Thank you! Danny Meyer to eliminate tipping

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Michae1 P0wers
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Thank you! Danny Meyer to eliminate tipping

#1 Post by Michae1 P0wers » October 14th, 2015, 9:11 am


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#2 Post by RyanC » October 14th, 2015, 9:12 am

Agreed. Hopefully this catches on -- and I bet it will.
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#3 Post by Michae1 P0wers » October 14th, 2015, 9:17 am

Ryan Caughey wrote:Agreed. Hopefully this catches on -- and I bet it will.

If trend setters do it others will kind of have to fall in line, or so one would expect. If so we can finally stop debating whether or not we have to tip 20% on ridiculously marked up bottles of wine!

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#4 Post by ybarselah » October 14th, 2015, 9:17 am

this is huge.
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#5 Post by John Morris » October 14th, 2015, 9:28 am

Why is this a good idea? As a customer, don't you want to be able to signal your approval or disapproval?

And, if you're a waiter, don't you like the cash component?
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#6 Post by Jay Miller » October 14th, 2015, 9:31 am

This makes me very happy. And more inclined to go to a DM restaurant.
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#7 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » October 14th, 2015, 9:34 am

John Morris wrote:Why is this a good idea? As a customer, don't you want to be able to signal your approval or disapproval?

And, if you're a waiter, don't you like the cash component?
As a customer I should speak up if I am not happy. Hiding behind the tip is the coward's way out. If I am very happy I can also speak to someone about that. Heck, I even complimented a waiter in a Trip Advisor review once. Turns out the info got back to him in a good way, as I found out on my next visit.
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#8 Post by larry schaffer » October 14th, 2015, 9:35 am

For those of you in NY, can someone please find a menu pre this change and post it? Are we talking a 10% increase in food prices across the board? 15%? More?

Yes, I think the idea in general is a good one with regards to some of the restaurant staff, but then the customer really has no way to 'signal' bad service, do they?

And if I'm a server used to pocketing hundreds on a busy Saturday night, will I be equally compensated?

Lots of questions here . . .
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#9 Post by Robert Love » October 14th, 2015, 9:36 am

Ryan Caughey wrote:Agreed. Hopefully this catches on -- and I bet it will.
I'm curious whether this is truly eliminating tipping or is just rolling some mandatory tipping into the bill.

I'd love to see no "tip" line on the CC receipt, at all.

For example, Per Se is often cited as a restaurant with no tipping, but that's not true. There's just a mandatory 20% gratuity and still a line for additional gratuity on the bill.

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#10 Post by RyanC » October 14th, 2015, 9:37 am

John Morris wrote:Why is this a good idea? As a customer, don't you want to be able to signal your approval or disapproval?

And, if you're a waiter, don't you like the cash component?
As a customer, tipping is highly annoying and it's hard to see how the exercise benefits me. Rarely do I do any signaling unless the service is above and beyond or truly awful -- and if the service is awful enough to result in a docked tip, I'm almost certainly not returning to the restaurant anyway (which is a stronger signal). 98% of the time I just tip ~20%. In any event, tipping is a downer. Individuals in a party regularly debate how much to tip, and it's an unnecessary bookmark on a dining experience. Much simpler and smoother to just pay and be done. I don't think service suffers in Europe due to lack of tipping -- and it certainly doesn't at places like Per Se that already have service built in (obviously, however, Per Se-type places are not mainstream).

As a waiter, you will hopefully see a higher salary. But the people who really benefit are the cooks, busboys, etc. who don't get cash tips. They may see a bump from this.

Finally, I think the prevalence of people failing to leave any tip or just leaving a nominal tip is higher than many realize -- and that's probably especially so in NY where you have lots of foreign tourists, some of whom may be unaccustomed to the unique American tipping custom. Must suck to wait on a 6-top all night and then get no tip. This eliminates that problem.
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#11 Post by RyanC » October 14th, 2015, 9:39 am

Robert Love wrote:
Ryan Caughey wrote:Agreed. Hopefully this catches on -- and I bet it will.
I'm curious whether this is truly eliminating tipping or is just rolling some mandatory tipping into the bill.

I'd love to see no "tip" line on the CC receipt, at all.

