The Movement To Ban Tips In Restaurants

Restaurants are banning tips and increasing prices
Some restaurants are joining the no tip movement by banning tips and increasing prices

Why Are Some Restaurants Banning Tips?

We all know the protocol after finishing a great meal. You receive the check and pull out your phone to calculate how much to pay in tips. This standard courteous gesture however, has lately been challenged by a growing movement to ban tips in restaurants.

Restaurant tipping is a practice that dates back a few centuries. Tipping was adopted among wealthy Americans in the 1800’s and stretches back as far as the 17th century.

Like many ‘norms’ today, society is mostly accustomed to it without question. Sure, restaurant tips have been important in helping servers pay the bills and we don’t suggest you stop. Some restaurants however have been joining the movement to ban tips altogether. Diners have also been joining in the movement claiming that tipping is outdated and even unethical! Continue reading to learn why.

Tips Are Unfair To Kitchen Staff

An objective of the no tip movement  is to equalize pay between the kitchen and front end staff
One objective of a no tip policy is to equalize pay between the kitchen and front end staff

The purpose of the movement to ban tips in restaurants is to equalize the wages between untipped and tipped employees. In a restaurant setting, this means closing the gap between kitchen staff and servers. The average federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13/hr. Although the wages are low, tips often accumulate to a higher income than Dishwashers and cooks. The initiative taken by restaurants is as follows: ban tipping, raise menu prices, and pay everyone a higher wage.

Tips Are Often Paid With Biases

Amount of tips earned can sometimes be determined by discriminatory factors rather than quality of service
The amount received in tips can vary between servers and sometimes may not be dependent on level of performance

Restaurants are also joining the movement to ban tips because of the bias behind tip amount paid. There are many factors that affect the amount of a tip given. Some are based on the quality of service provided where higher tips would be rewarded on excellent service. Others however, tip the same regardless. This means extra effort given by exceptional servers sometimes goes unrewarded. The amount paid then is in many cases, random. Not only are there arguments for the biases between servers on a performance level, but also on demographics. For example, studies have shown that women in general are paid higher tips than their male counterparts.

Why Some Restaurants Are Abandoning The No Tip Movement

Joe's Crab Shack is a pioneer of the no tip movement for restaurants
Joe’s Crab Shack is a pioneer for the no tip movement. But even they are abandoning the no tip policy in a few locations

There are a handful of restaurants that agree with the flaws of tipping and proudly became pioneers of tip banning. Even a major restaurant chain like Joe’s Crab Shack decided to ban tipping. Joe’s Crab Shack and other restaurants haven’t stayed with the changes for too long however. So what is stopping restaurants from continuing the no tip movement?

Negative Customer Feedback

Joe’s Crab Shack was a pioneer of the no tipping movement, initially testing it in 18 locations. As a result of banning tips, the prices of menu items were increased. 60% of Joe’s Crab Shack customers showed opposition to the new policy. Customers doubted that extra payments were distributed to employees from management. They also believed that a no tip policy would decrease the quality of service. In response, Joe’s Crab Shack turned away from the policy but kept it for 4 locations.

Server Complaints

Customers weren’t the only ones to show negative feedback. Servers have also responded in opposition. The Bar Agricole Restaurant in San Francisco was losing servers in two locations because of the no tip policy. Thad Vogler, owner of the restaurant, said that management and kitchen staff were happy but servers left for other restaurants. Clearly, the no tip policy benefited the kitchen with raises and left servers with less. He said the mistake was in not raising the prices high enough to benefit both ends of the restaurants.

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