Restaurant Servers Say Eliminating Tips May Hurt Wait Service

Comments

1
The unintended consequences of government interference.
2
So, the upshot is that wait staff are going to do their jobs worse because they are maybe making less, but the food will be better because the kitchen staff will be getting raises.

I'm not a 20-percent on the post-tax total including your outrageous wine mark-up kind of guy. I can live with this.

3
I suppose that maybe some servers will earn less. However, the types of people who get lower tips due to prejudices (minorities, fat people, unattractive people) will probably see an uptick in their take home pay.

Also, this is not a law just for waiters. It is a law for all low wage earners. For every waiter earning 2% less on the year, there are dozens of other earners now getting 20% more in take home pay. Society is about giving and taking, not just demanding every law serve your type of people.
4
This is the way it is supposed to work. For decades now, we as a society have taken on the responsibility of subsidizing the true labor costs of a restaurant's ability to provide excellent service (through our tips). These servers don't "deserve" to make less money, but the recent changes have started some interesting conversations. Customers are saying that they expect the employers to actually take responsibility for valuing their staff (both front- and back-of-house) appropriately, incorporate those costs into their prices, and then let the consumer decide if they are willing to pay for it. This is really the only way to ensure those collecting the profits are doing so off of the actual inherent value of the good/services they are providing, and not off the backs of the artificially cheap labor being discreetly (and often time inequitably) subsidizes via tipping culture. Honestly, if the best servers start to leave and service levels fall, then those restaurants will lose business. The owners will be forced to rethink their wage structures to keep the best servers on board. Sure, the cost to the consumer will rise, but I think Seattle has shown an incredible resilience to price increases in their restaurants (because we truly value our restaurant scene/community/culture) and if they rise too far (i.e. if owners get too greedy), then the owner's will be forced to accept slightly lower profit margins. As long as their is profit to be made, though, then their will be people willing to take the risk to go after it. It might be a bumpy ride for a bit, but it will eventually settle out at a new normal. Except, it will be a normal where employees are fairly compensated for their actual value directly by their employers and consumers are paying the true costs for the service/meals that they are receiving. This isn't Armageddon, this how you allow market forces to work in a way that maintains an equitable balance of "power" between capitol and labor.
5
The last couple paragraphs about Seattle being a high maintenance town and about people leaving the industry proves the point of the rest of the article. Servers have gotten so entitled about their tips and expect us all to agree with them that they deserve them no matter what. You want to make $30/hour? Go get a real job.
6
I love how the Stranger thinks this is a law about waitstaff. Its like they float through life not even noticing all the other minimum wage workers around them every day. Typical.
7
I am so totally okay with restaurant service going down because of this. Maybe it's because I'm a parent and don't have time to eat out a lot.. Maybe it's because I'm Mustacian and don't feel the need to eat out a lot... But I just don't care that much about restaurant service in the grand scheme of things. I feel for the waiters - they've gotten used to something that may change, but I just don't think they are inherently entitled to an unusually high wage compared to workers in other fields.
8
I suppose the waitstaff concerned about losing income would have a point IF tipping disappeared altogether; but the fact is it won't, at least not for some time to come. What is more likely to happen is that tip percentages will go down - I'm myself am planning to drop from 18 - 20% to somewhere in the 15% range. But, this is based on two offsetting factors: waitstaff are now earning a higher hourly wage, and I fully expect prices to rise slightly to cover those additional costs to the employer. In high turnover establishments I can see how this might result in a slight downturn in earnings over the short-term, but knowing that back-of-the-house staff are making significantly more than before is going to go a long ways toward assuaging any lingering guilt I might feel over that.
9
@5:

Have you ever done food service, restaurant or catering work? Believe me, it IS a real job, particularly when it requires dealing with people of your ilk. It's your kind of "fuck the minions" mentality that made $15NOW necessary in the first place.
10
Where the fuck is all this great service?
11
I'm entirely unsurprised that an attempt to foist the bill for addressing the lower wager worker (back-of-the-house staff) onto another slightly-higher-wage worker (wait staff) so as to avoid raising prices on people like @1 who feel entitled to debt-serfdom servitude is not going over well with those who are getting gouged.

