Tom Douglas Announces He'll Eliminate Tipping and Raise Wages to $15 an Hour on February 1

Comments

1
20 fucking percent! Yeah, I'll never eat at one of his places again. No thank you.
2
Whatever. The service is always better in real restaurants with tipping. But if people like that kind of thing, by all means, enjoy your hotel banquet-style service.
3
@1 - if you weren't tipping 20% already, none of those places want you there.
4
Tipping sucks anyway. I'd happily pay a flat fee. If I get bad service, a word to the manager would be more powerful than a lower tip anyway.
5
I imagine they'll be hemorrhaging waiters soon.
6
Yeah, fuck you Tom Douglas. How much of that 20% "service charge" is going to be given to the wait staff, and how much is going to be used for their base wage and "benefits"?

I know a shell game scam when I see it, and fuck you Tom Douglas. Didn't you already raise your prices to pay for the minimum wage up to $15?
7
@5 But he'll have a line out the door for dishwashers! Though I guess both of theses depend on how he distributes that 20%. (as a busboy in high school I probably made 10% of what the waitstaff went home with - they'd walk around distributing money at the end of each shift).
8
So where's the incentive, and fun, in being a great waiter - helping your party pick out the wine that is just right, and having them reward you with a great tip?

Now its forced on you, whether the service is great, fair, or poor. There will be less incentive to try out new places.
9
I happily tip 20% because I know it's hard work and involves being nice to lots of shitty people with outsized senses of entitlement, just like any other public service job that deals with drunks and the socially impaired. But the sooner the restaurant industry climbs out of the sordid demi-monde described by the Bourdains and Dublenicas, the sooner we can get a handle on the true market value of food and drink and the hard-working folk who make and serve it. Right now, it's a capitalist America writ small wherein a few ambitious cut-throats get rich while almost everyone else struggles to get within viewing distance of a living wage. If workers can't predict their next paycheck, it's pretty fucking hard to plan ahead.
11
@8 Service quality accounts for about 4% of…. For comparison, leaving a piece of candy with your check increases tips 21%. Of course most of your tip comes from the customer's normal patterns of tipping - a 20% tipper will likely tip you 20%.

If you feel there's such a strong correlation between service quality and tips, then I assume you tip your doctor?
12
Weird - SLOG lopped of the end of my first sentence. Service quality accounts for about 4% of your tips.
13
The Misanthrope: 100% goes to employees
14
@13 That says in the form of wages, commissions, and benefits. For all he says, 75% could be the $15/hr, 20% could be for benefits, including sick time, and 5% will be for commission. Meanwhile, he's now pocketing the full price of your food and drink.
15
new advertising push, "At Tom Douglas, Tipping IS just a city in China!"
16
@8 No, now if you have lousy service you notify management, just like all other customer service jobs. Or wait, you go around tipping everyone whose job is in part to be nice to you?
17
@8 i could care less if my waiter is having 'fun' - and most normal people will answer a question correctly if they know the answer. so i'm sure i will still get a good wine suggestion if i ask.

I went to Ivars on northlake this sunday eve. no tipping. the waiter was polite, non-intrusive, and all of food appeared on-time, as ordered.

he wasnt fawing all over himself like a fool trying to cater to my every whim or rushing to clear a table to get another sitting in like a douche.

seriously - can we only have a good meal if the server is jizzing all over themselves making innane chatter? just do your job, i'll be fine. i welcome the change.
18
@11 is a total non sequitur.
19
@18 "Now its forced on you, whether the service is great, fair, or poor." Is the "it" you're referring to a service fee? My point was that only only 4% of your tip is based on level of service anyway.

"where's the incentive, and fun, in being a great waiter" The same place it is in being a great architect, a great teacher, a great astronaut, hell a great sign spinner.
20
@3: I know I'm cheap, but the "standard" tip escalation to 20% was a communal response to the perceived unfairness of waitstaff wages, which are often below minimum wage nationally. standard tip was, and remains, 15%. above that is appreciation for superior service.

seattle waitstaff, however, have been at the highest minimum wage in the nation BEFORE the $15/hour min. wage increase. no one here was making $2/hour before tips.

remember, you tip on the pre-tax total, to which is already added 10%. $10 cost = $11 w/ tax, $12.50 with standard tip, $13 is 20% tip.

21
@18: No, should every service job use tipping? Otherwise how will you be able to give the proper feedback about how the service was? In addition, most people don't vary their tips much for service level, if at all, so this isn't something which happens now.
22
I love all these upper-end restaurants eliminating tipping as a reaction to an enforced living wage. Yeah, and that 20% service charge going to the staff? I want to see the books.
23
Tipping does not provide the magical feedback the "incentive to provide good service" crowd thinks it does. Leaving a shitty tip basically never sends the message "you would get a better tip if you gave better service," it sends one of the following messages:



* I am a cheapskate

* I'm in a bad mood

* The food sucked

* I hated my table

* I am bad at math

* I saw another employee being rude/unsanitary/whatever and wanted to register my disgust

* I have unrealistically high expectations about what constitutes 'good service'

* You aren't very attractive and I'm a dick that way

* Someone walked off with the cash I left at the table

* maybe, just maybe, you provided bad service


There are so many ways in which the server can tell themselves that a bad tip is not their fault. How often do you think a server gets a bad tip and thinks, "hey, I should really up my game" as opposed to "what an asshole"?

