The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 3 of 115

4  /  the tasting panel  /  may 2015 LETTER FROM THE EDITOR IN CHIEF The Tipping Point San Francisco has always been at the forefront of restaurant innovation, so it's no surprise that the Bay Area is taking the lead in thinking about tipping, and whether and how the practice should change. A number of local places have raised their prices by about 20% and declared "service is included" on the check, making use of a system that has been employed in France for years. Another SF menu says: "We do not accept tips. The menu price is all inclusive." There are various reasons for re-examining tipping. Changes in minimum wage requirements, as well as a desire to equalize compensation between back-of-the- house personnel and service staff have been motivating factors. Also, the growing perception that tipping has become an anachronistic and outmoded practice seems to be taking hold. What other business uses this compensa- tion model? None that I can think of. Other approaches to this issue are: adding a flat "service charge" per diner (usually $6 to $10); adding a smaller service charge and then leaving a tip line on the bill; or just letting things remain as they have been. The issues to consider are: Is tipping intrinsically unfair since it rewards service personnel and ignores back of the house kitchen staff? How can cooks share in the economic bounty that tips might afford? Are tips truly a bonus for good service? If there is no tip, how does the customer register his/her dissatisfaction with a bad server? And how does he/she reward excellent service? These are questions that every restaurateur needs to confront. The answers will vary according to the specifics of each situation, particularly local minimum wage regula- tions and the structure of each individual business. These are important issues that eventually must be confronted by the restaurateur and dealt with in a sensible and defini- tive way. Staying out of the debate is a head-in-the-sand approach that no operator can afford. Tipping policy is a game changer. Dealing with it is crucial to every restaurant. Don't ignore it. —Anthony Dias Blue

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - May 2015