What Do Servers Think Of The “No Tipping” Trend? We Asked Them…

When I was 22, I briefly waitressed at an overpriced restaurant in TIMES SQUARE. It was the most abusive work environment I’ve ever experienced. The chef was cruel. The manager screamed to the point of sobbing on a daily basis. The waitstaff was scared; our hands shook when we brought out food and drinks. I had to wear a tie. A tie! And on top of everything, the tips sucked butts.

Our tips were low because we our customers were tourists from all over the world, tourists who aren’t used to plunking down an extra 20 percent on a meal. And I get that. But as a broke 22-year-old, I felt like an angry, worthless blob, and NOT in a sexy way.

But now, more and more restaurants are adopting a No Tipping policy. Instead of relying on tips, the restaurant hikes menu prices, and spreads the extra revenue among the entire staff, kitchen, managers, and busboys. (I’m all for being gender neutral, but “bus people” sounds weird.) So what do other servers think of this growing trend? Much to my 22-year-old self’s surprise, THEY DESPISE IT:

Elliot Engel, San Francisco, CA: “Almost every restaurant that has tried it in San Francisco has had to go back on it because their best servers quit. I’ve received terrible service at a Michelin starred restaurant that included tips. Because everyone got paid the same, no one took responsibility for my table. The server who took our order was cut fifteen minutes later and we never saw him again. That situation would only happen in a tip less restaurant. Fuck that. I serve and enjoy good service, you’ll see the erosion of what that means without tipping.”
Abigail Noy, NYC: “I’m a current waitress who prefers tipping! There’s something more satisfying about getting something extra from the customer, something that isn’t just included in your paycheck. Obviously it sucks when someone tips poorly, but for the most part, people are pretty decent. Plus, when someone surprises you with a super nice tip, it feels fucking awesome.”

Michaela Dinger, Cincinnati, OH: “Absolutely hate the trend. It puts a cap on how much I can potentially make in a night, and would make me not want to work as hard if I knew my paycheck would basically be the same every time.”

Paul Julmeus, Miami, FL:  “The awesome thing about being a waiter is the thrill of having a good night with tips, but it also feels like shit what you’re making $5 an hour and you have to do B.S. work the whole time and you leave with $25.  … I think the minimum is really low and that’s a problem, but also I don’t know if I trust a restaurant to just pay wages for some reason.”

Theresa DeGaetano, NYC: “What is the incentive to go above and beyond for a table? Everyone is getting paid the same thing. I think that the minimum for servers should be higher then the $5.40 I was getting an hour, but I did very well. … In places that are touristy like Time Square I can understand the need for a flat wage, but that is a risk of working in a tourist trap. If they add an additional to 18% to every check that would be a solution. I was an NYC waitress for the last 8 years. I stand by my motto, ‘If you can’t afford to tip you can’t afford to go out.'”

Robyn Pennacchia, Rochester, NY and Chicago, IL: “One place I worked, I had a guy come in and leave an ‘I don’t tip, but I appreciate your service,’ card as a tip … AND had the gall to come back. To this day I resent him. But just like I wouldn’t ever work non-commission retail again, I wouldn’t work a server job for a flat fee. The hassle would not be worth it.”

Cate Weinber, NYC: “I like things the way they are. I think I’d lose money if they got rid of tips and increased the wage. … I don’t know if restaurant owners would be able to afford to pay all their servers. They’d probably have to get rid of servers so restaurants would be understaffed and servers would then have to work harder for less money.”
S.H., Chicago, IL, Dallas, TX and NYC: “I waited tables on and off for about 10 years—from high school into my mid-twenties. When I heard this proposal I thought I would quit if I were a waitress now. The min wage is soooo low so even a little more than min wage would not be worth the time. You are on your feet for 8 hours dealing with all kinds of people—some good, some bad, some repulsive, but all tip. On one hand, I can see how knowing what you will make in a given shift would be nice, but I think waiting tables can be lucrative if you are good at it, and it’s all cash with no wait for a paycheck.”
Dude, do all servers hate this except the 22-year-old version of me? Is this only good for the kitchen staff and bus … people? Any servers out there want to add their voice to the comments?