For example, Per Se is often cited as a restaurant with no tipping, but that's not true. There's just a mandatory 20% gratuity and still a line for additional gratuity on the bill.
Are you sure that's true with Per Se? I do somewhat recall that you can add additional gratuity, but I don't think it's a mandatory 20% gratuity. My recollection is that the menus and wine are just a flat price that includes gratuity, and there is no gratuity line item or percentage on the bill. I even have a vague recollection of the bill or waiter specifically noting that gratuity is included so no additional tip is necessary, although I may be wrong about that.
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#12 Post by Ethan Abraham » October 14th, 2015, 9:40 am

Robert Love wrote:
Ryan Caughey wrote:Agreed. Hopefully this catches on -- and I bet it will.
I'm curious whether this is truly eliminating tipping or is just rolling some mandatory tipping into the bill.

I'd love to see no "tip" line on the CC receipt, at all.

For example, Per Se is often cited as a restaurant with no tipping, but that's not true. There's just a mandatory 20% gratuity and still a line for additional gratuity on the bill.
It appears that he is totally eliminating the "tip" line from the credit card receipt to make it 100% clear that no additional gratuitity is expected.

As for the cash thing - how many people leave the tip in cash? I can't imagine many still do that?

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#13 Post by Jay Miller » October 14th, 2015, 9:43 am

Ryan Caughey wrote:
John Morris wrote:Why is this a good idea? As a customer, don't you want to be able to signal your approval or disapproval?

And, if you're a waiter, don't you like the cash component?
As a customer, tipping is highly annoying and it's hard to see how the exercise benefits me. Rarely do I do any signaling unless the service is above and beyond or truly awful -- and if the service is awful enough to result in a docked tip, I'm almost certainly not returning to the restaurant anyway (which is a stronger signal). 98% of the time I just tip ~20%. In any event, tipping is a downer. Individuals in a party regularly debate how much to tip, and it's an unnecessary bookmark on a dining experience. Much simpler and smoother to just pay and be done. I don't think service suffers in Europe due to lack of tipping -- and it certainly doesn't at places like Per Se that already have service built in (obviously, however, Per Se-type places are not mainstream).

As a waiter, you will hopefully see a higher salary. But the people who really benefit are the cooks, busboys, etc. who don't get cash tips. They may see a bump from this.
Ditto.

It was so nice not to have to worry about it while I was in Japan. I'd love to not have to think about it in the US as well.
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#14 Post by AndrewH » October 14th, 2015, 9:57 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
John Morris wrote:Why is this a good idea? As a customer, don't you want to be able to signal your approval or disapproval?

And, if you're a waiter, don't you like the cash component?
As a customer I should speak up if I am not happy. Hiding behind the tip is the coward's way out. If I am very happy I can also speak to someone about that. Heck, I even complimented a waiter in a Trip Advisor review once. Turns out the info got back to him in a good way, as I found out on my next visit.
+1 (to this and other similar points).

Tipping is a really poor signaling mechanism. First, the typical difference between good and bad service is maybe 5-7 %age points, probably less, which is a limited signal. Second, given the variability in tipping practices (whether from out-of-towners, or foreigners, or cheapskates, or high rollers) the "noise" from those variations means that the signal may be misinterpreted. Third, the signal is only to the waiter - if the service is bad or outstanding, a word to the supervisor would be much more effective and likely to garner results.

As for the cash component to waiters - if the purpose of tipping is to facilitate tax fraud, then it's hard to justify.
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#15 Post by M.Kaplan » October 14th, 2015, 10:10 am

I am a big fan of Danny Meyer as a restauranteur. Good for him. Restaurant owners should pay their employees, including servers, an appropriate wage and benefits. Tipping is an anachronism and leads to unprofessional service. What other service industry omits an important employee cost and leaves it to the whims of the customer? None.
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#16 Post by Dan.Gord0n » October 14th, 2015, 10:10 am

I like the idea and it will be interesting to see how people respond. However, the devil is in the details - how much is he going to raise menu pricing and how much is he going to raise wine list/drink menu pricing? Is it less than 20% or perhaps more? The article mentions that the intent is to be able to raise salaries for other employees while keeping the servers income roughly the same - not sure how that works unless he is raising menu and drink pricing by at least 20%, if not more than 20%. At any rate, regardless, you know what you are getting in looking at the fully baked pricing and can take it or leave it - just like in France, Italy, etc. (though when I was just in Spain in was a bit confusing as to whether gratuity was included and when/where and how much).

