Skip the Tip

A business professor argues it’s time to reevaluate how we pay servers.

Image via Wikipedia Commons

Be honest: How often does the tip you leave a server actually reflect their performance? Most of the time, whether the dining experience left you cheering or grumbling, you leave the same percentage of the bill, writes Jay Zagorsky, an adjunct associate professor of markets, public policy & law, in the Wall Street Journal.

From its inception as a practice to encourage speedy service, tipping has evolved into “an unfair, counterproductive method of running a business,” he writes. Tips are confusing to calculate (especially for the tipsy or mathematically challenged), create pay disparities between front- and back-of-house staff, and are a drain on government tax coffers.

So, what’s the solution? “A simple way to encourage more restaurants to eliminate tipping is to require them to pay the prevailing minimum wage to all staff, and not a special subminimum wage for tipped workers,” he says. “This would incentivize restaurants to eliminate tipping on their own, making eating out in the US a simpler, fairer, and more honest system, where the price seen on the menu or advertisement is the actual price you pay.”

Originally published at www.bu.edu (Everett Magazine).

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