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It’s seems the act of tipping is falling under more and more scrutiny with a number of publications reporting the declining number of people tipping and the increasing number of restaurants and chefs who have either implemented a service charge in place of tipping or spoken publicly about wanting to eradicate it at their restaurants.
Zagat published a piece on how the 'no-tipping' trend is slowly growing', citing The New York Times restaurant critic, Pete Wells, who wrote a piece titled: “Leaving a tip: A custom in need of changing?”. Chef David Chang has publically expressed his dismay at the tyrany of tipping and a growing number of fine dining restaurants are now opting to include a service charge for staff.
Is tipping actually fair? We like the idea of it, that's for sure. Everyone gets a fair deal, right? The restaurants gets their bit, the server takes theirs, we all get better service thanks to the waiter or waitress working for their tip - everyone’s a winner, at least that's the impression.
However, according to the infographic below, produced by Accounting Degree, American’s leave around $42 billion dollar a year in tips and what started as a way to ‘reward service quality and increase economic efficiency’ has quickly become an ‘obligation’ for diners and a ‘matter of survival' for servers.
The data highlights how minimum pay for tipped workers (sub-minimum pay), has remained frozen at $2.13 for 23 years - 29% of the minimum wage. They go on to argue that a system with servers earning minimum wage, rewarded on top of providing great service, would be much more beneficial for all parties involved.
This is a well researched infographic that lays out some of the figures behind tipping, and just how a different system might effect workers. As with all cultural norms it won't be easy to change the way we tip, but a quick look at the figures show the debate for an alternative system is certainly warranted.
What do you think? Is tipping set to slowly die? Should servers be offered the minimum wage?