Instead of trying to cost shift onto wait-staff, prices should simply have been raised on menus to bring all wages in line with the new law. Wait staff will continue to get tips, though likely less since not all of us will feel obliged to make up for cheapskates in management and stiffers (like, I'm betting @1). I've watched my average tip climb from 15% to 20% (better for exceptional service) simply because I'm a former restaurant worker and all too well aware of the eroding minimum wage.

Yes, of course service will decline when they are expected to do the same work for substantially less pay. I'm not sure why anyone expects it to be different in this industry just because tipping exists.
12
The lack of tipping is why there is no fine dining in France.
13
@5,
Go get a real job.
You don't think serving food is a real job? I assume you never eat out? You just buy all your food at a market and prepare it yourself?

If you ever DO eat out, then you're paying for a service performed by employees working a real job.
14
@6

The Stranger wishes Seattle consisted solely of service industry types serving other service industry types. Just a city full of servers and bartenders. Don't you know that?
15
OK - it's a real job, but it's entry level work and $15 is adequate, even in Seattle.
16
This is an important step, according to Sawant's brain-trust cabinet of Jess Spear. Tips are a system of discrimination against women and a way of sexual exploitation, or something like that.

http://www.thestranger.com/news/feature/…
17
@7, It's not like they're getting paid like software engineers.

It is a real job and I don't think you could pay me enough to deal with all the d-bags that I would have to deal with as a waiter. Tipping is a good thing for won't keep good people otherwise and the prospect of good tipping encourages good service.
18
Are most people are more price sensitive than I am? Or is this something the restaurant industry just assumes? I couldn't tell you the exact price of any entree I've ever had, nor would I notice if I went up a dollar or 2 the next time I ate. Also, what do they do to incorporate the rising costs of rent in the city? I've never seen a 2% rising rent surcharge put on a bill.
19
In Europe, there really isn't tipping at all. You usually leave your change if it isn't too much as a kindness. Seems like that's what we're trying to do here, and I'm all for it. Servers might, at first, lose a little bit, but having CONSISTENT pay will, in the long run, win. Change is always tough at first. But good change lasts. This hopefully will wind up falling in the latter category.
20
Yes. You are going to take a hit. You fucking morons.

Only in Seattle do the Liberatti believe that the essential laws of economics are suspended. If you raise costs, demand will diminish. So yes, there will be fewer of you working, and fewer people dining, and fewer people tipping. You were warned. Don't act surprised or butt-hurt about it.

Why is it so hard for Lefties to look at the trajectory of history and see that more and more government has never – ever – sustained improvement in the condition of humankind. Government's only interest is to help government. And the more you vote for it, generally the shittier things get -- long-term.

Finally, wages aren't set by employers. They are set by workers who accept those wages. If you don't want minimum wage: 1) Stop accepting it. 2) Raise your skills.
21
It's a shame that The Stranger can't help themselves by trying to spin this obvious unintended consequence. Server Sara Fox says, "if we’re raising the minimum wage so that everyone makes a real living wage, and potentially over the long run I see a downward shift in tips, I’m okay with that." Sara, $15 IS NOT a "living wage". That's a parroted talking point that The Stranger & Swawant and her $15Now cadre promulgated upon us as they manipulated public opinion with lovely-sounding catch-phrases such as that one. Do the math - a server works maybe 30 hours a week if they work 'full time' at a restaurant. So, 30x$15 is just $450 BEFORE taxes...so, that means that per month, that person will earn $1,800/month - again, before taxes. Do you think that less than $1,800/month is a "living wage"? That same server would have earned far more with tips at Ivar's.

We should all thank The Stranger for causing these people to have to now leave their jobs. And, not just at Ivar's.

Folks - this is just the first restaurant to do this. This is just them trying to keep ahead of the press, get some good press...but at the great disadvantage of their actual co-workers. But, it's a great cautionary tale.

Angela Garbes then hilariously writes, "In order to better compensate their lowest-paid employees, restaurant owners could accept lower profit margins. Instead, they seem to prefer to ask customers to pay more and, potentially, servers to make less." Yes, Angela, because all those small business owners can just "accept lower profit margins". WOW. Amazing. Another Stranger reporter that does not know enough to know enough. No, Angela. No. Small business owners - not Ivar's, not Tom Douglas, but the other 99% of small restaurants or bars can't just "accept lower profit margins" of the kind that would be needed to reach this $15hr MW.

