Restaurant Owner: Why Getting Rid of Tips Works

Jay Porter describes how his experiment helped everyone

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Aug 15, 2013 8:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – In 2006, Jay Porter abolished tipping at his San Diego restaurant. Instead, the eatery instituted an 18% service charge for all dining-in meals (slightly less than the average tip had been), and refused to accept anything beyond that. This allowed the "tip" revenue to legally be shared among both cooks and servers, and the result was that the cooks made more money, thus the food improved, thus business improved, thus the servers made more money. Oh, and service improved too, Porter writes in Slate, not because of the increase in pay but "because eliminating tips makes it easier to provide good service."

Think about it: Assuming "you work somewhere other than a restaurant and with your clothes on," you get paid by your employer—not your client—and you aren't constantly distracted by a trickle of compensation (or the lack thereof). "If you don't have to always think about money, you can focus on doing your job well," Porter writes. Unfortunately, many people are passionate about keeping tipping culture around (typically people who are "invested in the idea of authority and the feeling of power"). But if more restaurants start experimenting as Porter did, we may soon find ourselves presented with bills that show "everything we're supposed to pay, including enough to pay good wages to all the people who work there." Click for his full column.

  (Shutterstock)
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