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A former member
Post #: 5
The other day at a (ridiculously-) overpriced restaurant, I had a conversation with my coworker about the subject of tipping. There were 4 of us at the table, and the other two were scrutinizing the bill to ensure that the one putting down the cash tipped an acceptable amount.

He remarked with pride (if a tad defensively) that he always tips at least 20% -- more, if the service warrants.

I found that rather a little bit absurd.

The core of the argument, "The employees need tips because they get paid such a low wage," is a bit of cart-before-the-horsing. The problem is really that the employer is allowed to pay ridiculously-low wages *because* the customer is expected to make up the difference.

Which is why I don't tip. I expect a certain level of service, and I also expect the business to pay for this service out of the profits of the product or service I have paid for.

Of course, if it were just me, I'd fall rather short of my goal of affecting real change. More likely, I'd have to stop eating out on account of the frequency of bitter waitstaff who take it upon themselves to avenge their bruised paychecks by applying various bodily fluids to my meals (another bizarre consequence of our 'tipping' society).

But if a significant number of consumers refused to subsidize employers' privilege to pay low wages, the establishments would be forced to pay a decent living wage (the consequence for failure being to lose their staff and go out of business).

Naturally, we'd see the price of our meals, coffee and so forth increase... but we wouldn't have to tip.

What are your thoughts?
Plano, TX
Post #: 664
I won't go to a full service restaurant unless I can afford to tip. Why? Because that is the structure of that business - the waitrons get paid a small wage for the work that they do for the restaurant, and get tips based on the quality of service they provide. That is the business model. With any other business, I won't enter into a transaction if I cannot afford to pay the fees. I see tipping as no difference. I also won't do valet parking if I cannot afford to tip, and I won't use a taxi service if I cannot tip either.

As far as how much, it really depends. I have "stiffed" very few waiters/waitresses. The service has to be pretty bad for me not to tip. If I have a problem with the actual product (not cooked correctly, or the quality is bad) I take it up with management and either ask for something else (and not be charged for the the food that sucked) or ask for a refund or other compensation.

If I get really good service - or if for example request the waiter to do a lot of running around (which is typical when you have a big family) I will tip well. But, it is pretty rare that I would go over 20%, but I normally don't tip less than 15%. Or, if I am taking up a table for a very long length of time, I will tip extra, especially if it is a busy night, and by my hoarding the table, the waitperson is not earning more money if another party was there.

The whole tipping issue is an interesting one. I would prefer that the wait staff get paid more and it just be included in the price of the food. But that isn't how it is usually done.

The business reality is that if the restaurant is going to pay the wait staff $10 to $15 an hour, your food is going to cost a whole lot more. Having customers pay for tips means usually that the ones that require more service and time out of the wait staff are the ones that for the most part will pay more than those that don't.

Also, tips are a great incentive. I have been a waitress in the past, and while I think I always did a decent job, but the incentive to make more money always drove me to go the extra mile.

I rarely will put money in a tip jar at somewhere like Starbucks though. Sometimes I do, but the model is different. But I do tip at often at Sonic - anyone that can bring me food on roller skates without doing a face plant deserves some extra coin. It's almost like dinner and a show.

My personal opinion is if someone isn't willing to tip, they shouldn't go to full service restaurants or full service bars.
Dallas, TX
Post #: 318
Tips are all about the incentive. Who cares if your drinks are refilled or if your food arrives hot or cold if the waiters/waitresses are paid the same either way? I can't think of a more capitalistic way to handle the service industry. You are paying based on the amount/quality of service rendered.

- Travis
A former member
Post #: 6
Walmart tried that once. They underpaid their workers and then encouraged them to go on welfare to make up the difference. They might still be doing it; I don't know. But just because we corrupt it and call it "tipping" doesn't change what it is.

A waiter at a full-service restaurant might get paid $4 an hour, yet if he were to actually provide $4/hour service, he'd be fired. In any other industry, if you were to pay an employee $4 an hour, you'd be lucky if he showed up, to say nothing about his productivity on the rare occasions when he did.

What is wrong with the model of paying servers a fair wage in exchange for the same expectation of good service, but encouraging the customer to tip for what he feels is above and beyond... like we do in every other industry?

They are, after all, employees, not entrepreneurs.

And incidentally, what an odd concept, "15% of your bill."