TIP: The Stranger reporters - you need to professionalize yourself. If you don't know the facts about an issue, just positing your opinion is not what real the profession of journalism does.

"accept lower profit margins". HA! I just love that. So..cute!
22
I worked in the (tipped) food service industry for over ten years. I support the raised minimum wage. The whole tipping thing is a minor issue that will play itself out with no major disaster, and I can say that as someone who knows what it is like to make a living within that industry.

Mostly this non-issue is something the corporate titans are using to scare the "little people" in hopes of derailing support for fair wages.

Notably absent from the article is how many restaurants "strongly recommend" (hint: retribution if you don't) tipped staff to "tip out" again to back-of-house staff in order to support those inadequate wages. Tacitly that is illegal, but there is zero enforcement of that law. In other parts of 'Mericuh, tipped staff make as little as $2.15 per hour BECAUSE they are tipped.

Just because the system exists doesn't mean it is good labor policy. The rising tide of fair wages will lift all boats.
23
@21 Again? Aren't you guy who wrote an op-ed full of factual fabrications about this very subject a year ago?

Tried to defend it for a day, admitted it was made up, but stuck by the message like some new age preacher man.
24
Really lost me at the end with,

"“The service inherent with tipping is a huge part of the industry here and what makes dining out enjoyable,” said Shawn Berner. “I explain the menu, I make suggestions, I describe flavors and textures, and I make sure the kids are fed first. I EARN the tips I receive. I don’t believe that ‘just anyone’ could do it for as long as I have and continue to smile every day.”

“Seattle is a high-maintenance town, food-service-wise,” said Sarah Fox. “They want to talk about where their salmon came from, what kind of hops are in their beer. People will still expect the same standard of service that they had been getting for 20 percent [tip].”"

Sorry but service in Seattle is not very good on average. You'd think it would be way better than other places since servers are making a good bit more money but it doesn't seem to translate. I almost always try to avoid table service, it is awkward and slow. Ok, I'm ready to leave now so where is that waiter? Oh right, nowhere to be found. After three tries I've flagged them down so that they can go get the check. Then come back and hand it to me. Then disappear again, no, wait, take it back and run it please. No, we don't want any dessert, let me mime a full stomach to defuse this awkward hard sell situation I'm in. Always preferable to just order and pay up front or at the end at the register. Or better yet, take out.

And just to be clear, waiting is absolutely a real job. It looks like hard work and I would not enjoy it. However it is also a job that requires no special skills or education so you will always be competing with everyone else who showers semi-regularly and can manage to regularly show up on time. The surest way to higher wages is to develop unique skills.
25
@3 I'm an ugly black man, and I was able to purchase a Cadillac with tip money. I made $41,000 a year making $2 hourly in New York State.
And no, that is the case in plenty of other states with a tip credit: http://houston.culturemap.com/news/resta…
And why would minorities make less money? What, you think we can't provide fantastic service? You are just another racist liberal prick.
26
@21 I should post it just in case people forgot or are new to this debate and don't know about you.

http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/your-…
27
@24
" However it is also a job that requires no special skills or education so you will always be competing with everyone else who showers semi-regularly and can manage to regularly show up on time."
So, what exactly is the problem with having a chateauneuf du pape with spicy garlic shrimp? If someone orders a thick ribeye rare, what do you say and why? Does one pre-bus the ice cream in the same way one pre-busses the entree? What is an intermezzo? Can you name three classic aperitifs? What is the difference between French and English service and could you adapt to a restaurant where the captain or manager said "give them French service" and handed you a spoon, fork, and large salad? Would you even know what she meant?
I could go on...
Fine dining is far from working at IHOP. If you think the people at Canlis don't have a skilled job, you are on crack. And it wasn't restaurant servers asking for this, it was those few adults working at McDonald's, most of whom are indeed losers, and a bunch of union thugs as well as the usual suspects of whiny white hipsters. Every restaurant server I know is getting ready to either get a new gig or start looking for a restaurant in Bellevue.
28
@22
Been in the business 15 years, and NEVER have met anyone who was forced to tip out cooks. In fact, that is even already illegal most places: http://austincut.com/2012/08/iron-cactus…
And only the shitty server would want to see tips go away and just make hourly pay. I wait tables because I make a lot more on tips than most starting salaries in the corporate world.
29
@24) Correct, service in Seattle is not considered "very good / high maintenance". This is because in other states management will fill the front of house with bodies they can pay a paltry $2.15 per hour (they OBVIOUSLY do not care how much this spreads out the tip pool). In Seattle they put fewer bodies on the floor because they aren't that cheap. That's fewer people to come around and kiss your undeserving ass. That is actually good for waiters, because the available tipping pool is thus split among fewer people. And they have less time/priority that is expected to be spent kissing your pathetic undeserving ass.

