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Banning Bad Tippers - Page 3

post #61 of 72

we're all expected to do our job well or risk termination.

 

Depends on how you define "do our job well."

 

Productivity in America is at 35% and dropping. In other words, we spend one third of our time, on the job, doing the job. Ain't too many being terminated over that issue.

 

Perhaps if they had to depend on tips, the quality level of other service-oriented folks would improve.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #62 of 72

Perhaps if they had to depend on tips, the quality level of other service-oriented folks would improve.

 

Are you suggesting that productivity would be better spurred by reducing wages and hedging a majority of service-industry income on the whims of consumers, rather than simply giving workers a livable wage and a benefits package worth trying to keep?  Productivity doesn't suck because the working class is comfortable and happy, KYH.  Quite the contrary.

post #63 of 72

I'm suggesting that the idea people are risking termination due to low productivity or poor attitude towards customers is, at best, ridiculous. The next time anybody gets fired for not giving 100% will be the first time in many years.

 

There are a lot of causes that have led to low productivity on the part of the American worker. But, looking at things objectively, salary and benefits levels are not major contributors. We can look at things like Big Labor, and it's philosophy of gearing things to the lowest common denominator. And to the entitled generation, whose attitude is, "I put seven hours a day here, you want me to work to?" And government regulations that favor the non-productive. And to the simple fact that there are no mandates against poor performance.

 

I've related the story of the server who quit in the middle of his shift, and the manager who complained that it was the second time he had pulled such a stunt. If there were, as you suggest, any fear of termination he wouldn't have done it the first time, let along be given the opportunity of doing it again.

 

I would also suggest, bringing this back to topic, that most of the people who suggest getting rid of tipping have either never worked as servers, or, if they did, were not very good at it. Nobody who's any good at serving would willing swap the current set up for a flat minimum wage. They'd be taking a pay cut to do so.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #64 of 72

Hmm.

 

My perspective on the topic may be a bit skewed, as I work in a tumultuous tourist area and server tipout--regardless of performance--fluctuates tremendously depending on the season.  I'm paid around $10 an hour more than they are, which is by itself a good wage but hardly comfortable.  In the busy season, their take home exceeds mine.  During the shoulder seasons, they barely get by.  Why are they put into that situation, and why is it the consumer's responsibility?  Sending texts just now to a few of our servers, positing the question: "If the owners were to take away your tips but pay you $16 an hour cash wages at the end of each shift, would you still work for them?" provoked three "Yes" answers and one "Even in the summer?"  As our restaurant is in the top five locally for daily covers, I think it's safe to assume the answer would be pretty universal around town.

 

For those who work in more stable regions with more affluent customers, bringing home $300-$400 a night all year long, I'm sure they wouldn't make that change.  Pardon my socialism, but I'd rather the system protect those who simply can't establish the same gains.

 

Regarding the influx of entitled employees and their lack of respect for the "threat of termination," I'll agree completely that it is an issue, though I'd disagree that it's enough of an issue to warrant universally lower wages and a carrot and stick potential for gratuities.  That seems totally counter-productive in an industry already wrought with long hours, low wages, and a lack of comprehensive benefits.  Perhaps giving everyone a livable wage, medical coverage, and retirement options wouldn't change a thing, but it seems like a better shot at getting content and productive employees than just exacerbating their already stressful work environment.

post #65 of 72

How to win an argument.

 

1. Set up parameters that bear no relationship to reality.

2. Ask a small number of practioners if such a scenario existed, how would they react.

3. Conclude from that that you've made your point.

 

Realistically, given the nature of the restaurant industry, if tips were removed in favor of a flat hourly salary, that salary would be skewed heavily towards the minimum wage. Why don't you re-ask those servers if they'd feel the same if the hourly was less than half what you quoted.

 

I think it symptomatic, too, that the one server as much as said, "the way we should do this is that I work for tips during the season, but then the owner subsidize me the rest of the year." Uh, huh. And who is subsidizing the owner, I wonder?

 

By the same token, nobody is talking about servers bringing home 3-400 bucks a night all year long. In fact, that not even an exception. I don't know a single server who has ever made $120,000/year waiting tables, and I doubt that you or anyone else does either. These are food servers, after all, not strippers.

 

But a more realistic level, say $5-600/week, is doable just about anywhere. Not, it's not a fortune. But it's not exactly starvation wages, either.

