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mkayahara

Rethinking tipping culture

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Oy, Edward. If you think government is "impartial", you need to get out more.

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talking with someone I know who has been a server, there can be some weird things happen in places that have a tipping out policy . where they worked, Tipping out was calculated total sales that server had that night at a set % but if one large party stiffs on the tip it can turn around so that a server actually owes more for tipping out for the shift than what they took in. I had been of the mistaken understanding that tipping out was just a percentage of the tips taken in not that it was a percentage of total sales x 15 % . I could see how this kind of thing could really cause friction between front and back of house.


"Why is the rum always gone?"

Captain Jack Sparrow

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Oy, Edward. If you think government is "impartial", you need to get out more.

Edward lives in a more reasonable country than we do.


Edited by ScoopKW (log)
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Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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I guess ignoring the minimum wage and implementing a "tipping wage" of under $3.00/hr is "impartial" as well.

No one is holding the hospitality organizations (the ones who lobbied and got "tipping wages" in the first place) accountable. Who will?

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I guess ignoring the minimum wage and implementing a "tipping wage" of under $3.00/hr is "impartial" as well.

No one is holding the hospitality organizations (the ones who lobbied and got "tipping wages" in the first place) accountable. Who will?

Nobody. The NRA (the Restaurant Association, not the gun NRA), shovels money at our legislators to keep the status quo. Nobody in Washington is going to do anything unless it 1) jibes with their ideologically-pure belief system; and 2) nets them the maximum donation into their campaign fund.

And into this toxic mix that is the US government, you want to add a certification system for restaurant staff? Please. We suffer enough already.


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

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That was an excellent article.

But I maintain that an America without it's tip culture is as attainable as an America without it's gun culture.


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

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Well looks like Noodles & Co will be on my list of establishments to visit in the US when I am wanting something "chainy" 

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2590823/Please-DO-NOT-tip-waiter-Noodle-restaurant-implements-unusual-gratuity-policy-respect-does-not-cost-anything.html


http://www.thecriticalcouple.co.uk

Latest blog post - Oh my - someone needs a spell checker

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Well looks like Noodles & Co will be on my list of establishments to visit in the US when I am wanting something "chainy" 

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2590823/Please-DO-NOT-tip-waiter-Noodle-restaurant-implements-unusual-gratuity-policy-respect-does-not-cost-anything.html

 

Glad they (Noodles & Co) made the move to get rid of tipping.

 

Nevertheless, I hope you have better food than I have had on my visits to the local franchisees in my area.  I tried a few different places in the hope that the 1st time was a fluke, to see if they deserved another chance etc (at least for my taste) and I had to conclude that for me, personally, they served some of the most regrettable (and confusion**-type) food around.  But others may have had good experiences.

 

** versus 'fusion'.

 

------------

 

I have not studied the entire thread carefully and a search for "Next" did not turn up what I was looking for - so, I might comment that various restaurants, usually higher-end ones, have moved to the "ticket" system.  No doubt most of the folks on eG know about this quite well?  If so and it has been discussed then my apologies. 

 

For those who do not know of this, Next Restaurant (and after that, places like Alinea and a few others, I think) in Chicago instituted a prepaid ticket system with online-only transactions whereby the entire cost of the meal (food, drinks, all applicable taxes, mandatory "service charge") is prepaid by the intending diner for a meal at a certain time on a certain day.  When you come to the restaurant you eat your meal then get up and go.  No further money or financial transactions cross the table and no "tipping" is done at the end of the meal.  It's like buying a ticket to a concert or a show.  It is non-refundable, and if you don't show up you lose your money.  You are free to sell it (in the approved manner) to someone else, of course, or to give it to someone else to use with "transfer of ownership" notification to the restaurant.  In recent times other restaurants are adopting this system too, with mixed receptions from the dining public.

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 I work BOH in France, but lived and worked in the USA for 20 years, all BOH.

