The Tipping Wage

An article on good.is about a restaurant co-op that forbids tips really struck a cord with me. Finally someone is talking about how messed up the business with tipping in restaurants is. I can’t even tell you how long I’ve been bitching about this.

The article is about the Black Star Co-op, a cooperatively owned microbrewery-restaurant in Austin, where not only tipping not allowed, workers also get a proper wage (“a wage of at least $16 a hour”) and anyone can co-operate by becoming a member of the co-op.

For me forcing people to tip, and even worse, putting someones salary in direct relation to it just can’t work. Its as bad for the guest as it is for restaurant worker. Its not right for someone who is really at the core of a business to be paid arbitrarily and the argument thats its effort based is really bullshit. When it rains there are no customers and you don’t get paid. You can’t make it stop raining, no matter how much effort you put into it.

The only person that benefits is the restaurant owner. Its the same with taxes – why are they not included? Yes margins might be thin, yes its a hard business, but its though for everyone. These insecurities (how much tip to leave, how much money you’ll make), are really unnecessary. This system really only serves the restauranteur by offloading more costs onto the consumer and not guaranteeing anything to their staff.

We go to restaurants for an enjoyable experience. Fussing around with tips, adding taxes and paying almost 30% more than expected in the end don’t make the restaurant experience any better.