Side note: restaurant managers are infamous for wage fraud to cut their labor costs. Oh yeah, and embezzling from owners. Truth is if their compensation and labor practices were fair, their theft costs would drop dramatically.
30
@1
I agree 100%. I can't wait until January, when I get on that plane and head to Texas...and I am still waiting for an explanation from the 15Now fascists about how ohh how they will pass this law in Texas. "All 50 states..." yeah. Wendy Davis ran as a progressive on a $10/hour platform and she LOST IN A LANDSLIDE to a Republican. How will the socialists 15now pass $15/hour in Texas when they couldn't come close to electing someone advocating $10/hour? Still waiting for an answer...
31
@29
Seattle is known for having awful service, mostly because the servers are paid too much. They are not working to earn their pay so they give shitty service, and 9 out of 10 servers here are whiny white hipsters who are just doing it because their parents don't give them enough to buy their favorite organic, vegan craft beer in the quantities they want.
In Houston, however, servers only bring in $2/hour, and the rest is what they earn. And they are making "awful poverty wages!"...ahh...actually...
http://houston.culturemap.com/news/resta…
And restaurant owners are mostly not rich. What about that Vietnamese immigrant owner of a Pho shop, who the 15now crowd probably refer to by racial slurs. Is she a part of the "evil 1%"? http://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/to-s…
And if you want to talk about a bunch of cheating rich bastards, that would be the white upper class hipsters marching next to Sawant and Jess Spear tweeting "smash Capitalism" from their Iphone 7.
32
My friend, tike0vitz, you write, "Aren't you guy who wrote an op-ed full of factual fabrications about this very subject a year ago?

Tried to defend it for a day, admitted it was made up, but stuck by the message like some new age preacher man.
"

No, sir. Again, I don't blame you for your misunderstanding of both my opinion and any resultant propaganda about my actual statements. In a discussion replete with nothing but lies, distortions & misunderstandings, I don't blame you for your characterization of my actual statement and beliefs.

Just to clear it up -

Yes, I did write that.

No, there is not ONE "factual fabrications"

No, nothing was "made up". Thusly, I did not admit anything of the sort.

I do encourage you at any point though to ask to see the real numbers. Not only did Tom Douglas back up my numbers, but many, many small businesses have in the meantime.

Ivar's can handle raising their prices because they are in a much more high-profit environment than most small business. No, we cannot just raise our prices. We small businesses exist in an environment called 'Competitive Advantage/Disadvantage'. Most us small businesses cannot raise our prices or just make less income. We don't make much as it is, and our competitive disadvantage against larger businesses such as Ivar's makes it impossible to compete once we DO raise our prices. So, in order to exist, we will have to cut hours, cut services, cut quality. Many won't be able to compete, only to be replaced with a less-quality business or a larger one with a larger competitive advantage.

tike0vitz, I don't expect you to understand or accept this reality or these truths. Some of you will - but then, I think that those that are smarter are generally always smarter and behave as such. The others?

Status quo.
33
I love that we're now having a whole debate about minimum wage that's oriented around what's best for waitstaff at Canlis. Canlis is not a minimum wage type of place with tipping, and if tipping goes away it will still not be. I'm sure the owners understand that. Fortunately, this is a minimum wage and not a wage cap for waitstaff.

