how would I want to earn a salary. People are servers to NOT earn salaries, take a month off in the winter and make killings during holidays, I earned shittier salaried as a desk jockey than I did as a server. It is literally the only job, besides stripping, where one can walk of on a Saturday night with $400 plus plus dollars in their wallet.

Don't even get me started on how much this will hurt staff with shifts that will now be considered OT pay and they will essentially be reduced to a part time job.

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In NYC, Eleven Madison Park will be next. But not NoMad, yet.

http://www.grubstreet.com/2015/12/eleven-madison-park-no-tipping.html

http://ny.eater.com/2015/12/1/9816186/eleven-madison-park-no-tipping-nomad

 

Also, like with Danny Meyer's USHG, there will be no tip line on the bill anymore at EMP.  

(Unlike Per Se which retains the tip line on the bill even though service is already included)

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On ‎7‎/‎16‎/‎2014 at 9:10 PM, Edward J said:

 

 

Oh dear, I was afraid of that.

 

It's not servers who make the hospitality industry go round and round.

 

It's the customers.

 

No customers, no industry.  Same as every other industry.

 

And the customers don't like forking out 20% in tips or even higher, nor do they like the fact that someone lobbied to get servers paid a "tipping wage".

 

First thing I want to reiterate is that I'm not saying I am personally opposed to, or in favor of, any changes in the tipping system.  Honestly, I don't really care.  Neither I nor any of my family is currently working as a server although, in the past, we all have.  And I'm a generous tipper, so if the initial cost of the restaurant food goes up, that won't affect me.  But the bottom line for me is that I believe it's up to the servers themselves to make that determination.  And not up to me to decide, no matter how compassionate and wonderful and moral and caring and empathetic and sensitive a person I believe myself to be.

 

But, like many of us, I do have an opinion.  And I find these posts that seem to be insulting the general dining public (including me) as being too greedy and selfish to want servers to earn a living wage slightly offensive.

 

So to you I say that I guess I have more faith in the innate compassion of most human beings than you do.  There have been a great many instances throughout history whereby some exploited, downtrodden, dire, desperate group have made their plight known and others rally to the cause to fix things, and things do get better.  It's not hard to find lots of examples throughout the world, including in the US.  I still insist that if the servers were really so miserable as you seem to think with the current situation, and if they were out on the sidewalks striking because those greedy, selfish, customers and greedy, selfish, wealthy restaurant owners refused to do anything to help the poor victimized impoverished and exploited servers, the public would indeed rally 'round and do something, and things would change. 

 

But they're not.  They're not out on the sidewalks in front of the restaurants.  They're not writing opinion letters to all the news outlets.  And just saying, "Oh they can't; they're afraid they'll be fired!" isn't a good reason.  That's always been the case with exploited workers demonstrating and striking to get publicity in order to make their situation known.  That's always how it goes.  That's always the risk.  But, when their plight is dire enough, they take it.

 

So, if their situation is so unfair, why aren't they out in front of restaurants carrying signs and demanding change?

 

I repeat that, although some servers probably don't like the current system, a great many more do like the current system just fine.  And that if they didn't, they would be mounting some sort of huge revolt, and that we would all know about it, and that the general public would support a change.  You indicate that you don't believe that.  You seem to believe that only you are thoughtful, rational, sympathetic and compassionate enough to support a change - in comparison, of course, with the majority of the restaurant-going populace that are just a bunch of jerks.

 

I found this article really interesting.  The restaurant owner is considering going to a higher wage for FOH, but NOT because he thinks they're not earning enough.  His rationale is exactly the opposite.  He says they make too much in comparison to the BOH, and he's planning on taking some of the FOH money away from them and giving it to the BOH.

 

This really flies in the face of those that believe the situation is the other way around.  