 

 Servers here are  paid the same rate as cooks, ( at least where I work) their pay is relevant to the responsibilities they have, the amount of time with the organization, and  the position they hold.  Customers do tip small amounts, but over a month it adds up. All tips go to the house and at the end of the month the house doles out the tips evenly to all staff who are non management.

 I t has been a few years since I was in the USA so I do not know the pay rates any more, but here ( fine dining)   a CDP earns about 20-28k euros a year (as an FYI rents around here for a 2 bed house are 3-450 a month) so not too shabby, a server makes the same amount.

 What I have seen is that Staff tend to stay longer, as they have more security in their work. We run a Brigade system both BOH and FOH and that also helps.

 The American system works well for America, but IMHO does lead to more short term thinking on both the employer and employees behalf. We can plan staff education in the fairly sure knowledge that they will be here 6 months from now. All of this is of course helped by the  French employment legislation which requires a written contract of employment, and makes it very difficult ,if not impossible to fire staff., 

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Q: "Do they [the restaurant industry] have a point when they say that an increase in the minimum wage will mean a cut in service and higher costs?"

A: "Well, these are their two primary arguments: one, that it will kill jobs, two, that it will make the cost of food go up. So on that first one, killing jobs. There are actually seven states in the United States that have the same wage for tipped and non-tipped workers. They range from somewhere around $8.00 and $9.50 an hour. You can go to California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Montana, Nevada, Minnesota. All seven states have faster industry growth rates than the restaurant industry nationally. And in fact, we recently did a regression, looked at the states with the higher minimum wages for tipped workers, we found that they have higher sales per capita in the restaurant industry.

"So we would argue that evidence shows that you could actually do better as an industry, faster industry growth, more jobs, if you treat your workers better. On that second argument that the cost of food will go up. We used USDA methodology. And we applied the current bill that's moving through Congress to every worker along the food chain, from farm workers, to meat and poultry processing workers, to restaurant workers. And we assume that every employer along the food chain would pass on 100 percent of the cost of the wage increase to their purchaser. The title of the report is “A Dime a Day", because it would cost the average American household at most $0.10 more for all food bought outside the home. That's groceries and restaurants alike. So we're talking pennies more on your hamburger when you eat out, for 30 million workers to come out of poverty.

Q: "But what do you say to the small-business owner, who says “Gee I run a very small place, we-- our waiters depend upon the tips at the counter. We just can't afford it. We'd go out of business if you require us to raise their wages."

A: "I would say a couple of things. First of all, you as a small business, you are actually being cheated by these very large corporations that are running the show, setting the standards, raking in millions of profits and screwing you by getting away with very-- you know-- very, very large, high-volume business and setting standards that require you to have to pay for very high rates of turnover. Our industry has the highest rates of employee turnover of any industry in the United States. I would say-- I can point you to plenty of small businesses around the country that actually pay their workers a livable wage and have managed to cut their turnover in half, in some cases, completely out, because they treat their workers well.

"I would also say that nobody's expecting you to change your wages overnight. We're talking about policies that would phase in a minimum wage increase. A minimum wage increase for both your servers and the back of the house. But the last and most important thing I would say is this: no customer in America believes when they leave a tip that they are leaving a wage for a worker. Nobody believes that they're paying a wage. People think they're paying a tip on top of a wage. We don't think about this in any other context except restaurants. We believe somehow that because they're getting tips, they shouldn't get a wage. It's not true in any other context. And that is because of the power of this industry."

http://billmoyers.com/episode/all-work-and-no-pay/

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I'm no defender of the US tipping policy, but Moyers (as usual) only gives half of the story. Certainly the minimum wage for servers is crazy low...and tipping is variable, but the fact that there actually are servers working in restaurants indicates that they are making enough money to stay in that job.

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$2.13 per hour + tips is "enough money to stay in that job".

Okay.

Well, it must be enough money for them to keep at the job because observation indicates that the servers are there and working.

 

Unless its just a hobby for them.

