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Tipped workers in U.S. invoke #MeToo in fight to raise minimum wage

10 Comments
By DEEPTI HAJELA and DAVID KLEPPER

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Sorry, but a tip should not be mandatory and patrons shouldn't be made to feel obligated to give one either.

I reward good service will a pleasant, friendly attitude.

It is not for me to make up the difference in a persons salary. I want to eat a burger...I pay for the burger...end of obligation.

If my burger costs more because the establishment has to raise wages then so be it.

Time we gave these people a fair days pay for a fair days work!

7 ( +7 / -0 )

It is not for me to make up the difference in a persons salary. 

I agree completely. Tipping has become mandatory in the USA unfortunately and seen by the employers as part of the salary. It shouldn't be, and the wages for service workers should be as other salaried workers. Fixed.

I really hate going to restaurants in the USA because of this 20% gratuity tax. Also to get a good table I need to tip the host/hostess......??

1 ( +2 / -1 )

First, nobody forces anyone to choose a job as a waitress/waiter, where you know going into it that the wage is low because you receive tips. And the tips can vary, due to the fact that tipping in the US is not mandatory, nor should it be.

Second, it would be rather rare to have a customer in a normal eatery (unless it's a strip club, for example) make such a sexual reference. And if it happened, after telling the customer off, she should have went to her manager, where they would have asked him to leave.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

First, nobody forces anyone to choose a job as a waitress/waiter, where you know going into it that the wage is low because you receive tips.

Very few people choose to be a waiter/waitress because they want to - they choose it out of necessity. You know, the necessity to have a place to live and food to eat.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Second, it would be rather rare to have a customer in a normal eatery (unless it's a strip club, for example) make such a sexual reference. And if it happened, after telling the customer off, she should have went to her manager, where they would have asked him to leave.

Yuko, I worked at 4 different restaurants during my student years - none were any way dodgy, but - even at the morning places that didn't serve alcohol, you'd get subtle harassment on a daily basis, especially from old guys who thought they were being cute or funny or flattering, but really they were crossing lines. You'd also get more aggressive harassment on occasion. Dinner shifts in places that served alcohol were naturally worse. I wore a wedding band to work - which helped in some cases. Shared code phrases with other staff so we'd recognize when someone was being bothered and other people could take over or step in. One restaurant I worked was Japanese and had a lot of VIPs coming in. Businessmen visiting from Japan and members of the local government were the worst - and they were unlikely to be kicked out and told not to come back, even when the owner was sympathetic and apologetic.

And we mostly sucked it up and smiled, because the pay in a restaurant serving alcohol was only 80% of the local minimum wage.

Stupid system.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Unfortunately

"Why Restaurants Are Ditching The Switch To No Tipping"

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/05/15/478096516/why-restaurants-are-ditching-the-switch-to-no-tipping

In recent years, there's been a no-tipping movement within the restaurant industry.

The idea has been to rectify a basic pay unfairness to even out the pay between tipped and untipped employees. Dishwashers and cooks at the back of the house don't earn as much money as waiters because they don't get tips.

So, do away with tipping, raise menu prices a little bit, and pay everyone a higher wage.

But that experiment has failed at some restaurants. Joe's Crab Shack, the first large U.S. chain to implement a no-tip model, announced this month that it is moving away from the experiment, which only lasted three months.

On what made him decide to switch back to tipping

Attrition. We were losing staff, servers mostly. Kitchen was of course happy and turnover was nonexistent. And senior staff in the front of the house were happy. We were continuing to hire young, new people, train them, and then they'd get the set of skills necessary, and they would generally give notice and move to other restaurants in our community who were still on a traditional tip economy.

When the practice first debuted, non-salaried employees received an hourly wage and were enrolled in a "revenue share program" directly tied to the restaurant's earnings. But the higher upfront menu prices meant the restaurants haven't been able to maintain the volume of diners that showed up prior to the Hospitality Included model; as a result, employee paycheck amounts have reportedly dropped.

"Overall, the various arguments labor advocates make for abolishing tipping are probably well-intended, with the welfare of servers at heart," McKenzie concludes. "The arguments certainly sound good, but they are divorced from the key economic realities of the server-labor and restaurant market economics they have highlighted."

McKenzie doesn't argue against businesses that seem to have found great success with the no-gratuity model, such as Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group restaurants, but he does believe that there isn't one solution that will work for all restaurants:

2 ( +2 / -0 )

But that experiment has failed at some restaurants. Joe's Crab Shack, the first large U.S. chain to implement a no-tip model, announced this month that it is moving away from the experiment, which only lasted three months.

Unfortunately, N. American restaurants trying to go it without tips are finding it quite difficult. It's just too deeply engrained in the people. Most of the businesses I've read about that have tried to do no tipping have eventually had to fold, like the example above. Too bad, as it's an outdated system that doesn't meet it's objectives, and isn't beneficial to anyone really.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@lostrune2, good post. I saw one small and very good restaurant in my area try the no-tipping philosophy, raising prices and wages at the same time, and its clientele shrunk. No change in food, no change in staff attitudes, but customers objected to an extra dollar or two for some really good food. Pity. There's no answer to it, though. In Japan, I like the no-tipping 'custom', and in North America, I cringe at some of the expectations of wait staff for tips for lousy service.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Very few people choose to be a waiter/waitress because they want to - they choose it out of necessity. You know, the necessity to have a place to live and food to eat.

So then if out of necessity, I guess their decision making skills are very poor, as well. Especially since the article mentions how the wages are so low and you can't count on tips. Seem working at Walmart or McDonalds would be a much better choice.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yuko, I worked at 4 different restaurants during my student years - none were any way dodgy, but - even at the morning places that didn't serve alcohol, you'd get subtle harassment on a daily basis, especially from old guys who thought they were being cute or funny or flattering, but really they were crossing lines. You'd also get more aggressive harassment on occasion. Dinner shifts in places that served alcohol were naturally worse. I wore a wedding band to work - which helped in some cases. Shared code phrases with other staff so we'd recognize when someone was being bothered and other people could take over or step in. One restaurant I worked was Japanese and had a lot of VIPs coming in. Businessmen visiting from Japan and members of the local government were the worst - and they were unlikely to be kicked out and told not to come back, even when the owner was sympathetic and apologetic. 

And we mostly sucked it up and smiled, because the pay in a restaurant serving alcohol was only 80% of the local minimum wage.

Stupid system.

Well, of course I'm sorry you or any other woman has or had to deal with such ridiculousness. It's never called for nor acceptable. All that can be expected, I suppose, is a system in place where the worker can immediately report the matter at the instance it happens to a manager/boss/owner (depending on the place), and tell the customer to pay and leave then and there.

It sounds like the monetary issue would be best resolved with doing away with tipping all together. Since it's not mandatory, anyway in the US at least. Just pay a normal average wage for the level of work, and be done with it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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