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Service Charge Versus Tipping



One of the issues being debated as restaurateurs start welcoming back staff and guests is if now is the time to eliminate tipping and implement a flat service charge that will compensate both front and back-of-the-house employees. Eliminating tipping is a hot button for many in the industry. Feedback we've received from servers when the subject is brought up is a resounding "No." Receiving a tip, one server said, is her motivation for good service. 

Timothy McKenna, director of operations for Mill Valley Kitchen and Benedicts, said that when he switched to a zero-tipping “European model: “I lost a lot of good people.” The reason is that while servers could earn the same amount under the new pay structure, they had to work more hours to do so. 

Receiving a salary, proponents of the no-tipping model say, puts the restaurant industry's pay structure on the same page as other professions where you are paid for the hours you work. Of course, the downside is that for servers who rely on restaurant shifts to supplement their other paychecks, the flexibility of working just a few lucrative hours won't provide the same income. 

Let us know your thoughts by emailing nancyw@foodservicenews.net.   

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