 

Would they like to do better? Sure. Is the current system stupid? Absolutely.

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Lets think through what a server might make at a diner.  8 hours x $2.13 = $17.04 in salary

 

lets say he/she served 30 customers ( a low number, I think for 8 hours)  who had an average check of $20 (also low) and they all tipped 15% that's $90 tips plus salary for 107 for 8 hours or $13.38/hour. And I bet I've way-underestimated things. Might be half again or twice as much.

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Well, it must be enough money for them to keep at the job because observation indicates that the servers are there and working.

 

Unless its just a hobby for them.

 

Would they like to do better? Sure. Is the current system stupid? Absolutely.

They may be there because they have no other choice. If they leave that job, in this economy, where would they go?

Are you even aware of what it is you're saying?

$2.13 per hour + tips is less than minimum wage. It's legalized slavery. Let's be blunt and call a spade a spade.

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Lets think through what a server might make at a diner.  8 hours x $2.13 = $17.04 in salary

 

lets say he/she served 30 customers ( a low number, I think for 8 hours)  who had an average check of $20 (also low) and they all tipped 15% that's $90 tips plus salary for 107 for 8 hours or $13.38/hour. And I bet I've way-underestimated things. Might be half again or twice as much.

That's a broad assumption that very likely doesn't bear out in reality.

You're forgetting that in many places, tips are pooled and divided amongst all FOH workers. So that includes busboys (who don't receive tips), or if it's your stereotypical diner or Olive Garden, it might also include things like the cashier and other FOH staff. So your effective $13.38 per hour is even less when you take those factors into account. And that's assuming that management is above-board, not like slimeballs who steal or skim off tips.

You're also not considering things like lack of health insurance and the amount of sexual harassment restaurant workers regularly endure. Those ARE factors that must be included because they impact a server's performance and job morale, and further determine an employer's bottom line.

I linked to the report above. Did you even bother to read it? Most likely not, but why should I be surprised?

Yes, $2.13/hour + tips using your napkin math means that American restaurant workers are living in the lap of luxury. Okay.


Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)

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You clearly are not aware of what you are saying.

 

Minimum wage in NYC is $8.00/hour.

 

Save the rhetoric and get your facts straight.

 

And lets keep the conversation civil, OK pal?

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16 USD is the minium wages for a waitress over 20 years of age in Sweden, yes we have high taxes  which will removed on your salary.  How ever  you get healthcare and pension  on this  salary.


Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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CatPoet, your society is structured entirely differently than is our in the US.  What works in Sweden wouldn't work over here.

 

I stand by what I have said whenever this topic crops up:  The waitstaff themselves are not driving a reform to our tipping couture.  If that were the case, it would have been changed decades ago.

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As I've said here before, in my very small remote town, my lunch servers average $15/hr and peak around $80.  My night averages $20-25/hr and peaks around $125.  I do a base pay of $4/hr and there is no tip out and no pooling.  I get the best in town.  Previously when I worked at Keystone Ski Resort, I had guys getting much, much more than that - but it was seasonal.  Again, we had the best in town.  My point is that the cream rises just like in any industry.  You can make not only a subsistence living waiting tables, but a helluva living if you hustle and have a head on your shoulders.  As a restaurant owner I fully support a higher minimum or better yet scrapping the tip culture and having the cost shifted into menu prices, but I've seen time and time again that customers don't want that.  I also feel like it has to be an all or none proposal - that the system change completely.

 

The mention to sexual harassment is one we're spending a lot of time with right now with our staff - and the subtle racism that plays out in tips.  That's another discussion but also relevant because we're talking about pay related to work environment.

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I stand by what I have said whenever this topic crops up:  The waitstaff themselves are not driving a reform to our tipping couture.  If that were the case, it would have been changed decades ago.