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#17 Post by brianmcbrearty » October 14th, 2015, 10:18 am

This should be a poll.
I have tremendous almost unquestioning faith in Danny Meyer, but show me the breakdown before I approve or disapprove.

edit:
Eater article -- I only did a fly-by -- says Meyer was looking to raise prices quite a bit, not merely rolling the tips into the prices, but giving employees a different wage scheme -- so he was apparently thinking 30-35% before his investors dialed back on the "altruism?"

http://ny.eater.com/2015/10/14/9517747/ ... estaurants
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#18 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » October 14th, 2015, 10:24 am

I'm indifferent about this change. The concept of tipping is so ingrained in my psyche that I actually prefer it to any change. The system was never broke for me in the first place.

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#19 Post by brianmcbrearty » October 14th, 2015, 10:26 am

Robert Alfert, Jr. wrote:I'm indifferent about this change. The concept of tipping is so ingrained in my psyche that I actually prefer it to any change. The system was never broke for me in the first place.
Huh?? Ingrained in me too... that's why I'm not indifferent.
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#20 Post by John O' » October 14th, 2015, 10:37 am

wonder if rapidly rising minimum wage laws in NY State have anything to do with it.
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#21 Post by Ethan Abraham » October 14th, 2015, 10:38 am

One winner in all this - NYC government! Now they can charge sales tax on the "tips".

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#22 Post by Bruce Leiser_owitz » October 14th, 2015, 10:41 am

AndrewH wrote:
Tipping is a really poor signaling mechanism. First, the typical difference between good and bad service is maybe 5-7 %age points, probably less, which is a limited signal. Second, given the variability in tipping practices (whether from out-of-towners, or foreigners, or cheapskates, or high rollers) the "noise" from those variations means that the signal may be misinterpreted. Third, the signal is only to the waiter - if the service is bad or outstanding, a word to the supervisor would be much more effective and likely to garner results.
.
As has been mentioned often when the subject of tipping comes up, there can be many issues with a meal that have nothing to do with whether waitstaff provided good service, such as really long waits for a reserved table, food that comes out mediocre or improperly prepared, etc.

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#23 Post by lleichtman » October 14th, 2015, 10:46 am

Jay Miller wrote:
Ryan Caughey wrote:
John Morris wrote:Why is this a good idea? As a customer, don't you want to be able to signal your approval or disapproval?

And, if you're a waiter, don't you like the cash component?
As a customer, tipping is highly annoying and it's hard to see how the exercise benefits me. Rarely do I do any signaling unless the service is above and beyond or truly awful -- and if the service is awful enough to result in a docked tip, I'm almost certainly not returning to the restaurant anyway (which is a stronger signal). 98% of the time I just tip ~20%. In any event, tipping is a downer. Individuals in a party regularly debate how much to tip, and it's an unnecessary bookmark on a dining experience. Much simpler and smoother to just pay and be done. I don't think service suffers in Europe due to lack of tipping -- and it certainly doesn't at places like Per Se that already have service built in (obviously, however, Per Se-type places are not mainstream).

As a waiter, you will hopefully see a higher salary. But the people who really benefit are the cooks, busboys, etc. who don't get cash tips. They may see a bump from this.
Ditto.

It was so nice not to have to worry about it while I was in Japan. I'd love to not have to think about it in the US as well.
Same here. I appreciate in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand and I had really good service in all of those places with no tipping. Their employees make a living wage which is more than I can say for the US service business.
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#24 Post by Dan.Gord0n » October 14th, 2015, 10:50 am

Ethan Abraham wrote:One winner in all this - NYC government! Now they can charge sales tax on the "tips".

Great point - in a city like Chicago that means "leakage" caused by the change in approach that neither benefits the customer nor the staff of almost 10% on the 20% or essentially increasing the costs of dining out by 2% without anyone benefiting - but since I suspect a lot of people calculate the tip after tax (though properly proper to back it out, most don't) maybe it doesn't matter to the customer - however, the leakage properly hurts the staff because their tip is lower.

