Would you like to tip with discretion, or would you like a mandatory 12% added to your bill.
A few years ago a trend started in some
London restaurants whereby the patrons were left to decide what their meals
were worth. Yes, you heard right.
You could go into these restaurants, eat and
drink to your heart’s content and then decide what you wanted to pay. You
would receive no bill.
It may have worked for a
while in the top-end eateries of the English mindset as some of these restaurants reported patrons 'overpaying' for their meals. I don't however see this style of eating taking off in the South African context, or at a working man’s greasy spoon on that side of the pond.
Went out of business
It did seem a bit of a fad and a
quick Internet search reveals that most of these places either changed policy,
or went out of business.
It is with great interest thus, that I read
about Sushi Yasuda in New York 'banning' tipping. Another fad? Or just
mathematics done behind closed doors? They are certainly not the first
restaurant to adopt this practise.
It is the comments to articles on tipping
that reveal most about our own attitudes towards the gratuity.
It seems current
waiting staff and all those who have experience working as waitrons are all for
tipping. But there is a large chunk of patrons who believe that restaurateurs
should pay the serving staff their wages and be done with this tipping
Who should pay?
All good and well. But there seems to be
some confusion as to how this would work. The general comment is that it should
be the restaurants obligation to pay their staff and not the patrons. Good.
Now for brevity’s sake let us for the
purposes of this article ignore the effect, if any, it would have on the
service you receive, but concentrate on the consequences to your wallet. This
seems to be the starting point of all these ill-informed comments.
The question is not, would you prefer to
tip with discretion, or leave it to the restaurant to pay their own wages. The
question is, in fact, would you like to tip with discretion, or would you like
a mandatory 12% added to your bill.
Because whether the mandatory tip is
reported on your bill, or not, rest assured it is there. And in the absence of
it appearing on your bill you are giving restaurateurs more leeway to fiddle
prices, rake administration fees off the wages of waitrons, and ultimately hold
the price of your fillet steak ransom to paying their staff.
Follow JD Haasbroek, a freelance writer, on twitter: @JDHaasbroek
What is your opinion on this restaurant religion?
By: JD Haasbroek