 

And that is absolutely the God's truth.  It's easy for folks to view this from afar and whine and moan about the "rich and greedy" restaurant owners (is there really even such a thing?), and the "rich and greedy" lobbyists, and the poor "exploited" waitstaff that "has no choice."  But the truth is that most servers like the current system just fine.  If they didn't, there'd be a big revolt, and that would be that.

 

I myself waited tables eons ago, as have all three of my children.  One son hated being "exploited" in the restaurant industry so badly that he decided to make a career of it, and got his degree in Hotel & Restaurant Management. 

 

But for this example, I'm going to tell you about my daughter. 

 

She has an advanced degree in Spanish and is, by profession now, a Spanish teacher.  She worked waiting tables at various times throughout her highschool and college years, in addition to other odd jobs such as coaching and refereeing volleyball and basketball and even flag football and tutoring Spanish.  She met and married a man who was working for Dell at the time, but who had always wanted to go to law school.  She had graduated from university by then and had a really good job teaching Spanish at what is one of the most prestigious high schools in the nation.  It's a boarding school, so there are pupils there from all over the world and, as one of the "boarding faculty," she lived in a nice apartment on campus.  All in all, the timing was good, so her husband quit Dell and headed off to law school.  She was teaching during the day, and waiting tables at night, in order to help pay the bills. 

 

Fast forward to a few years ago; hubby graduated from law school and passed the bar and found a job in Houston, a place where neither of them had ever lived.  The timing was not right for my daughter to get a job teaching Spanish in the local school system, so she walked into one of the best "celeb-chef-restaurants" in the city, and that night came home with nearly $300 in her pocket.  There's only one other job I can think of where you can walk in to work on day one and that night have $300 cash, and it's not something that she would like having to do, let alone something of which her family and husband would approve.

 

"But, but, but..." I can just hear some of you saying.  "Sure...but not everybody is working at a fancy celebrity chef's restaurant hauling home that kind of cash."

 

And you're right about that, of course. Many, perhaps even most, servers are toiling away for much less, sometimes not even making $300 in a week, let alone the first night on the job.

 

They're working in diners and small corner cafes and burger joints and short-order dives.  In fact, they're working in the exact same sorts of places where my three kids and I got our starts in the food service industry.

 

You call that "exploitation."  In our family, we called that "an entry level job."  And we were glad to get it.

 

And that's where my daughter worked for years and years and years, in order to get enough experience and knowledge that she could one day walk into a fancy, upscale, high-end, celebrity-chef-driven restaurant and be hired immediately on the spot and that very night be serving "big reds" to fancy, upscale, high-end diners who leave fancy, upscale, high-end big fat tips.

 

Every single poll I've ever seen wherein restaurant servers are asked if they want to change the system, the overwhelming majority say "no."  As for the "job lock" of all of these poor, exploited servers, it seems to me that there are restaurants on practically every corner of every town in the nation.  It's easy enough to take advantage of the many, many choices open to servers.  The most obvious option is to switch and work BOH.  Or if they don't like the restaurant/management/system, etc. where they're currently working, they can quit and go work at another restaurant. 

 

Or, they can do what countless servers (and my kids and I) have done - work hours that suit your schedule and go to school and learn to do something else.

 

Now, just to be clear, I'm not saying that I, personally, am or am not in favor of the current system. 

 

But I am saying that it definitely has its advantages and benefits and its enthusiastic supporters and if the majority of servers decided to end it, end it would.


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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But the truth is that most servers like the current system just fine.

But then, why do we hear so many complaints here about customers that tip badly?

I'd say bad tippers are part of the system, you can't have your cake and eat it too....

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But then, why do we hear so many complaints here about customers that tip badly?

I'd say bad tippers are part of the system, you can't have your cake and eat it too....

For the same reason we hear about getting a bad mortgage rate, a bad deal on a car, a bad contract...we all shoot for the ideal 20% tipper but you get the 10% tippers too.  I don't think I've yet to work in a perfect industry.

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 But the truth is that most servers like the current system just fine.  If they didn't, there'd be a big revolt, and that would be that.

 

 

 

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".

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