Tipping seems to be so automatic now. I recently took a cab in New York City and when I paid with my credit card, the screen had already calculated how much a gratuity of 10 or 20% might be. And when I traveled through England, I noticed that service was typically already included in the bill.
But tipping culture might soon be changing. Some restaurants, including those owned by NYC restaurateur Danny Meyer, are beginning to adopt a no-tipping policy. Instead, the menu prices are increased, so diners pay more for their meal. That money is then used to give restaurant staff higher wages.
For an employee, it means that they are more or less guaranteed a set wage that isn’t dependent on a customer’s mood or sense of generosity, or how busy the restaurant is during a shift. For a customer, it means less guesswork over how to compensate a server, but also less control. There’s no rewarding an especially wonderful server, just as bad service has no effect on the outcome of the bill.
Presumably, this approach gives staff more security – always a good thing – but perhaps less incentive to go above and beyond. It’s also worth considering that many professions don’t rely on merit-based tips. Is it unfair for servers, baristas, and delivery drivers to have to rely on tips rather than a standard living wage? What do you think?