Does that mean that if I order a $20 steak, I should expect better service than if I ordered an $8 sandwich? Any company that adopted this as an official policy would get boycotted almost immediately, yet there it is in front of us.
Dallas, TX
Post #: 321
They are providing a service, you are paying for it. That's not the definition of charity. Someone doesn't provide the service and you pay them anyways because it's the "right" thing to so since it's part of their wages. That's charity. You are looking at tipping as an obligation forced on society because waiters are not paid what they should be. That's the spin our socialist leaning society has put on it but that's the wrong way to look at it.

Nothing is wrong with the model of paying servers 10-15 dollars an hour is exchange for an *expectation* of good service. However the current model is tip based and nothing is wrong with that either. It's the business owners choice to handle things that way and their choice alone. If you don't like participating in such a model then don't. That choice is yours.

- Travis
Old T.
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 780

... The problem is really that the employer is allowed to pay ridiculously-low wages *because* the customer is expected to make up the difference.

Which is why I don't tip. I expect a certain level of service, and I also expect the business to pay for this service out of the profits of the product or service I have paid for.

When you walk into a full-service restaurant, it is understood that you expect a waiter's service and that you are expected to tip (i.e., pay) for it. You are clearly aware of this expectation. Under these circumstances, to accept the waiter's service but refuse to pay is a breach of an agreement.

The uncommunicated, non-standard expectations you may keep in your own mind are not a basis for your conducting business with others.

I think you are seriously confused on this matter and that it is a serious ethical matter. Refusing to tip (i.e., pay) after silently accepting someone else's efforts based on such understood terms is a fraud on the waiter. It comes out of the waiter's pocket, not the business's.

I think that if you want to establish a different agreement than the one that is normally understood at a full-service restaurant, then the only honorable thing to do is to first speak to the restaurant manager: "Mr. Manager, I do not agree with this tipping system. I would be glad to eat here and accept a waiter's service, but I will not tip the waiter as customarily expected. I think that the waiter's services should be included in the food pricing." I think the manager would respond this way: "Mr. Z, Thank you for telling us this in advance. We find your proposal unacceptable. McDonald's is just down the street. Have a nice day."

I would say you owe all the waiters you have ever stiffed their tip, plus interest, plus an apology. Because the specific waiters would probably be hard to find to recompense, you should tip 25% to all waiters who serve you from now on for at least as long as the past period during which you have been refusing to tip.

NOTE: Edited to correct typo.
A former member
Post #: 7
Interesting. Well, I consider myself duly chastised.

It is an arrangement that I do not agree with, but then I suppose I do have the option to eat elsewhere.
Old T.
Group Organizer
Dallas, TX
Post #: 781
Interesting. Well, I consider myself duly chastised.

It is an arrangement that I do not agree with, but then I suppose I do have the option to eat elsewhere.

Hi Josh,

Thanks for being mature about this. There wasn't any way for me to say it wihout coming out and saying it.
A former member
Post #: 206
Finally a topic I can sink my teeth into! shock

Old Toad is right of course. I would also add that the customary tipping also demands a customary and acceptable level of service. Bad service, small tip. I am a very good tipper and in the resturants I visit frequently I get above the normal level of service which I have no issue in paying for.

Believe it or not, but 2 weeks ago my regular waitress at one resturant gave me a Thank You card. The card had a $25 gift card in it...which I promptly tipped right back to her. Naturally, the entire staff knows me and I get exceptional service.

Resturants that give bad service I avoid to their everlasting regret for having ME as a patron is akin to having a saint in their midst. They are blessed and bring me offerings of bread and Iced Tea. devilish

McKinney, TX
Post #: 80
Hey Everybody,

After being a waiter for 15 years I do have an opinion on this one:

Waiters are paid $2.30 an hour. "Tip" stands for "To Insure Promptness."

The system is set up to give the customer the best opportunity for good service. I always considered myself a very good waiter and would not have had it any other way. The problem is that most people do not demand good service. 15% is the standard for good service. 20% means excellent service.

If you do not get good service you should not tip 15% and you should explain that to the manager or the waiter. You cannot be passive. If you are not happy you have to express your dissatisfaction.

However, if you do recieve good service ask the waiter for his name and request him when ever you come back to that particular restaurant. Also tell the manager you had a good experience. This helps to build a relationship with the waiter--meaning that he feels that he needs to take care of you. And Jeff is right, if you have good service, and you can afford to tip a little more it will usually get you fantastic service the next time . I had many call parties--customers that came in that wanted only me to wait on them--that were quit generous. Needless to say, I spoiled them rotten.

Believe me--you would not want the system to be any different. Try to get good service in Europe at an average restaurant. They get paid by the hour and they will get to you when they are ready.
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