Should Tipping Be Mandatory?

Categories: Bites & Dishes

Welcome to Chow Bella's Bites & Dishes, where each week Valley chefs and restaurateurs respond to a question or topic New Times food critic Laura Hahnefeld has on her mind. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail laura.hahnefeld@newtimes.com.

TippingImage.jpg
​Last week, the Internet food community nearly popped a gastronomical gasket regarding a mysteriously sourced story that servers in San Francisco want to make a 25 percent tip mandatory. The report was unsubstantiated (shocking), but the question remains as to what our Valley food community has to say on whether a tip should be automatic. Here are a few of their answers:

PavlewithWine2.jpg
Pavle Milic
Owner, FnB

NO: At FnB, we don't ever add automatic gratuity. For larger parties, I normally drop off a bill and tell the guest: "I will leave a tip up your discretion." Who am I to assume my service was worth 20 percent? Almost always guests over tip past the 20 percent mark, and if sometimes you get under-tipped (less than 15 percent) well, c'est la vie. You have to look at tips based on your yearly income and not sweat the one less-than-stellar-tip. If you're a good server, you will make good money.

Tipping should be mandatory only for special events where the gratuity has been discussed as part of the contract. There is also a cultural issue here -- sometimes diners from other parts of the world have different views about tipping. This is just one of the reasons why the tip is added to most parties larger than six.

JamesPorterPic1.jpg
James Porter
Executive Chef
Petite Maison, Big Earl's BBQ

YES: You don't have to tip if you don't dine out. If you do go to a restaurant where service is involved, then you have "agreed" to tip according to the level of service you receive. If you don't like to tip, then eat at home and clear your own plates.


GregTroiloPic.jpg
Gregg Troilo
Owner, British Open Pub

NO: I believe most wait and bar staff consider it mandatory, but I think that represents a very arrogant position. I owe you for the food, and I tip if your service enhances the dining experience.




Eric Flatt, Owner Tonto Bar & Grill & Cartwrights Sonoran Ranch House.jpg
Eric Flatt
Co-owner, Tonto Bar & Grill and Cartwright's Sonoran Ranch House

NO: Proper training of wait staff should be mandatory. At Tonto & Cartwright's, our staff reaps the rewards of proper gratuities because we test them weekly on everything. Their training never ends, and their knowledge and skill is apparent to our customers.



KevinJones.jpg
Kevin Jones
Owner, College Dropouts

NO: Tipping shouldn't be mandatory, but is essentially an unwritten rule. Most corporate restaurants have tip-out percentages based on sales (to busser, bartender, etc.) not tips, which basically means a server could actually lose money on serving a table if [the diners] do not tip. Ninety percent of general public has no clue of this.


CraigDemarco.jpg
Craig DeMarco
Owner, Postino, Windsor and Churn

YES: Tipping should be mandatory unless the staff is rude. [If it is rude], then no way. I can forgive any mistake except poor behavior.


My Voice Nation Help
12 comments
2CoastalRSVP1
2CoastalRSVP1

Tipping should always be determined by the patron of the individual product or service.  Many folks will avoid establishments that mandate set tipping amounts or percentages because it removes the ability to decide what they feel is deserved AND when an amount is required and other establishments are either unavailable or inconvenient at the time of usage, participants more times than not won't tip beyond the required amount as a form of protest. The service or product provider ends up the loser.  Best advice: Don't mandate tip either in amount OR percentage form.

Jabeaver
Jabeaver

arrogant owners demand tips.  jab

davelog
davelog

Tipping is, by definition, optional. If it's mandatory, it's not a tip - it's a surcharge.

Thanks for this insight as to what establishments don't understand this. I'll adjust my dining plans accordingly.

Grab5691
Grab5691

Tipping shouldn't necessarily be mandatory but at the end of the day, many people are cheap.  The tables who tell you that "you've been wonderful" and that they're "really going to take good care of you" often tip horribly...as if they think it's ok because they gave you this verbal praise.  

Erica O.
Erica O.

Ditto on the delivery driver tips issue, Mr. Venezia's. As a former delivery driver, I got raked over the coals in terms of money put into a vehicle versus the tips made. That couple dollar "delivery charge" isn't a tip to me. It's a gas and maintenance fee to make sure I can continue to hand deliver food to your doorstep. Don't go cheapin' out on poor delivery drivers either.

BFD
BFD

Has anyone noticed that everyone that serves food now asks for a tip? The coffee shop, the ice cream counter, the sub shop? Since when does someone who pushes a sandwhich across a counter desreve a tip? I just paid over 4 dollars for a cup of coffee so sure why not throw you an extra buck just because you have a jar on the counter.  

Tipping Point of Conversation
Tipping Point of Conversation

 This is such a much-ado-about-nothing topic. I made a great living on mostly gratuities for many years here in Phoenix. 99.9% of the dining public does the right thing tipping-wise. Every server/bartender takes it in the shorts every great once in a while. Fact of life. End of story. Let's move on.

Regular20
Regular20

I have to take issue with those chefs that feel that tips should be mandatory - if they feel that way they must also feel that tips don't create any incentive for servers to do a good job and that the customer should not have any say in deciding the level of service received and rewarding accordingly. If you follow that logic that perhaps the chefs/owners should simply pay servers an adequate wage and simply add the additional cost to their prices.  Of course they don't want to do that because they really don't want to expose this off-loading of what is actually a cost of their business by bring it to the forefront in the form of higher prices.

johnc
johnc

In Europe, servers are paid more in wages and customers tip less. Presumably restaurants cover the higher staff costs through increased pricing. Here we pay lower wages and expect more compensation in tips. Take your pick. 

spitfiRe
spitfiRe

If you know how to treat your guest you will be rewarded for it ---- end of story! It annoys me more than anything that servers or whatever the position expect a tip no matter how their service! A tip is a gratuity based on your performance --- & like Pavle says, "If your good, you will make good money." Too many people give mediocre service & expect above average tipping.  Not from this New Yorker, you wont ---- & by the way, although I dont work in the industry currently, Ive worked in it for over 10 years.  If people step up their game & show love for what they do, it will reflect in their pay.

Azbluew
Azbluew

It's so offensive to hear restaurant owners dismiss and marginalize tipping especially when they are happy to pay wait staff half the minimum wage. Servers, bartenders and bussers all rely on tips to make a living. Everyone knows that so how can these owners even discuss 10% and 15% tips? They of all people should be educating the dining public on tipping appropriately.

Sourcetags
Sourcetags

Everyone at least should work in the industry waiting tables once in there life just to see what its like. While tipping maybe customary, it should not be dismissed completely.

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...