As prices go up probably by more than 20% to increase back of the house staff, the taxable nature of it will hit the customer even more and the leakage to tax will be even greater. I wonder if they can still characterize it as gratuity but still bake it into the menu pricing - such as saying that the pricing on the menu includes a 20% gratuity (not sure they could say more than that but at least the leakage wouldn't be on the entire 20-25% increase).

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#25 Post by Robert.A.Jr. » October 14th, 2015, 10:56 am

brianmcbrearty wrote:
Robert Alfert, Jr. wrote:I'm indifferent about this change. The concept of tipping is so ingrained in my psyche that I actually prefer it to any change. The system was never broke for me in the first place.
Huh?? Ingrained in me too... that's why I'm not indifferent.
Sorry, bad word choice. I think you get my drift, however.

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#26 Post by Chris Seiber » October 14th, 2015, 11:03 am

If the goal were truly to pay the kitchen staff more money, couldn't you just pay the kitchen staff a higher wage than you currently are? Does it really have anything to do with whether you bake tips into the menu prices or not? Is there any guarantee that raising prices and eliminating tips means that kitchen staff get paid any more than they were before? I'm not sure the connection between one thing and the other.

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#27 Post by Charlie Carnes » October 14th, 2015, 11:07 am

John Morris wrote:Why is this a good idea? As a customer, don't you want to be able to signal your approval or disapproval?

And, if you're a waiter, don't you like the cash component?
I am with you. I think it sucks. As a former waiter I liked to earn my money. Working for tips makes you better every day. As a consumer, again, I like to reward greatness, including, occasionally extra for other staff members. I also like the idea of better service for good consistent tipping- not overtipping.
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#28 Post by Chris Seiber » October 14th, 2015, 11:10 am

lleichtman wrote: Same here. I appreciate in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand and I had really good service in all of those places with no tipping. Their employees make a living wage which is more than I can say for the US service business.
But does that have anything to do with tipping versus not tipping? If, say, Outback Steakhouse raises prices 20% and says no tipping is allowed, is there any reason to think the wait staff and kitchen staff will end up making any more money than they do now? In fact, with that making the de facto tipping portion subject to sales tax, as well as eliminating the portion of cash tips that goes unreported (as presumably happens to some degree in restaurants and bars these days), might they end up with less money?

Those two things (eliminating tipping, and bar and restaurant employees getting paid a higher wage) are often conflated in these discussions, but I would like to hear someone explain why that is so. Thanks in advance for any explanation.

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#29 Post by lleichtman » October 14th, 2015, 11:23 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
lleichtman wrote: Same here. I appreciate in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand and I had really good service in all of those places with no tipping. Their employees make a living wage which is more than I can say for the US service business.
But does that have anything to do with tipping versus not tipping? If, say, Outback Steakhouse raises prices 20% and says no tipping is allowed, is there any reason to think the wait staff and kitchen staff will end up making any more money than they do now? In fact, with that making the de facto tipping portion subject to sales tax, as well as eliminating the portion of cash tips that goes unreported (as presumably happens to some degree in restaurants and bars these days), might they end up with less money?

Those two things (eliminating tipping, and bar and restaurant employees getting paid a higher wage) are often conflated in these discussions, but I would like to hear someone explain why that is so. Thanks in advance for any explanation.
In Japan, Australia, and New Zealand it does mean the rest of the staff, including kitchen and dishwasher, cleanup staff al make more. Since it has been there for a long time, who would know if this makes less money for the waitstaff. If the goal of tipping is somehow to reward or punish for service, that would be eliminated in those countries but the service is still very good. I don't think eliminating tipping would cause them to make less money. The customer would have to pay more because now the amount that would go to tipping would also include more sales tax. Seems that we are talking about different things. I worked as a waiter, busboy, prep cook, line cook, and maitre de in several restaurants and we had to have tipping because the restaurant paid next to nothing. The restaurant basically got away with nearly free servers. And even in restaurants with excellent service, you felt like you were at the mercy of "kindness of strangers". Some customers who got excellent service still left little to no tip. And the restaurant policies that pool tips and split them reward service bad or good. How does that reward good service by and individual?
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#30 Post by E. Mark Larson » October 14th, 2015, 11:29 am

Here is my question. Let's say pay for your meal at a "no tipping" restaurant with a credit card. When you sign the credit card chit (I'm not sure what it's really called.), is the "Total Amount" already filled in, or is there a line to add a "Gratuity?"

