Home » Chop Suey » [CONCEPT] Eliminating Tipping at Restaurants

[CONCEPT] Eliminating Tipping at Restaurants

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restaurant-tip Would you be more apt to dine again at a restaurant that has a “No Tipping” policy? I can think of a few reasons why that may sway my decision. And a few reasons why it might not be a good policy. As if you didn’t know, waiters (using waiter gender neutrally) typically receive below minimum wage salaries and are dependent upon tips for a majority of their take home pay. As a result, they’re incented to provide excellent service in HOPES of receiving the largest possible tip.

However, there’s no guarantee they will receive a tip commensurate with their services. Some people just tip a fixed percentage regardless of service. In some restaurants all the tips are pooled. So, there’s really no incentive for a waiter to go above and beyond the norm. Waiters are also “supposed” to give a percentage of their tips to the bus boys (again, using “boys” in the non-gender specific way).

What is a tip? Legend has it that it’s an acronym. T.I.P. To Insure Promptness. But, we tip AFTER the fact. Waiters don’t know the size of their tip upfront. How does that insure promptness to excellent service?


What would you think if a restaurant started advertising that they have a no tipping policy? Waiters would (should) receive a higher salary. Bus boys as well. Patrons wouldn’t feel that they HAD to reward service for service that should be provided. A diner doesn’t expect to have to go to the kitchen to place their order, nor return there to pick up there food. Or, except in the case of Panera Bread, be expected to clear their table, throw out their garbage, and separate the trays, bowls, glasses, and flatware. So, we recognize that a restaurant NEEDS waiters and busboys.

Good restaurants WANT to stand out from their competition. And one way to do that is by providing exceptional customer service, which starts with a courteous and knowledgeable wait staff. How would restaurants attract good help if there was no bonus incentive to them to provide excellent customer service? Give them HIGHER pay and merit based rewards. If they don’t perform well, they would lose their jobs. Competition for these jobs would be fierce, and everyone would be the winner. The restaurant. The staff. The customers. Win. Win. Win.

Let’s summarize:

Pro’s of a No-Tipping Policy

  • no-tipping-policyTipping makes many people feel uncomfortable. Customer’s won’t feel obligated to lay out more than what’s on their bill.
  • Restaurants will be able to more easily share revenue between their staff in the front of the restaurant and those in the back.
  • Waiters, etc., will (read that as “should”) receive higher wages.
  • It sets a precedent that good customer service is EXPECTED.  It shouldn’t be earned.  They earn YOUR business by your patronage.

Con’s of a No-Tipping Policy

  • tip-your-waitressNo extra incentive for the wait staff to be extra courteous
  • There would be an adjustment period. People might still “want” to tip.
  • It’s not the norm. Change engenders fear. Customers might feel awkward and decide NOT to dine at the restaurant, because they don’t know how to act.
  • It could lead to more customer service complaints.
  • Some people LIKE to tip. It makes them feel like big shots.

Tipping in a restaurant is counter-intuitive. It’s AFTER the fact. It doesn’t insure good service. It’s a subject reward for it. If you tipped up front, it still doesn’t guarantee good service. There’s just no good justification for keeping this age old tradition. Or, is there?

What are your thoughts? Which would you prefer? We welcome your feedback in the poll and in the comments below.

[polldaddy poll=8948100]

Humbly submitted for your consumption,

Mee Magnum (“Chop! Chop!”)


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  1. Hmm… with the voting so askew and less than 10% voting that restaurants should institute a no-tipping policy, Mee wonders what led those voters to cast their vote that way.

    What say you?

  2. On board cruise ships there is a 15% or 18% tip tax. Service is good. The waiters are unable to leave (too much water) but some have jumped ship in port.

    Service is usually good, but I tend to find that the food is barely warm. I send it back. This gets the attention of the floor ‘captain’ and things get markedly better.

    Certain Chinese restaurants, here and in NYC, do not serve very warm food. Sending it back is a waste, but if it is soup we have succeeded.

    • LOL! I didn’t know that there was tipping on cruise ships. Of course, I have only cruised once… and that was many years ago. It was the best vacation of my life. I also don’t remember them having Chinese food on board.

      Perhaps someone will take The Chinese Quest with them the next time they go on a cruise!

  3. Restaurants would have to raise prices to achieve this, so there would be little gain to customers, and only mediocre waiters at unbusy places would probably benefit. I don’t think it wise!

  4. In some countries, no tipping is the norm, but they also add a service charge onto the bill, which is essentially the tip. I like to reward service provided. If I have a good attentive waiter, I reward accordingly. If the service is poor, the tip is also. I think if restaurants eliminated the tip, they would have to raise the cost of the food in order to provide a decent wage to the staff. Many restaurants also include a suggested tip amount on the bill for 12 to 20 % and inform the diner of what the percentage of their bill equals so they don’t have to figure it out. It’s not required to tip, but if I get good service, I do tip. I know what it’s like to try to live on wait staff wages.

    • Good points Rene! I always thought it a little presumptuous when restaurants show suggested tips on the bill. But, I guess for those who can’t figure it out it does give them a good guideline.

  5. You make excellent points that sway me either way, but I think the argument is strongest to keep things as they are.


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