Jump to content

Do I Get To Tip Less In California?


Waitman
 Share

Recommended Posts

...or Alaska, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington?

Servers work for tips and, as a former waiter, I am sensitive to their economic plight and tip well.  But if I go to California, where waiters will soon make $10/hour due to state minimum wage laws, -- a $7-and-change hourly "bonus" compared to DMV servers, which also does not have to be split with the busboys -- do I get to knock a couple of bucks off my tip?

Further, since higher wages will mean higher menu prices, I'd be tipping on a higher bill.  So, do I get to knock an additional percentage point or two off?

This is largely theoretical -- since I have low self-esteem I tend to tip whatever it takes to make the server pretend to like, whatever if takes.

But, as a question of etiquette and microeconomics, I am curious to here others' views.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes

Geoff Tracy weighs in on the issue from the Upper West Side, in a letter to Vincent "Agent" Orange.

The (theoretical, long-term) answer is simple, Geoff - encourage your patrons to tip less - this is, or should be, and will be, a zero-sum game.

"But my servers will flee to another restaurant."

"Not if everyone else does the same thing."

Without expressing any political preferences one way or the other, I feel pretty comfortable that this bill would not "destroy the restaurant industry" as Geoff claims; or, if it would, then California, Alaska, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington are all in big trouble. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The minimum wage for tipped employees in California is $8.00 an hour for 2013.  The federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 an hour. I recently learned from a friend opening a restaurant in New York City that hotel union dishwashers earn $36 an hour! Line cooks earn $30 an hour. Tipped employees in union hotels in New York have a minimum wage of $5.65 an hour.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm hearing from mostly family-owned restaurants that are terrified of getting hammered by this bill.

It's going to take a massive, industry-wide price increase, passed along to the consumer, accompanied with a recommendation to lower or eliminate tips.

There's no way restaurants are going to absorb this cost, and there's no way that consumers will pay for it all.

Places had better get out their calculators and start figuring out how to go towards a tip-free environment. It's easier and cleaner to go "tip-free" than "tip-reduced" - the latter would just be a mess.

What's really going to hurt places is the lag in time between when the bill goes into effect (assuming it passes), and when everyone makes the changes to increased prices / lower-or-no tips. The people who do this first are going to have servers jump ship, so it really needs to happen all at once.

(And then, of course, servers can simply cross the border and work in Virginia.)

I strongly recommend that restaurants start figuring out how to go to a tip-free system of compensation - they may not have a choice, and the ones who aren't prepared are going to get hosed.

In theory, this bill is a separate issue from going tip-free, but in practice, I don't see how it can work that way.

For whatever it's worth, I'll throw all my support behind any restaurant that goes tip-free, even if it means raising prices by 20% or whatever (interestingly, that will put even more money in DC's coffers from increased sales tax).

Maybe one day it will mean I'll have a server who isn't supporting themselves while trying to launch an acting career, and actually cares about being a professional server.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe one day it will mean I'll have a server who isn't supporting themselves while trying to launch an acting career, and actually cares about being a professional server.

I just want to say this:  I worked with a lot of servers who were trying to launch another career -- as I kind of was.  And you know what?  Most of them were the kind of people wanted to be very good at what they did, because they had pride in their work (even if they hoped to move on), they cared about their customers and they needed the money.

Not that there aren't jerks and slackers out there, just want to stick up for some good people, who may or may not now be employed in the theater, the fine arts or politics.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just want to say this:  I worked with a lot of servers who were trying to launch another career -- as I kind of was.  And you know what?  Most of them were the kind of people wanted to be very good at what they did, because they had pride in their work (even if they hoped to move on), they cared about their customers and they needed the money.

Not that there aren't jerks and slackers out there, just want to stick up for some good people, who may or may not now be employed in the theater, the fine arts or politics.

He who is caught making a generalization has nothing to gain by continuing the conversation. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good luck trying to move restaurants to a tip free environment, we can't even manage to balance the country's finances (sequester, anyone?) & are you going to ask for a pay stub? I haven't worked as a waitress in years, but I don't think things are that different now, I worked for $2/hr & tips, while I was in school, not trying to be an actor or anything other than a student. Too bad some folks that dine out have no idea of what it's like to be on the other side of the table...IMO, if you can't tip generously & appropriately, stay home & cook your own food....(sorry, I AM a cranky bitch).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I worked for $2/hr & tips, while I was in school, not trying to be an actor or anything other than a student. 

Bingo!

You weren't trying to be anything other than a student.

Think about that for a minute.

(I'm trying to stimulate discussion, btw, not argue. That said, I'm not convinced that moving restaurants towards a tip-free environment is a more Herculean task than balancing our country's finances.)

IMO, if you can't tip generously & appropriately, stay home & cook your own food....(sorry, I AM a cranky bitch).

That's why you're called "thistle." :P

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...