My guess is that even if no tipping does spread, some, if not many, restaurants will still have that "Gratuity" line on the chits. My second guess is that many people will then fill in an additional amount.

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#31 Post by Matt Fleming » October 14th, 2015, 11:38 am

John O' wrote:wonder if rapidly rising minimum wage laws in NY State have anything to do with it.
We have the answer.

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#32 Post by larry schaffer » October 14th, 2015, 11:43 am

There will, of course, always be a line to add for 'gratuity' if you'd like. That's the way I've always seen it here in the US when restaurants have adopted this policy. Perhaps you do not see it overseas - tis the custom and culture.

Great questions raised above. We are assuming that the back of the house staff will be better compensated - to you think the company will 'show' that this is happening? No, I think their intentions are good - just not sure the follow up will happen from top to bottom.

And yes, the market will tell us whether this is a good move or not. IF they raise prices over 20%, which is what will most likely happen, will regular customers notice?

The most important aspect in this equation to me is the wait staff - they are front and center in terms of how you 'view' a restaurant in addition to quality and presentation of food. If they feel 'slighted' by this, this may show in the service they offer - or lack thereof. Just curious . . .

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#33 Post by Robert Love » October 14th, 2015, 11:45 am

Ryan Caughey wrote:Are you sure that's true with Per Se? I do somewhat recall that you can add additional gratuity, but I don't think it's a mandatory 20% gratuity. My recollection is that the menus and wine are just a flat price that includes gratuity, and there is no gratuity line item or percentage on the bill. I even have a vague recollection of the bill or waiter specifically noting that gratuity is included so no additional tip is necessary, although I may be wrong about that.
Yes, you are right — all the prices (including wine) are simply 20% higher. I didn't mean to imply there was a forced 20% tip, but that the idea of gratuity is still in place, including a tip line on the bill.

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#34 Post by Robert Love » October 14th, 2015, 11:46 am

Ethan Abraham wrote:It appears that he is totally eliminating the "tip" line from the credit card receipt to make it 100% clear that no additional gratuitity is expected.
That's fantastic.
Ethan Abraham wrote:As for the cash thing - how many people leave the tip in cash? I can't imagine many still do that?
Not many, I imagine. It would feel very weird to me.

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#35 Post by Jay T. » October 14th, 2015, 11:54 am

John Morris wrote:Why is this a good idea? As a customer, don't you want to be able to signal your approval or disapproval?

And, if you're a waiter, don't you like the cash component?
Everybody else seems to be down on John's questions. But I'm with him. I've worked in restaurants before. I think waiters work for tips. I think the *fear* of a bad tip is also motivating (the post-dinner signalling is less important). And I often received particularly good tips after I worked hard to fix problems with food, ambience, and/or service.

While I'm sympathetic to the "man up and say something" school of thought, I've heard enough horror stories and personally witnessed some pretty obnoxious results to think twice about voicing all but the most gentle complaints in most restaurants. If you think spitting in the soup is as bad as it gets, you don't have the imagination possessed by many restaurant employees. I'd be even more worried if tips were removed from the equation.
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#36 Post by Scott Butler » October 14th, 2015, 1:27 pm

30-35% increase to cover the tipping. Seems high.


http://www.msn.com/en-us/foodanddrink/r ... li=AAa0dzB


The cost of each dish will go up 30 to 35 percent (to account for what Meyer calls a "labor of wrong")
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#37 Post by James Sanders » October 14th, 2015, 1:45 pm

In the 1987, I earned about $300 a day, after tax, in tips waiting tables lunch and dinner in midtown Manhattan. Pre-tax, that's about $40 an hour. My guess is good waiters in New York make more than that today. No way Danny Meyer will pay his wait staff that much. So the good wait staff at his restaurants will leave for other jobs.

I do like the idea of kitchen staff getting paid more. That discrepancy has always been way too big. Of course, you have to trust the restaurant owner to pass the money along.

As a diner, I'm indifferent. The European system seems to work fine.