The point is from the consumer side it matters little whether there's tipping or prices rise and tipping goes away. We're paying either way.
34
I think this is mostly concern trolling. And this really only affects servers at higher-end restaurants - most servers at, say, Denny's or whatever, might not be getting above $15 with tips when a table of 4 only orders $40 worth of stuff, compared to Ivar's where the average bill is probably $150+. This is one of the biggest problems with our tipping culture is that the tip is based on the "value" of the food rather than the amount of work - in fact, I've had the least skilled servers at some of the nicer restaurants while the most skilled probably work at these commercial casual chain restaurants. Since serving isn't exactly a difficult job, the distribution of money in the serving world probably comes down to looks (and therefore, whiteness, perceived class, etc) moreso than quality service.
35
@30 promises promises. I know I know it is all the fault of your never ending lease. If it wasn't for some pesky lease you'd be gone by now. But it just extends and extends must be very frustrating for you.

Forced to live in a place you hate, working for a boss who trolls you constantly. Whispering in your ear how raising your pay, providing you with paid sick leave, and or overtime will force the business to close.

Sad poor little collectivism_sucks trapped in nightmare. His Libertarian Utopia always just a year beyond his grasp.
36
One great thing about $15/hour - it is already driving out the cheap, pathetic and unlikable douchebags such as @31!

He readily admits he can't handle the heat in the kitchen!
37
@21: I like how you're using Ivar's Salmon House as an example, yet leaving out the fact that servers there are making $15 an hour PLUS 8% of gross sales. Though it's not surprising since you've been full of shit on this issue since Day One. The fact is, no server in Seattle is making only $15 an hour.
38
The surest way to higher wages is to develop unique skills.


This is something we want to be true. But it's not.

There are plenty of people with very unique skills that don't get paid shit. In fact the last thirty years of economic reality utterly defies this assumption. So called high-skilled jobs have seen steady decline in wages. Even high-demand skilled jobs in engineering. Wage suppression is nearly universal.

Except in the executive and Wall Street classes.

The average Fortune 500 executive possesses no real unique skill. They are a dime-a-dozen MBA's who barely do shit and in fact get rewarded even when they fail spectacularly.

No. The surest way to higher wages is to be born already wealthy and connected and be lucky enough to be an executive in a large public corporation.
39
I never knew so many people in Seattle were perfectly paying a slightly higher wage than slave labor. So much for our progressive little city. It really is all about me me me me! Fuck anyone else. Shit, this is the same shit I'd expect from Bellevue or Tulsa
40
@10: No shit. I think I've good service in Seattle like five times in the eight years I've been here, and that's with tips at or over 20%. I moved here from Vegas, and one of the most noticeable cultural changes was the drop in quality of service. Waiters here often act like they're paying the customer to sit there.
41
Tips should be a genuine expression of thank you from the client to the wait-staff/cooks,... and NOT a mandatory and expected part of their wages.

The IRS treats them as mandatory wages, thereby making them vulnerable to people's largesse for their basic income. Which is bullshit.
42
#20: God damn what a fantasy world you live in. Governments do nothing? The modern state essentially kickstarted capitalism into existence, created the civil society that allows business transactions to happen in the first place, built the armies that protect capitalist countries, created the tax structure that allows us to build infrastructure and invest and R&D, all of which are entirely necessary to have an advanced industrial society. Doesn't the free market God you worship ever give credit where it's due?
43
@32 I'm not your friend, guy.

And please take your condescending, myopic, untrustworthy charlatan self to Texas with Collectivism_Sucks.

Acting smarter is never drinking at Liberty and Good Citizen and telling others to do the same.
44
@30: Going to Texas? Awesome, they'll love you there.
45
This article is a good reminder for me to stop tipping soon. I've gone down to about 10% and I think I'll just stop soon. I bet I get the same great service everyone gets.
46
@40

That's because everyone in Vegas wound up in Vegas by dropping their pants and losing their dignity. That's why they go the extra mile in the largest tourist town in the world.
47
@21, thanks for the extra reminder to never frequent your establishment.
48
@29 You have no idea how deserving and/or pathetic my ass may or not be. I was adding a perfectly reasonable, non-trolling perspective to this conversation so I really appreciate the vitriol. Although I do find your theory of higher wages for servers resulting in lower customer service to be interesting.

@38 You are absolutely correct however, it is much harder to change what family you were born into than it is to develop a marketable skill set.
49
I grew up in places where $500 was all a family would make in a year.

