Tipping, Revisited

The Chronicle tells us:

Today’s federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 an hour, although some states require employers to pay slightly more. Researchers say that diners generally understand that food servers are working for the tips, not the paycheck — which could total just $85.20 for a 40-hour workweek, before taxes.

But do not fear! Our cadre of scientists are on the case!

McCall looked at whether diners would tip differently based on the appearance of the tip tray, that plastic rectangle some restaurants use to present the bill. Patrons tipped more when the tray was embossed with a credit card logo than when it was blank.

Uh…huh. Average tip is going up from 15% to 20%. Great. Why is it that restaurants can’t pay people a decent wage like the rest of industry? I can understand how small restaurants must fight to survive, but large chains with fixed menus, Sysco-packaged ingredients, and cook-by-numbers charts in the kitchen couldn’t have it too hard.

3 replies on “Tipping, Revisited”

  1. Couldn’t agree more. I consider myself a very good tipper (20% for fairly good service), but even if every patron tipped this amount (which trust me, they don’t), a waitperson’s salary puts them barely at the poverty line. I used to think (in my childish naivete) that waitpeople were paid minimum wage PLUS tips… I thought that tips were for service above and beyond the call of duty. They should require all businesses (read: including restaurants) to employees the minimum wage, not including tips.


  2. I definetly agree that waitpersons are not making enough money to live on. I also have a problem with the “tip out”, meaning that waiters/waitresses must tip out the bartenders/hosts/etc. I believe this is fair if the server used them, and necessary for these people to make money, but if the customer didnt order any drinks prepared by the bartender, they should not get a share in that waiters tip. Don’t most people tip based on the quality of the service? And if the service was great on the part of the server, with no help from a bartender, then why would the bartender share in that tip. I have never waited tables, but I often go to restraunts where my friends work and leave very large tips (100%) simply because the server is my friend and I know they are not making much money. It irritates me to know that they have to split that money with a bartender that I didnt use and a host who allowed me to seat myself in my friends section, when the only reason I tipped so much to begin with is because the server was a friend of mine. While I am unsure as to whether or not they do, I also do not think that bartenders should have to share their tips with servers. It seems like it would be easier just to pay them all at least minimum wage, that way they are not dependent on the unpredictable generosity of their customers.

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