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#38 Post by AndrewH » October 14th, 2015, 2:08 pm

Matt Fleming wrote:
John O' wrote:wonder if rapidly rising minimum wage laws in NY State have anything to do with it.
We have the answer.
Not necessarily - waiters are usually subject to a lower minimum wage, with a presumption that tips make up the difference. So not sure how this helps that, unless the disparity is somehow reduced now.
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#39 Post by RyanC » October 14th, 2015, 2:33 pm

And here is the flipside: http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/20 ... ss-models/

Note, however, that CA may be a little different because I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) that CA law requires restaurants to pay servers minimum wage before tips, whereas that's not the case in many or most other states.
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#40 Post by Ron Slye » October 14th, 2015, 4:17 pm

Ryan Caughey wrote:And here is the flipside: http://insidescoopsf.sfgate.com/blog/20 ... ss-models/

Note, however, that CA may be a little different because I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) that CA law requires restaurants to pay servers minimum wage before tips, whereas that's not the case in many or most other states.

For those of you in Seattle, Lion Head, which is Jerry Traunfeld's (of Poppy, earlier Herb Farm) new Sichuan restaurant also has eliminated tipping. On the credit card slip there is no line to add a tip. I dont know what happens if you want to leave cash. The items are of course a bit more expensive than normal. I dont know the behind the scenes economics (i.e. how much is added into the food given there is no tipping, nor how much more the service staff gets).

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#41 Post by Siun o'Connell » October 14th, 2015, 5:24 pm

As the mother of a line cook, I sure like the idea that BoH may get better pay. My daughter has worked in several fine dining spots in Chicago and the going rate for line cooks remains @$12/13 per hour with some of the snazziest (think Next, etc) often paying under $10 from what I've heard and of course no benefits. Folks end up having to take hotel jobs just to get a marginally living wage and benefits. And cooks often put in considerable off the clock time out of sheer dedication (or craziness).

I'm actually a tipping fan - I just want it shared across the whole team.

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#42 Post by Markus S » October 14th, 2015, 6:07 pm

Siun o'Connell wrote:... I sure like the idea that BoH may get better pay.
"Board of Health"?
$ _ € ® e . k @

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#43 Post by Jason T » October 14th, 2015, 6:10 pm

Markus S wrote:
Siun o'Connell wrote:... I sure like the idea that BoH may get better pay.
"Board of Health"?
Back of House
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#44 Post by Jay Miller » October 14th, 2015, 6:11 pm

Markus S wrote:
Siun o'Connell wrote:... I sure like the idea that BoH may get better pay.
"Board of Health"?
I assume Back of House
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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#45 Post by Siun o'Connell » October 14th, 2015, 6:48 pm

Yes, back of house.

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#46 Post by Peter Kleban » October 14th, 2015, 7:20 pm

lleichtman wrote: Same here. I appreciate in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand and I had really good service in all of those places with no tipping. Their employees make a living wage which is more than I can say for the US service business.
I bet they get benefits too (certainly that's the case in Europe, in most if not all countries IIRC). Big difference from here.
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#47 Post by Peter Kleban » October 14th, 2015, 7:23 pm

And of course, not so long ago we had another NYC restaurant owner who tried to eliminate tipping...
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#48 Post by Andrew Kaufman » October 14th, 2015, 9:06 pm

Bruce Leiser_owitz wrote:
AndrewH wrote:
Tipping is a really poor signaling mechanism. First, the typical difference between good and bad service is maybe 5-7 %age points, probably less, which is a limited signal. Second, given the variability in tipping practices (whether from out-of-towners, or foreigners, or cheapskates, or high rollers) the "noise" from those variations means that the signal may be misinterpreted. Third, the signal is only to the waiter - if the service is bad or outstanding, a word to the supervisor would be much more effective and likely to garner results.
.
As has been mentioned often when the subject of tipping comes up, there can be many issues with a meal that have nothing to do with whether waitstaff provided good service, such as really long waits for a reserved table, food that comes out mediocre or improperly prepared, etc.

Bruce
Bruce we eat out a lot and travel to wine country a lot. I bet I see issues with at least 5% of the meals. Some at very very high end restaurants. When it comes to poor service it would really be improper to be forced to tip 50, 75 or a 100 dollars for service which wasn't worth a dime, what motivation would a water have to provide anything but mediocre service?

We might agree here. I like the current system.

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#49 Post by johngonzales » October 15th, 2015, 12:35 am

AndrewH wrote:
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
John Morris wrote:Why is this a good idea? As a customer, don't you want to be able to signal your approval or disapproval?