Excuse me while I let the invisible hand of the market correct this over time.
50
The salmon house pays staff a 17% "commission" on every table - the same as their previous average tip level.

The only difference is that now, asshole servers can't stiff the back-of-house staff. Ivar's is splitting it between back of house and front of house for them.
51
So will a higher minimum wage actually help? Of course not. There is a myth here that the restaurant owners will simply fork over more of their profits to pay staff wages. Are you fucking kidding me?. Owners will ask customers to share in this cost meaning tabs for the same old food and beverage will rise. If my tabs go up, I'll also quit going out as often - a landmark Econ 101 prediction!!!! Some restaurants will go under due to lack of clients - also profoundly earthshaking!!. And other things in this city will become more costly like rent, groceries, cable tv, etc. Ok, Mr Dishwasher, you get $15 per hr, eventually, but your Rainier Valley 1 bedroom apt will cost over $2500 per month. Enjoy the prosperity motherfuckers!!
52
@51 Yes, it is apparent that your understanding of economics does not reach beyond EC101.

Start here: http://www.dol.gov/minwage/mythbuster.ht…
53
“Seattle is a high-maintenance town, food-service-wise,” said Sarah Fox. “They want to talk about where their salmon came from,..

Diner: "This Spice-Rubbed Salmon with Herb-and-Pomegranate Raita looks delicious. Can you tell us where the salmon is from?"

Server: "Provo."

Diner's Companion: "Provo? Provo, Utah?"

Server: "Yes, that's right."

Diner: "Is it...is it a...Mormon salmon?"

Server: "Yes. And extremely fresh. You'll love it."

Diner: "Um, I'm sorry but we can't have it. We're both Mormon salmon-intolerant."

Server: "I'm sorry to hear that. You might be interested in the Chicken Fricassee. It's made with Mormon-free range chicken."
54
The most intelligent thing here was written by whatthewhat, when he/she wrote, "I love that we're now having a whole debate about minimum wage that's oriented around what's best for waitstaff at Canlis.", which was also chorus'd by fetish @ 34.

This is true. Most restaurants in Seattle don't have servers making $60K. They do at Liberty, but not at Denny's. There's little question that $15/hr. may help the lower-ticket-price restaurants. My take has always been not that some/many won't make more, but that it's going to harm many small restaurants/bars/retail. That's just a reality. And, when those businesses are hurt, that'll hurt the employees. If you really care about the people, AT LEAST ask all of those affected what they think, not just those from McD's or Denny's.

Past that, Doug @ 37 is cracking me up. Doug...have you done the math? I have.

Let's say that a server sells $1K/shift. That means that they'd normally have ~(for the sake of argument in a touristy place like Ivar's) $200. They'll tip back a bit, which will leave them with ~$160 walking.

So, how much now will they make? Let's see...

A six-hour shift (6 hours x ~$5/hr.) will mean an extra $30.
8% of $1K is what, Doug? Yes, that's $80.

Doug, what's $80+$30? That's $110, Doug, right?

Before, they'd have walked with $160. Now, they walk with $110, before any extra tips, which they are assured to make, but lordy only knows how much now.

Doug, those numbers are really easy to understand.

That's a ~$40 hit every time that they work (before some amount of assumed extra tips).

So, yeah... AND! On top of that, did you read what the ACTUAL Ivar's servers were quoted as saying? "The numbers don’t totally add up,” an Ivar’s server who wished to remain anonymous and who averages considerably more than 8 percent in tips told me. “Even with $15 an hour, I’m sure I’m going to take a financial hit.

Why'r you picking on me when I just have related to you the facts? Didn't you even read the whole story?

Listen, we all want people to earn more. All I've ever stated - over and over - is that there's a smart way to do it, and a dumb way.

