It's a ballsy idea to rally behind a mandatory 25 percent tip, but that's just what some restaurant workers in San Francisco are doing. The reasoning these standard tip supporters give is simply this: Customers, on average tip between 15 percent and 20 percent, but the restaurant worker actually has to claim 15 percent of that to the IRS. How in the world are they supposed to make any money?
That makes perfect sense to me. Of course, I have my own reasons for thinking a mandatory 25 percent tip is a brilliant idea -- and they have everything to do with the fact that I myself am a former restaurant worker.
My first point is directed at all those people who say that if servers know they will automatically be receiving a 25 percent tip, they'll slack off and won't do a good job. You know what I think of this argument? It's total BS. Yes, at every place restaurant -- just like every other place of employment -- there are some slackers in the bunch. (Those you complain about to management.) But most servers value their work and do a good job regardless of pay. And if this hasn't been your experience, then I'm sorry, but you're going to the wrong restaurants.
Moreover, if a restaurant's policy is that its workers receive a standard 25 percent gratuity, you can bet your life that the creme de la creme of the food industry workers will be beating down the door to work there. In other words, crappy servers will be totally replaceable -- there's no need to keep them around.
Of course, the best part of a mandatory 25 percent tip is that it will weed out the bad customers. Think about it: Those entitled diners who like to brag that they only tip 10 percent because tips are voluntary and blah blah blah will be so pissed off they'll avoid places that require mandatory gratuity. So who's left? The people who appreciate good food and service and respect that -- like all good things -- it comes at a price.
Because at the end of the day, guess what? If you have enough money to eat out at a nice restaurant, then you have enough money to pay your server fairly. Otherwise, I'm sure McDonald's has a nice booth for you.
Image via Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr