5 Reasons to Stop Tipping at Restaurants

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You know how the routine goes, you go out to eat and at the end of the meal you add a certain additional percentage onto your bill which goes to the server. Tipping is a cultural norm in the US, but there are plenty of reasons to stop doing it.

This is an argument to stop the practice altogether, by the way, not an assertion that you as an individual should just stop tipping. Don’t do that. No one is living closer to the edge of insanity than someone who has waited tables for years, and no one wants to be killed by a normally perky girl named Brenda outside a Ruby Tuesday’s. Overall though, it’s high time the custom of tipping was reevaluated.

5 Lawsuits

In recent years, there’s been a rise in lawsuits filed by servers against their employers, mostly based on the claim that the establishments are not properly following the laws on tips. Some restaurants pool tips among all employees, a practice that seems fair in theory, but has led to lawsuits in which front-of-house employees (e.g. servers and bartenders) allege that salaried workers should not be eligible to receive a portion of the tips, and also aren’t doing the work that the eventual tip is based upon. One such recent lawsuit was actually settled for more than $5 million.

4 It’s Already Happening

Some newer and more forward-thinking restaurants have already taken it upon themselves to eliminate tipping, instead adding either a surcharge, or increasing menu prices to account for the cost of service. In fact, there’s now such an abundance of high-profile restaurants in cities like New York and San Francisco that have done away with tipping, that it’s hard to deny it may be the wave of the future. Even celebrity chef Tom Colicchio supports the notion, saying, “It makes perfect sense,” and claiming he may try it in some of his own restaurants.

3 It’s Unfair

The practice of tipping, the standard level of which has increased from 15% to 20% over the last couple of decades, is at its core an extremely outdated system. Why is it that back-of-house workers are expected to slave away in a hot, hectic kitchen for a flat pay rate, while front-of-house servers control their own destiny when it comes to their paycheck? Especially in more upscale establishments, the discrepancies between the take-home of front and back-of-house can be tremendous, thanks mostly to the large tips that servers can rake in on high-priced bills.

2 It’s Discriminatory

Tipping is also an inherently discriminatory practice. You may like to think you’ve been tipping based purely on quality of service, but studies have shown that tips tend to vary based on factors like the age, race, weight and even height of the servers. It goes the other way too, as servers are often known to stereotype whether or not a given table will be good tippers based on many of the same factors. The fact of the matter is, allowing pay and/or service to be based on the whims and biases of each individual customer and/or server, is an undeniably flawed practice.

1 Too Much in the Hands of the People

Let’s face it; there are a lot of a-holes out there. There are a whole lot of a-hole customers. There are a whole lot of a-hole servers. So why are we putting so much power in their hands? Too many stingy customers show up looking for a reason to lessen their eventual tip. And too many slacker servers already believe a certain table isn’t going to tip well, and therefore focus their best efforts elsewhere. In the end, there are just too many variables in how tipping works, and only by eliminating the majority of the variables, will the overall amount of a-holery decrease. That’s just science.

Trying to get better service? Have a look at the Best Ways to Get Faster Service before your next dining experience.

If you’re not nice to your servers, though, you leave yourself open to the startling things these Fast Food Employees do. Gross!

TK Kelly is a comic and writer who has performed at clubs across the country like the Comedy Store, the Improv, Gotham, and Standup NY. He has also written for Tosh.0, Comedy Central Studios, Funny or Die, Recycled Babies Sketch Comedy, and Second City. His standup comedy has been described as “a thing that happens sometimes,” and according to one of his grandmothers, he is a generally delightful young man. If he were forced at gunpoint to describe himself in one word, that would be a really weird hostage situation.

0 thoughts on “5 Reasons to Stop Tipping at Restaurants”

  1. As a server I find this article highly offensive. While stating your opinion on tipping is something you are allowed to express, it is NOT okay to tell people to stop tipping. Tipping is the only way servers make their money in several states. For example in Texas, where I wait tables, the server gets paid $2.13 an hour. This gets eaten up by taxes and is never seen by a server. So the only revenue a server see is the DIRECT tips from a table to the individual server. Tip pooling is based primarily on individual establishments and again should be no basis for if you tip a server or not. And as far as your “poor back of house” employees, they get paid an hourly rate that they have agreed to. And several of them get tips from servers. If servers got paid an hourly rate that was realistic and restaurants charged more per entree to compensate the lack of tipping Im sure you would have an opinionated article to write about how you disagreed with that. I would love to know what restaurant you have ever worked at and if you needed that job to pay your rent and bills and not just money to mess around with.

  2. Great atricle.If you do not make the money you want to then get a different job. Percentage of the bill? Only freeloaders have the mindset that you deserve a cut instead of a flat fee.

  3. No, have to agree. I waitressed in college. While I loved my job there were a lot of issues with tipping. I had a boss who started a waitress and went into management. She would make sure the best dressed-largest groups were seated in the sections where her friends worked. I often got the single/couple customers who looked less well off. Also, her friends were given the busiest shifts, and us Newbies were often put on the less busy shifts, meaning less tips. I live in Europe now where tipping isnt the norm. Wait staff are paid More, and there is also a surcharge just for sitting down, around 2-6 euro depending on the scale of the restaurant. We receive better service here, and its still cheaper to eat here than in the States. (P.S. I will not put money in a comunal tip jar when home and will tell management why on my way out the door).

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