I'll let you decide which is which.
55
@54
"The Numbers don't totally add up." Sound's a lot like your M O.
56
@54: Remember when you completely fabricated a bunch of numbers to prove a point?
57
I don't like this idea at all. It seems most have no pride in doing their jobs in the first place so I'll be damned if I'll be forced to tip you what someone else thinks you deserve. You will be tipped on your service that evening and that is all. Bad busisness
58
I never liked tipping as a way to get customers to pick up the payroll. That is enforced in other states by having a lower minimum wage for tipped staff. Much lower, like $1 or $2 per hour, so if you don't tip, they really don't get paid. If waitstaff are bumped up to $15/hr then tips are less crucial. And theoretically if Ivar's waiters are getting $15, then maybe Tom Douglas or Canlis can bump their waiters up to $30/hr, if they really aim to provide a premium experience, pay their staff like the professionals they want them to be.
59
@45

I guarantee that when you walk through the door, the servers all fight about who is stuck taking you.
60
The tipping system infantilizes servers and makes them beg for their wages from each customer of the restaurant, even thought they marginally control a single aspect of the experience. Make it a job with respect, like all the others. The owner pays a fair wage, the server is bad, the owner fires them for bringing down the restaurant's reputation. The server is good, give them a raise. Otherwise, why not tip everyone? The supermarket checker, the police, etc.
61
The research is clear, checkout the Bureau of Labor Statistics or some of the studies done by the #onefairwage campaign. Waitstaff does not receive a smaller margin of tips when wages increase. In states where the tipped minimum wage is $2.13, servers just make less money overall. These kind of articles are doomsday rhetoric reinforced by the Washington Restaurant Association.
62
@15:

Waiting is "entry level work", since when, pray tell? There are plenty of people who've made long-term careers out of waiting tables. Many of the ladies at the old Dog House had been there for decades; I think at the time they closed, the "youngest" had been around for a mere 14 years or so. And a Maitre d' or head waiter at a high-end restaurant can easily pull in a salary in the high five-figures. The stereotype of the dour, been-here-seen-it-all, don't-take-shit-off-nobody middle-aged hash-slinger at a local mom-and-pop diner is a veritable icon of American pop-culture, and for good reason, because you can find them in just about every small town cafe, suburban chain restaurant, or interstate truck stop between here and Miami. Like plumbing, garbage collecting, or any other job many would consider beneath them, there are just some people who like it, are good at it, and stick with it for the long-haul. Just because it's not a job you personally would care to perform doesn't mean it's not a viable career option for many others.
63
You have your raise - live with it.

If I choose to eat in Seattle restaurant, I will not be tipping. If the wait service is bad, Yelp will hear about it.
64
@46: That doesn't change the fundamental fact that service is generally awful in Seattle restaurants.
66
Can't say the debate much matters to me at this point. My pay raise was less than my rent increase, so my budget for dining out has taken a hit this year. Raise the restaurant prices? I'll go out for dinner even less.
67
@63:

Yeah, that's the sort of empty threat we expect from cheapskates like you. Check very closely next time you order the Fettuccine Alfredo - might be a little extra "sauce" in there, just for you!
68
@6, @14:

You are so wrong. Seattle is a city of servers, bartenders, and ACTORS, all on Capitol Hill. There may be some signs of life in Ballard, although that's just a rumor. We need to prioritize any impact on these groups when considering wages, tax preferences, "incentives," etc. They are the economic engine that keeps Seattle running!
69
@25: "And why would minorities make less money? What, you think we can't provide fantastic service? You are just another racist liberal prick."
Why would minorities make less money? I dunno, maybe because they're offering to work for lower wages in order to undercut white workers, allowing them to get hired and the market to punish employers who discriminate in their hiring.
What's that? I'm racist for suggesting such a despicable notion? Nah bro, that one was YOUR suggestion in your rant against the very idea of a minimum wage. So, to answer the question, why would minorities make less money? Because collectivism_sucks, in his black gay libertarian wisdom, thinks they should.

@28: "Been in the business 15 years, and NEVER have met anyone who was forced to tip out cooks. In fact, that is even already illegal most places:"
From the post to which you are replying: "Tacitly that is illegal, but there is zero enforcement of that law." Shit, son, read the stuff you're talking about before you go shooting your mouth off. It's like the time you made claims about the pay gap between women and men and then posted a link to an article that refuted those claims.

