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Should restaurants abolish tipping?

Would you like to tip with discretion, or would you like a mandatory 12% added to your bill.

restaurant tipping ban

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 malarkey.

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


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