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Alex

Is mandatory tipping the new normal in the US?

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Article in the Washington Post

 

Quote

A few short years ago, automatic tipping was limited to restaurants with large parties, experts say. Even then, a guest would be notified of the gratuity and could adjust the tip based on the level of service. Lately, these automatic tips have made appearances in places people don’t expect them, particularly on room service bills. Removing them is often difficult, embarrassing or both.

 

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I think tipping in general should just be removed. Just look at countries like the UK or Asian countries, nobody tips there. To me, a tip should be given if the service is good. It's something that shouldn't be expected. The problem is, almost all service in America expects you to tip them. Even if it's just a few percent, it really adds up over the years and the food gets too expensive for what its worth.

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3 hours ago, Barbara Tarbuck said:

I think tipping in general should just be removed. Just look at countries like the UK or Asian countries, nobody tips there. To me, a tip should be given if the service is good. It's something that shouldn't be expected. The problem is, almost all service in America expects you to tip them. Even if it's just a few percent, it really adds up over the years and the food gets too expensive for what its worth.

FIRST you should convince the restaurants, hotels, resorts, bars and etc., TO PAY REGULAR WAGES TO SERVERS. 

 

What??  Don't you know that servers are PAID BY THE RESTAURANTS A FRACTION OF THE MINIMUM WAGE in most states?

California mandates that servers are paid minimum wage $9.00 per hour  (would you do that kind of work for that amount???)

Other states use the absurdly low federal minimum of $2.13 for tipped employees.   

If you don't want to tip - DON'T GO TO A RESTAURANT because if you refuse to tip, that employee will suffer.  He or she has to pay rent and you try paying rent or buying food or PAYING FOR CHILD CARE at $2.13  AN HOUR!  

BABY SITTERS GET MORE THAN THAT!

 

In OTHER COUNTRIES  restaurants, hotels, etc., PAY A REGULAR WAGE TO SERVERS!  Servers in the EU can depend on earning respectable wages.  I've talked to foreign visitors who are "professional" servers and THEY CAN AFFORD TO TAKE VACATIONS HERE IN THE U.S.  There is no way a server earning minimum wage in California could EVER take a vacation in Europe.  They are lucky to get a couple of days off because many have to work two or three jobs BECAUSE EMPLOYERS DON'T LIKE TO HIRE FULL TIME BECAUSE THEN THEY HAVE TO PROVIDE "BENEFITS" and the cheap assholes won't do that.  

 

Here, servers have to depend on HONORABLE PEOPLE who understand they are DEPENDENT ON TIPS FOR A LIVING WAGE.  

 

I don't go out much now, because of illness but when I did, I always tipped at least 15% and often 20% because I was dining alone but the server had to visit my table just as often if I had been a larger party.

 

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Obviously I'm not the first to attempt to deal with this matter, but at my current and soon-to-open restaurant we are going to be tip-included. So here is some of my thought process, much of which has come from previous threads here at EG.

 

First, the wage disparity between front and back of house is unacceptable to me. Kitchen staff work much longer hours than FOH and traditionally are at a set wage with no tips. Maybe you're thrown a case of beer at the end of the shift, but unless you're at a more prosperous, professional restaurant, you're not getting a cut of the tips or annual bonuses. I know there are plenty of exceptions to this but I'm speaking in general.

 

Second, BOH turnover and fatigue is high, and finding replacements is getting even more difficult, and factor in challenges to immigration law that are stifling flow of workers, so strategies to reward and maintain BOH is crucial. My approach is to cut them into the sales...not necessarily a profit sharing, but through the tip-included.

 

Third, any restaurant that is considering such things should be at a level that there can be the professionalism to ensure that the service warrants the tips. No one should ever walk away feeling like they didn't get 20% worth of service. (I've never understood tips at carryout counters.)

 

Lastly, If a restaurant simply raised its prices and said that they don't accept tips, that would be too confusing or contradictory to many guests who would leave a tip anyway. I prefer to say "tip already included" and make the tip and service match.

 

With that thought process, the way we're operating is:

 

Base pay of $15 for all BOH (Dish/Kitchen Manager, Chef, Sous, Bev Mngr, Bar Asst). Each gets a percentage of the tips. We're able to project sales including our break even figure. So for the sake of example let's assume tip included totaling $100K for the year. Chef (me) who is the sole staff investor gets 30% ($30k), Sous and Bvg Mngr get 25% ($25k each) and the remaining positions get 10% ($10k). That would put the dish/kitchen mngr at a base pay of $25k plus tips of $10k for $35k which is $17.50 an hour for a 50-week schedule. Sous chef has a base of $30k, adding the tips and they're at $65k. For a midwest city that's fair. And a reminder that this is a conservative sales estimate. As sales increase, tips increase...and yes, staffing could increase which would result in a re-distribution of percentages. [don't put a calculator to these figures because there are additional factors that I left out for brevity such as hours/days in a work week, alternative compensation, etc.]

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BTW, I just found this MIT calculator that shows what a living wage is in each municipality. In St Louis its $11.06 for a single adult.

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DId I miss it....what are you paying FOH?

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4 minutes ago, gulfporter said:

DId I miss it....what are you paying FOH?

Ha! Ooops...yes, in my world that detail was assumed and I forgot to mention. I've designed a service flow that requires no FOH (I put my bar in the BOH category).

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Glad to see it only took abusive goverment regulations and 20 yrs for the industry to use my financial model developed in 1997,....... but never accepted

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