Down with tips.
24
@5 No, Dan. As a waiter myself, we want this change. Waiters in Seattle wanted to work for Tom Douglas before, and this creates even more incentive. I hate the part of my job that feels like my emotions are commodity. I want to be happy at work, and I want to be nice to the guests I serve, but not because they buy me out. Tipping creates a culture of servitude, not service.

Furthermore, this idea that front of house employees are not invested in a cultural shift that attempts to equalize pay between front and back of house is complete bull shit. For many of us working in hospitality, the kitchen is our family. We want to see them presented with the same financial opportunities.
25
#24, you are most certainly the exception in the tipped employee world and not the rule. Sure, front of house (i.e. tipped employees) are very much invested in attempts to equalize pay between them and the kitchen staff. However, the thought that everyone is thinking "Oh yeah, we make too much money in tips. Owners should take control of it and divide it up so that I make way less and they make way more" is horseshit. Most servers and bartenders are quite happy with working for tips AND are happy with the great hourly wage they already receive. They weren't asking for $12 or $13 or $15/hour because they knew that restaurant owners were going to come up with policies like this and the cost of the high wage was going to come out of their pockets.

As a matter of fact, when the minimum wage plan was being debated, the only organized effort on behalf of tipped employees was actually do get the city to acknowledge tips in some way. If the city would have just come up with a plan that did so while still providing better protections for tipped employees (through the beefed up OCR), kitchen staffs could have gotten the raise they need and deserve FASTER and restaurant owners wouldn't have been driven to come up with things like service charge to meet the demands of this ridiculous minimum wage plan.
26
I tip 20% even when I get not-great service, because I know I took the time of a person who isn't paid a good hourly wage. But like #23 said, they don't know that when I sit down. I prefer going to a place where I know the staff is being paid well and I don't need to tip to make up the difference.

27
"Hinckley says the new system of commissions and revenue sharing "will be scrutinized daily and adjusted to the best of our abilities to keep everyone close to their historic earning averages.".....so, staff will earn the same amount? This is a brilliant business move. Average tips can't be 20%, at best18%. Total guess, though. So they increase food prices, charge us 20% service fee and aim to keep all their employees at the same income as before?
28
Just was at a restaurant in SF, Trau Normand, who tried this. They went back to the regular system when they found they couldn't keep employees. It's a BAD deal for service workers in metropolitan areas.
29
It's basically Tom using the tip money to raise pay at the probable expense of the servers. Maybe the servers are fine with it, maybe not. But that's what it is.

$100 guest check = ~$18 tip, server probably used to keep $12-15 of it (tip out the busboy/front desk/expo). Now $100 check gets $20, but it is spread among maybe 2-3x as many people.

Tom seems to be a great employer, and they have some of the best benefits of any restaurant job, but I would imagine most servers are doing the math and deciding if benefits are worth the pay change. Otherwise, why not move to a similar priced restaurant and keep getting your 15-20% sales + hourly.

I don't mind the 20% automatic gratuity (I would actually like it better if they just had the price of the dish listed at the final cost, rather than tag the 20% on at the end of the night), but it's incredibly difficult for one restaurant (or restaurateur) to change an industry, especially when waiting tables is a pretty easy job to hop from one to the other.
30
Why is the burden of a mandatory wage increase on the backs of servers and patrons? How come no one has questioned The Tom Douglas "Empire" on why he keeps expanding and remolding but cries at a wage increase? He claims he can't "afford" to pay his staff, yet he opened 2 new restaurants and remolded others throughout this wage increase process?!! How come he hasn't giving specifics on how that 20% charge he asks of us is REALLY being utilized and how much are HIS losses now?! I love going out to eat, the experiences I have had are all so different. I don't mind paying for my food, even with the price increase..in fact that is where the kitchen staff should get their wage increase! Tips should be for the person that executed my over all experience! I do not want to go out and pay too much for food (as it is now) and have an "order taker"! I want the passionate and the experienced server, one that makes me forget that I paid way to much for my food!!! Buck up Tom... You chose to build your empire and you are fortunate to have a very devoted and educated team that helped you get there... Don't shit on them!
31
Why don't you fools questioning Tom Douglas instead question why an artificial price increase that is mandated by a stupid government is forcing all of this to happen? What, you idiots think money grows on trees? So you can just double the minimum wage and magic money falls out of the ass of the entrepreneur to pay for it?

Didn't you fools learn anything from the 70's and playing with gas prices (fixing a ceiling) - why do you think the economics will work any differently on this?