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.

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Showing 3 of 89 comments
Jan 15, 2015 3:21 PM CST
I believe this is a good thing. Waiters and waitresses will now get compensated for their efforts properly, like the rest of us. Those who disagree, maybe they would like getting less than minimum wage, and have to survive on the variability of tips for a while.
Jan 15, 2015 1:18 PM CST
If the employer isn't paying the "tip" but the customer is[18%increase]...never mind, the employer is a low info voter. i.e. democratic, obama type... I call b.s.!
Jan 10, 2015 11:04 AM CST
If you buy a $12 meal and then get stuck with an 18% "fee", that is a sideways move and not what I would call "getting rid of the tip". It is a ploy to get people into your restaurant because you advertise your food prices without counting the 18%. Raise your menu prices, wait and see if business sticks around, if it does and your employees suddenly start working better then good for you....the way it should be. If business tanks, then you should have hired better workers to deliver a better product in the first place.