Should Servers Be Tipped or Salaried Once Restaurants Reopen?
Should all restaurant workers, from front-of-house to servers to cooks, be given a salary instead of tips? Here are reasons for consideration.
I have been speaking with many of my friends in the restaurant business who say that dining out may have to look a lot different once everything reopens for business. One question being floated is if the industry should use the reopening of the restaurant business as a time to institute making all restaurant workers salaried or hourly employees instead of using an arguably antiquated tipping system for servers.
Here is some of their reasoning:
1. The kitchen crew works just as hard (harder, most would say) than the servers, under sometimes uncomfortable conditions (the sheer heat alone of their proximity to burners and ovens) to send out the delicious food that you are eating, yet they don't get tipped.
2. The wait staff may not make as much tip money in the future if seating in restaurants has to be drastically decreased due to social distancing rules.
3. Tipping in general, while great for those who are friendly and really good at waiting tables, is considered by some to be antiquated and even sexist/old school since they feel some servers get tipped more than others simply due to their looks or how well they flirt.
4. It would be beneficial to servers to know exactly how much money they will make each week/month as opposed to the challenge of budgeting when tip money can vary from day to day.
5. Let's face it, not every customer tips properly and isn't required, legally, to do so.
6. With restaurants probably having to raise prices in order to survive (especially if they have to open with less tables), the prices (including the salary for the staff) should be set not only so that the owners know what their costs are and the workers know exactly how much they will take home, but so that diners understand the value of what they are paying for.
7. If Take-Out stays as popular as it has become during the pandemic, servers might not make as much if they have to rely on tips.
What are your thoughts on this?
I know that for some really lucky waiters and waitresses who are great at their jobs and happen to work at popular Jersey Shore restaurants, they know they can make a crapload of cash. So getting paid a salary instead of earning tips could hurt their chances of making the kind of money they once did.
I also wonder if, as diners, we could ever truly break the pattern of tipping at the end of a meal where the service was good, simply because of the guilt of not showing our server how pleased we were.
I do know one thing for sure: I miss dining out and it pains me to think about how our restaurant industry is suffering. I pray for local businesses to be able to reopen and prosper once this pandemic ends.
I discussed the above ideas with many of my restaurant owner friends after reading this article.