And, if you're a waiter, don't you like the cash component?
As a customer I should speak up if I am not happy. Hiding behind the tip is the coward's way out. If I am very happy I can also speak to someone about that. Heck, I even complimented a waiter in a Trip Advisor review once. Turns out the info got back to him in a good way, as I found out on my next visit.
+1 (to this and other similar points).

Tipping is a really poor signaling mechanism. First, the typical difference between good and bad service is maybe 5-7 %age points, probably less, which is a limited signal. Second, given the variability in tipping practices (whether from out-of-towners, or foreigners, or cheapskates, or high rollers) the "noise" from those variations means that the signal may be misinterpreted. Third, the signal is only to the waiter - if the service is bad or outstanding, a word to the supervisor would be much more effective and likely to garner results.

As for the cash component to waiters - if the purpose of tipping is to facilitate tax fraud, then it's hard to justify.
I don't like it. Who can know what type of signaling mechanism it is. Are you talking a range of 5-7% on the bill or of the tip? Tips certainly vary more than 5-7% so I assume you're talking about as a percentage of the total. What's the average high end of tip%? 18%? At 5-7% you're talking about one third. Many people will react for a potential one third move in their income. Whatever it is, it's something variable that has some motivational effect. One thing that can be sure is there is LESS motivation if the fee is not variable. As far as where the signal goes, waiter or mgmt., what is to preclude one form still giving the word to the mgmt. even when also lessening the gratuity. I do both at times. If I don't feel like getting into it I'll just let the tip speak, and if it doesn't speak at least I feel that I've paid less compensation for the lesser service. There are times when I am with others, late whatever and don't need to feel the need to spend my time tracking done and conversing with a mgr in a busy restaurant and if a lot of other people likewise choose to not spend the time for positive or negative feedback to mgmt., that method lacks effectiveness. I think that's part of the point. Restaurants tend to be very busy without a lot of mgmnt eye-on. They can't really recognize issues of interaction, timing etc. and there isn't the time or will from either side to go through review of a good proportion of services. Most employers have an easier review of the employee's work product than happens with servers. That method might well work at a fine, less busy establishment where a small number of managers can really keep track of their staff, but for most establishments I like the extra motivation factor. On some level there's noise involving cheapskates etc. on lower tips but servers talk and understand about what others get on an average check and more importantly per shift. If their variation is large, they'll get the hint. I actually like to vary my tips a decent amount. I will give someone 12% if they give me CRUMMY service with some aspect negatively affecting my experience. But then I also like to give the occasional really great server 22-23%.

There is another component of being able to tip that is a bit muddled. It changes the dynamic of bringing wine and buying wine. First, what does one tip? 20% of the corkage fee? That's not really enough for the server. Also what about purchased wine. Honestly, when I buy a very expensive bottle on a list I just don't tip 20%. I have no problem with 20%/$20 on a $100 bottle but feel differently about 20%/$50 for a $250 bottle. Lastly, and this one is controversial, I often get my corkages waived. Sometimes I don't get a single one waived even on very high tabs including wine purchase. Yes, I realize that the server might be giving me potential revenue for the establishment. But they also may simply be acting as one who makes an allowable decision. With the fixed charge they're incentivized to not waive anything thus increasing the tab. In the case where they might be reasonably waiving a corkage on my large tab, I am unable to extra tip them as I do now.

I don't know about the cook's salary. Server's for the most part share with the cooks etc. It is not as though, absent mandatory pooling, the cooks end up with no share. But even if there is an issue with the back staff, it could be handled by a service charge or increase in cost to compensate them, while leaving the server's portion variable. I don't find it hard to calculate a tip and do the quick paperwork. So what really do I gain? I'd guess that in the end the diner will not only be making it easier to distribute the money to the back, but also paying more as a whole.

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#50 Post by John O' » October 15th, 2015, 2:45 am

AndrewH wrote:
Matt Fleming wrote:
John O' wrote:wonder if rapidly rising minimum wage laws in NY State have anything to do with it.
We have the answer.
Not necessarily - waiters are usually subject to a lower minimum wage, with a presumption that tips make up the difference. So not sure how this helps that, unless the disparity is somehow reduced now.
That lower scaleis also rising.
O Sullivan

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