They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
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post #66 of 72

Ah.  Forgive me for giving you the impression that I was trying to win an argument.  Regarding the parameters of my query, they're absolutely based in reality: I think the servers should be paid the same as cooks.  Why they aren't doesn't make sense to me; they work just as hard, they put miles of travel on their feet every day, they need a good knowledge of the products they are vending, and they have to interface with some horrible people while wearing a smile.  Realistically, if tips were removed in favor of a flat hourly salary, that salary would favor minimum wage.  Therein lies the problem, KYH, and the crux of my "argument:"  tips are a way for proprietors to shirk the burden of paying a reasonable wage off onto the customers.  It's offensive, as a customer, that I'm given that responsibility, and it creates financial instability for the server.  Who is gonna subsidize the owners?  Who cares, run your business better if you can't afford to pay your employees.

 

I take home $600-700 a week all year long.  Our servers take home the same, if not more, when times are good, and less than $300 a week when times are bad.  That's not a symptom of poor service, that's a symptom of a wildly inconsistent industry. 


Edited by CookinMT - 9/4/10 at 3:32pm
post #67 of 72

CookinMT,

 

One "requirement" of your proposal, NO TIPPING!

 

Now, if you have a scheme to convince the average American restaurant patron NOT TO TIP, you "might" have a workable situation.

 

Are you aware of Thomas Keller's attempt to eliminate tipping at the French Laundry?

 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #68 of 72

Why would you do something like say "No Tipping?"  That's preposterous!   Tipping is a generosity for exceptional service, and should always be welcome.  It isn't, however, supposed to be a factor of a person's expected and necessary income.  That's the thing that ruined tipping in general.  Business men said: "well, we can anticipate that this employee will be paid X% amount in gratuity, so we can pay them less Y% in wages."  WTF is that?  Thank you for undermining the meaning of my gratuity by making it a necessary function to help feed, cloth, and house the recipient.  I thought it was the owner's job to pay the employees.

 


Edited by CookinMT - 9/4/10 at 1:33pm
post #69 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by CookinMT View Post ...I thought it was the owner's job to pay the employees.....

 

It NEVER has been the "owner's job" to "pay employees! Only the customer does that! An "employer" may handle the check or cash, but the money comes from somewhere where else. Otherwise, no employer would be able to employ anyone.

 

Now, whether the "employee pay" is included in the "ticket price" or something else is another question.

 

So, to "pay the servers", increase the ticket price by 10-15%, right? Yup, it WILL work, AS LONG AS EVERYONE DOES IT.

 

To do as you suggest requires changing the "business model" of EVERY restaurant and, as the Cornell Hospitality School has demonstrated repeatedly, people "shop" restaurants by menu price, NOT the total cost of the meal including customary "tips".

 

Raise the ticket price to cover the increased labor cost and watch the gross sales decline.
 

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #70 of 72

"Tipping is a generosity for exceptional service, and should always be welcome."

 

Ah, but, at the present time, that is NOT the case, at least IMHO within the USA.

 

For whatever reason, correctly or incorrectly, "tipping" in the USA has evolved into a source of pay for servers and is no longer considered "optional" or a "reward for superior service".

 

Menu prices are set by "ignoring" the server pay represented by tips, so, if one is required to raise base server pay (btw, I live in California where servers are paid California minimum wage of $8.00+ AND they still get tips!), then menu prices will increase, it is a fact.

Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #71 of 72

Yes, you are absolutely correct!  Higher server wages would most likely be facilitated through higher menu prices, and that would mean everybody had to be on board or risk losing the "window shoppers."   I think it's worth it.  In the end, you're still paying out the same amount of money, but the server doesn't need to worry about "off days" or "off months" or "the last three tables who think tipping is an insult."  

 

Of course, from up here on my soapbox I'm armed with only my dissatisfaction and an alternate strategy, but not a logistical plan for implementing it. 

 

Cheers.  :)

post #72 of 72

What they (servers) have to worry about is being sent home early and losing their income for the night entirely. What employer is going to keep a $13.00 an hour employee standing around doing side work that a minimum wage busboy could be doing? Right now, being able to pay sub minimum wage actually works as a bit of a safety net for employers. If it's a slow night, they don't lose a fortune in wages. Meanwhile, they're able to keep a reasonable dining room staff on hand just in case they get slammed unexpectedly.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CookinMT View Post

Yes, you are absolutely correct!  Higher server wages would most likely be facilitated through higher menu prices, and that would mean everybody had to be on board or risk losing the "window shoppers."   I think it's worth it.  In the end, you're still paying out the same amount of money, but the server doesn't need to worry about "off days" or "off months" or "the last three tables who think tipping is an insult."  

 

Of course, from up here on my soapbox I'm armed with only my dissatisfaction and an alternate strategy, but not a logistical plan for implementing it. 

 

Cheers.  :)

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