Should we Ban Tipping in Restaurants

01/17/2015 • Food Culture

Should we ban tipping in restaurants? Well that is what the folks at College Humor suggest in this video that is a part of the series “Adam ruins everything”. What Adam is suggesting is that tipping should be replaced by actually paying waiters and staff a salary that they can live on instead of having to rely on tipping from customers. I couldn’t agree more.

Tipping is also quite new in a historical view, in the US it has only been around since a bit after the Civil War so why should we have to keep it?

And that’s not all, there are more problem with tipping, most people think the amount given is in relation to the service, but its not. The relation between the service is almost nothing which means that a good waiter will earn as much tip as a bad one. Tips is mostly dependent on the size of the check which means that an expensive meal will give more tips, even though the work effort is the same from the waiter.

And then there’s the problem with who to tip, why do you tip waiters but not other jobs that have trouble living on their salary? This is best explained by Steve Buscemi in the classic tipping scene from Quentin Tarantino’s debut film Reservoir Dogs. Watch the full clip below.

And some restaurants have started making some things to stop tipping, at Thomas Keller’s restaurants Per Se and The French Laundry a service fee is included so guest shouldn’t have to feel they have to tip, although is is not forbidden. A similar system is being used at Grant Achatz restaurants Alinea and Next where their ticketing system includes a tipping charge. A very good way to make sure the staff gets paid and customers don’t have to go through the tipping process.

So lets hope we will ban tipping even if I think we should let this happen by encouraging more restaurants to actually paying employees a salary they can live on. If you want to read more on the history on tipping there is a great article from the New Yorker that is worth reading. For even more reading on tipping you can check out this paper about tipping and its relation to service.

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