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The One Argument Against Tipping That Actually Makes Sense (VIDEO)

by Adriana Velez on January 7, 2013 at 5:52 PM

waitressWhen it comes to tipping, there's the decent people who do it, and the jerks who don't. Right? I mean, we all have our own reasons for tipping at restaurants, but they all pretty much amount to the same thing: It's the "right" thing to do. But what if it's not? What if it turns out that tipping is (gulp!) unfair?!?

A former restaurant owner says we need to totally rethink tipping. Bruce McAdams has done just about every job you can do at a restaurant: He's cooked, waited tables, bussed, managed, and owned them. And after years of experience, he's concluded that tipping is just plain unfair. And you know what? His argument makes sense.

If you have time, McAdams' whole TEDx Talk is thought-provoking. But one of the main points he makes is that tipping is unfair to the cooks and everyone else working at a restaurant besides the servers. When you factor in tips, servers make WAY more than cooks do. And a lot of those cooks spend years and tens of thousands of dollars at cooking school. They work just as hard. But they make peanuts compared to the waiters.

More from The Stir: Waitresses Who Wear Red Score Bigger Tips From Men

So what -- should we be tipping the cooks, too? McAdams doesn't really offer solutions for solving this. But he does mention that some restaurants actually collect the tips and divide them evenly among the entire restaurant staff. So there's an idea! Would you tip differently if you knew your tips would be shared with the dishwasher?

Eh, probably not. Here's the other thing McAdams says -- study after study proves that except in extreme cases, we don't tip based on performance, anyway. Most of us tip based on whatever we usually tip.

So what's the point?!? What if we said "no more tipping!" and just raised everyone's restaurant bill by 15 to 20 percent? Then the owner could decide where all the money goes, hopefully fairly -- ugh, if only restaurant profit margins weren't so teeny. But that's probably never going to happen. Still, I will ponder this the next time I eat out ... just before I sign my name under that same tip I give every damn time no matter what the service was like.

Do you think tipping is unfair to the rest of the restaurant staff?

 

Image via bradleyolin/Flickr

Filed Under: eating out, restaurants

Comments

60
  • names...
    --

    namestaken

    January 7, 2013 at 6:02 PM
    Yeah except cooks make at least minimum wage. Waitresses might make $3 an hour. Plus i don't think people tip as well as you think they do. Also people are jerks and tend to not tip if there is a problem with the food. Not cooked well or took to long to get out...these are often cook issues, but the waitresses get docked. Just throw down a few bucks and be done with it.
  • jalaz77
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    jalaz77

    January 7, 2013 at 6:08 PM
    The cooks I worked with made $6-7/hr and worked 30-40hrs/wk. When I waited tables in school I made $3/hr and usually worked 20-30hrs/wk. I had 10% of my tips taken out every night for the bartender (who made minimum wage AND got their own tips) and host/hostess (who also made min wage). What establishment would he be talking about?? The bad thing about splitting tips is I was the one getting yelled at, I was the one getting stiffed if a drink or food wasn't prepared to their liking or if it took too long to prepare....so no I disagree. Pay everyone min wage would be the only solution and take away tips. I don't feel bad for a chef when they spend all that money on school. What chef EVER starts where they want, you have to prove yourself. Gotta think about that when you make a career choice.
  • Rhond...
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    RhondaVeggie

    January 7, 2013 at 6:18 PM
    I tip according to service. Usually I do about 20% but for poor service it's about 10% and I've tipped up to 100% for really amazing service. A waitress who really goes above and beyond is well compensated by me but if you clearly don't care then I don't really care to tip you much. Case in point, we were at Ruby Tuesday this weekend and the waitress clearly had no interest in our table. As soon as I ordered a water to drink she wrote us off as cheapskates apparently. Spent as little time as possible with us and when we finished our meal she dropped off the bill instead of asking if we wanted dessert. It wasn't that she was too busy, she spent far more time at the other two tables in her area because they were ordering expensive meals and alcoholic drinks. Obviously she expected a low tip from us and I'd hate to disappoint so I left a $3 tip (just over 10%) instead of the $8-10 I would usually leave for an order like that.
  • Kayla...
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    KaylaMillar

    January 7, 2013 at 6:29 PM
    I was a waitress and we honestly didnt get paid enough. Out of tips we had to tip out every shift to hostess, food runners and bus boys. They took 15% of tips.
  • Cynthia
    -- Nonmember comment from

    Cynthia

    January 7, 2013 at 6:33 PM
    I have to say that I only tip when I feel it is earned, and where we live, everyone makes minimum wage or up which starts over $10/hour! I have several family/friends who are trained chefs who've left the industry because they couldn't make ends meet when the waitresses would all be getting the tips!
  • Mom2f...
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    Mom2fourlove

    January 7, 2013 at 6:33 PM
    Where I live waitresses get paid min wage or more plus tips and tips are split evenly. Bad service no tip.
  • mleil...
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    mleilanim

    January 7, 2013 at 6:35 PM
    Unless were talking about Berns or Ruth Chris, cooks did not go to years of culinary school to work at Hooters or Chilis & those are the type of restaurants inundated in the field. A completely different type of service. I disagree here. Tipping out to all these other areas is whats unfair.
  • rubst...
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    rubster87

    January 7, 2013 at 6:39 PM
    While I worked as a server in high school, we didn't even get minimum wage. Everyone else at least got a salary - where we only walked away with tip money. This person obviously has a very limited view of what goes on in the industry.
  • tuffy...
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    tuffymama

    January 7, 2013 at 6:47 PM
    This guy has a narrow scope. I can't say it better than it has been said by the above commenters. If you don't wanna tip, stay the hell home and eat a sandwich.
  • belon...
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    belongs2Jesus

    January 7, 2013 at 6:54 PM

    tipping was originally a way for the customers to say job well done. But many greedy bosses have decided that tipping needs to the servers way of support. 


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