@31: "Seattle is known for having awful service, mostly because the servers are paid too much."
Whaaat? I thought that in accordance with market principles, offering a higher wage increases interest in the position, creating a larger applicant pool and thus allowing employers to select only the best. If all that stuff about the free market is true, offering a higher wage should lead to BETTER quality work, not WORSE! Have the free-market nutbars possibly lied to us all???
70
Ah, it's good to have c_s back again. It's just so delightful how he comments on things without reading them, posts links that contradict what he's saying, draws conclusions unrelated to the supporting evidence he provides, and generally makes a fool of himself. Every time he declares victory in an internet argument and insists that he's right and smart by dint of his libertarianism, oh, it just makes me smile. And I'll never get tired of him calling me a rich racist privileged white kid who is terrified of black people whenever I call him on his bullshitting, no matter how many times I remind him that I lived in Woodlawn (97% black) for over three years, am a member of an ethnic minority, and plan to marry into a particular family which happens to be half black.

I'll certainly miss his self-important masturbation-of-the-keyboard when he moves to Texas to live in his low-minimum-wage fuckwits' paradise. Eventually. One of these days. Once his lease is up and his employer finally folds. It's gonna happen for sure. OP will deliver.
71
HATE this headline. Not one person interviewed said "Eliminating Tips May Hurt Wait Service", just that they are afraid that their bottom line might be affected, which, depending on how each restaurant decides to handle the process, may either be true or not, so everyone in the comments uses their innate level of skepticism or faith in humanity to guess.

Cheat sheet:
Some restaurants will use this as an excuse to raise prices.
Some restaurants will use this as an excuse to help equalize wages between the front and back of the house at cost to either the servers or the customers, who either will or won't accept that and will either quit or stop going.
72
Actually its been proven that minorities and less attractive people make less tips. Humans are racist asshole, it's a fact! I don't agree with it, and I tip everyone the same. But research had shown that minorities to Less, and get tip less also.
73
The last time I saw this many assholes in one place I was writing up a hot dog factory.
74
@67 So if you don't kick in a little extra I'm going to sabotage your food with a little spittle, fecal matter or who knows what. This is just like an anarchist, ready to put a knife in your back. Well keep it up, you may just win in the long run but you reward will be scorched earth.
75
There's no good reason the abolish tipping. Heck, people should feel free to drop a few bucks regardless of the restaurants' policy. I've been to tip-free Europe and felt weird not tipping, so I just did it anyway. Also, I've been a cook for over 20 years and have listened to our fine dining severs bitch and moan about EVERY-fucking- thing from low tips and customers' demands to the quality of staff meal the over-worked, under payed kitchen has prepared for them at the end of a soul sucking Saturday night. We've worked twice as hard, twice the hours and make a third the pay for quite long enough. Entitled is an understatement. Screw you guys. Welcome to reality. Maybe it's time to cross over to the BOH and get your hands dirty cooking the food that has made you your fat tips of which you've grown so accustomed and don't share (willingly). It's not all about you anymore. Pipe down and shut the fuck up.
76
@74:

Seriously doubt that - I rarely salt my own food, let alone render infertile vast swaths of agricultural land...
77
I wish tipping in restaurants was more like tipping in coffeehouses. Rather than it being standard to tip 15-20% of the bill for decent service, a sort of tipping on which the wait staff depend, tips should be a gesture of appreciation, a dropping-a-few-dollars-in-the-jar sort of thing. And yes, the difference should be made up by raising menu prices and then paying waitstaff just like any other sort of hourly employee.
78
$15 an hour, 10% standard tips, and tips are tax free.
79
To all of you who plan to stop tipping or tipping considerably less than 20%, and don't care if service is any good; I'm totally cool with that. I assume you'll be letting me know that when you sit down at the table, right?

The problem is that none of you proudly announce your plan not to tip in person, you will allow me to provide flawless service, cater to your needs and wants, and then passive aggressively let me know on the tip line that you're taking a stand against me being able to make rent and pay off my student loans.

If you don't want to tip me, don't. Just don't be a chickenshit, and let me know from the get go. I'll make sure to give you exactly what you're paying for. I'll take your order, drop your food, drop your check, and won't waste my time with personal interaction with you.

80
"In order to better compensate their lowest-paid employees, restaurant owners could accept lower profit margins." What kind of inane comment is that? Unless they are part of a national chain like Applebee's, the profit margins for most restaurants are razor thin. Nobody goes into the restaurant business with dreams of striking it rich, and with smaller - or possibly negative - profit margins, even fewer will. Enjoy your TGI Fridays, Seattle!