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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Opinion

Diners lose power if increased pay eliminates tips


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Kevin Lemus/The Cougar

Dine-in Restaurants have traditionally fought to separate themselves in order to draw in a higher clientele that would provide their wait staff with tips.

The goal of a restaurant should be to retain wait staff in order to build long lasting client relations.

“People that have just a flat hourly wage don’t normally care enough to give the kind of effort as if you’re having to earn your wage yourself,” Arturo Murcado, a 34-year veteran to the restaurant business and currently a server at Outback Steakhouse, said. “I know people that can make $800 to $1000 a night, depending on the level of service they give in certain restaurants.”

The reason excellent service has come to be the norm for serving in restaurants is the fact that each waiter is working for the ultimate goal, a high end tip based on their aptitude to connect with the guest and elevate the going out experience.

Servers in the restaurant industry strive on the gratification that comes from seeing the accumulation of tips at the end of their shift. Most restaurant servers will constitute that quick cash, flexible scheduling and high-energy atmospheres are a saving grace from the typical 9-to-5 job.

Recently, Joe’s Crab Shack became one of the first restaurant chains to pilot a program where tipping is not necessary, due to the increase in wage of their servers to $14.

In making this shift, the money that funds an hourly wage is going to derive from a 12 to 15 percent price increase in menu items, Ignite Restaurant Group CEO Ray Blanchette said in The New York Times.

Chain restaurants typically appeal to the public for their accessibility and commercializing. They are sinister in their efforts to provide all your favorites, but now they come with a heftier price tag.

The relief that comes from daily cash flow will cease to exist for the wait staff at the 18 locations where this program is being tested.

The Modern, a New York restaurant, is converting to a new “hospitality included” policy. After three consecutive meetings, the employees were more than a little concerned about how this would affect them.

The employees “showcased an uneasy mix of go-for-broke exuberance and I-don’t-want-to-go-broke jitters” said Danny Meyer to the New York Times.

It is valid to assume that an increase in price could cause a decrease in service when considering the no-tipping policy would not longer separate a dine-in restaurant from fast food joint.

The News-Press Food Critic Jean LeBoeuf posted a Facebook poll last month that asked consumers whether they would prefer an increase in menu prices if it meant they would not have to tip the “70 percent preferred tipping.”

If the tradition of tipping is revoked from all restaurants, the customer service factor would not be vital in whether or not one would get paid. A cultural shift that makes dining out a positive overall experience would not be as consistent.

It is a commendable attempt to level the playing field for servers to be paid hourly to compensate for slow customer traffic, but with the demands of restaurant standards the gratuity given should be in the hands of the customer.

Opinion columnist Phylicia Davidson is an English senior and may be reached at [email protected]

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