Do I really have to tip at restauants?
The short answer is, “yes.”
The longer answer is, “no, but you should compensate your server for paying for part of your meal.”
In this toxic political environment, servers have come to be seen by many as the personification of the “entitlement class.” A tip is seen by some as extra compensation for something they are already paying for. In reality, it is the server who is paying for part of the meal and hoping the guest will reimburse them for it. The real sense of entitlement is expecting someone else to pay for your food and serve you without compensation.
The fact that federal law only requires that restaurants pay severs $2.13/ hour allows restaurants to charge less for food. If a reasonable wage (ie a wage that would lead anyone to want to be a server) was paid, the cost of food would rise by level much higher than the ammount of even a generous tip. To say that a server therefore feels “entitled” to a tip is the equivalent of saying that any other employee feels “entitled” to a paycheck.
We could of course change the law and pay servers that reasonable wage. The result of that action would be to reduce the incentive of servers to provide superior service. In fact, the level of service would be set just above the level that would get them fired. I don’t know about you, but that is not what I want when I go out to celebrate my special occassions. The idea of paying more and recieving less service does not seem like a good trade off. I think tipping sounds like a better idea already.
I examine this notion in greater detail and show the real economic impact of eliminating tips in today’s post, Do I Really Have To Tip At Restaurants?