 

Excerpt from article:  "Then we have another problem, which is that when a server is getting $10.50 or $11 an hour, plus they’re pulling down between $150 and $300 a night in tips, it’s pretty hard to look a cook in the eye and say we cant afford to pay you $15 or $16 an hour. But of course if we make wages equitable between front and back of house, we will go out of business in a matter of months or weeks. It’s just…we can’t do it. It’s not possible. So everybody’s looking for a solution."

 

And this: "But yeah, it’s a crisis morally. I started out as a line cook. I was a line cook for two decades on and off. You would make $8, $10, $12 an hour. You’d work 10 hours and you’d make $80, $90, $100. And meanwhile the serving staff would walk away with 200 bucks. They were sniffing cocaine and fucking the waitresses and eating steak. We were drinking Budweiser and smoking dirt weed. And that was just the way it was. In those days, you could rent an apartment and you could live on being a cook almost anywhere you were. Unfortunately, that’s not true anymore."

 

Article:  http://www.playboy.com/articles/pok-poks-tipping-experiment-didnt-work-and-chef-andy-ricker-blames-l-a

 

So it turns out that it's the poor cooks on salary that we all really need to worry about.

 

Again, I repeat, I'm not taking a personal stance for or against the changes.  But I don't like being told that, if I'm not manning the barricades for a "livable wage" for the poor exploited servers, it's because I'm a selfish, greedy, soulless, uncompassionate, unmitigated asshole.

 

Or because I'm simply too stupid to really understand the situation. 

 

.


Edited by Jaymes (log)
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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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Jaymes -

the biggest issue in the entire discussion is people who have not clue #1 on how waitstaff are compensated.

 

including people who claim to have been waitstaff and don't understand now - and presumed then - how the amount of their compensation was determined.

 

and then the issue that state / local laws differ - in some places the waitstaff must be paid Federal / State / Local minimum wage _plus_ all the tipped amount (not widespread, but working on it....)

 

there are people who are cheese lovers - and if you tell them the moon is made out of green cheese, not only will they believe it "because it's on the internet" but they'll be in the street protesting that the moon is being exploited and should be paid more for its cheese.

 

you can't make this stuff up.  it requires inbred smart phone / 140 character tweet mentality to carry it on.....

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In response to Jaymes rather lenghty post, "why don't servers take it to the streets, raise awareness etc.?"  The simple fact is that no one really takes serving seriously.  Jaymes writes that neither himself or any of his family is currently serving, but have in the past.  In other words serving is a Mc job, an excuse to earn money  in a tranition phase ( going to school, inbetween jobs, quick way to save up for traveling, etc.) but not to be taken seriously.

 

And it isn't.  What body of knowledge should a server posses?  What skills should a server posses?  Then how can you base a salary on a job with no qualifications?

 

The hospitality and tourisim industry is one of the largest in any country.  Many  countries have the foresight to provide infrastructure to this industry with Gov't qualifications for workers.  I.e. qulifications for cooks, bakers, butchers, servers, restaurant owners.  With this in place, a salary ladder can be constructed.

 

If anyone has information on how many foreign visitors come to the U.S. per year and what they spend on meals, and if they are comfortable with the current tipping "system" , it would be welcome information to this thread.

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Article: "This restaurant killed tipping...and now it's bringing it back"

Quote

At the start of 2015, Thad Vogler decided to eliminate tips at his two San Francisco restaurants Bar Agricole and Trou Normand and raise prices by 20% to help bridge the pay discrepancy between the tipped staff and the kitchen employees...
...Vogler said the staff seemed on board when he introduced the new policy. But as it played out, the sentiment began to shift among formerly-tipped workers.

Chalk up one experiment gone wrong. Moral of the story is: No-tipping-restaurants work only if every nearby restaurant embraces the same no-tipping policy. 


“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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/quote

"They became more and more disgruntled, and we started to experience turnover," he said. "We were spending a lot of time and energy hiring and training, and rehiring and training."

He estimated he lost about 70% of his tipped staff -- or 30 people -- during the 10 months the policy was in place.

....

When tips were allowed, servers at the two restaurants made around $35-$45 an hour, which fell to $20-$35 when gratuity was eliminated.

/unquote

 

does sort of explain why the tipped staff population hasn't taken to the streets demanding $15/hour.

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Excellent article in the Feb 18 Washington Post about this topic.

 

Quote

Three years ago, Jay Porter, a former restaurant owner who abolished tipping at his restaurant, made a powerful case against the practice, an industry standard in the United States. Everything at his establishment, he wrote in a 2013 Op-Ed for Slate, improved after he enforced a mandatory 18 percent service charge—the food, the service, the pay, the customer satisfaction.

 

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Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and their readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

 

"A vasectomy might cost as much as a year’s worth of ice cream, but that doesn’t mean it’s equally enjoyable." -Ezra Dyer, NY Times

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Hi @Alex.

 

I read both these articles and agreed with many points in both of them. I have worked as a waitress years ago, once for no remuneration except tips, but made good money anyway. I really was completely unaware that tipping has roots in racism and slavery. I shouldn't be so surprised, as it's the only job I've ever had where I was paid absolutely nothing by my employer. We had to clean tables, put up chairs and sweep up too, which could never result in any tips. This was at Bad Bob's nightclub in Memphis, TN. I was making good money, and I figured it was their real estate, furniture, liquor, and they hired the live bands, so I went along with their illegal practices. I believe all the assertions made about sexual harassment in the industry too, from my experiences in it. I will say Bad Bob's wasn't bad for that (unless you count the stupid miniskirt mandatory uniforms), but I have seen lots of it elsewhere. Okay, maybe my standards on that have been lowered as mentioned in one of the articles. Let's just say Bad Bob's wasn't one of the worst offenders I've seen.

 

I have to say that I think there is a breakdown in Jay Porter's logic when he opens his 2013 Slate article with this:

 

"A couple of years after opening the Linkery restaurant in San Diego, the team and I adopted a policy of adding to each dining-in check a service charge of 18 percent—a little less than our tip average had been." (emphasis mine)

 

And states later in the article:

 

"When we switched from tipping to a service charge, our food improved, probably because our cooks were being paid more and didn't feel taken for granted. In turn, business improved, and within a couple of months, our server team was making more money than it had under the tipped system."

 

Hmm... Both servers and cooks making more money on less than the tip average had been? This could be explained away by increased volume of sales at the restaurant. It also means that unless the cook and server teams were expanded, they were working harder too, and I've never worked anywhere where there was much slack time at all. It could also be explained by voluntary tipping on top of the 18% enforced gratuity, but Jay stated that he confiscated all he could find. I for one get miffed at enforced gratuity, avoid restaurants/hotels that do this, and if I find myself stuck unexpectedly by it, do not leave an additional tip. I usually tip 20% or even more for really good service. Maybe I am one of those egomaniacal, power-mad, control freaks described in Slate the article, but I tend not to think this because I have been in the server's shoes and have a lot of empathy for their plight.

 

Also, I have to say that if Jay thinks he caught all the surreptitious tipping...

 

"If someone surreptitiously slipped a twenty or two under a water glass, we donated it to a rotating “charity of the month,” usually selected by a staff member or patron."

 

...he is quite mistaken. :smile:

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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An article today in the NYT updates some of the successes and failures of no-tipping policies starting with Joe's Crab Shack pulling out of the movement (mostly). 

Quote

Company research had found that 60 percent of the restaurants’ customers disliked the change in tipping, Mr. Merritt said. They wanted to inspire good service with their tips and they didn’t trust management to pass on the money to its employees, he said. <snip>The number of customers at the no-tip locations dropped 8 percent to 10 percent on average, he said.

Danny Meyer's group says its an initial success but attributes that partly to the media coverage his restaurants have had about the change. Interestingly, each of the restaurants that they identified as dropping the no-tip policy concluded their statements by saying - it's coming eventually.

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Chef, Curious Kumquat, Silver City, NM

A recent write-up in Dorado magazine

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