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How far will the no-tipping policy go?

The big tipping debate continues...

by: Chanté Felix | 06 Sep 2016
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The no-tipping policy in the USA is spreading rapidly with more and more restaurants adopting it. Prominent restaurants have abandoned the tipping system altogether and to compensate for it, menu items have been lifted by 20%. Waiters now get an hourly wage and a share of the revenue. 

By increasing the menu item prices, restaurateurs have found a sneaky way of making sure that the waiters’ tips are always included into your bill. Obviously this wouldn’t go down well with customers if the service is bad.

READ: How restaurants secretly get you to spend more

Understandably, there are very mixed emotions around this system.  The upside is that it provides a solution for behind-the-scene workers like cooks and scullers, who now earn a higher salary.  Do you think something like this would work in SA?

Often waiters use the potential promise of a tip as motivation for good service, but what happens when their tip is a guaranteed 20%? In South Africa some restaurants add an automatic service fee for tables of 8 or more. Depending on the restaurant, this service fee (either 10 – 15%) will either be given to the waiter, used for breakages or be split between the staff. Often guests end up paying double because restaurants neglect to highlight the fact that a service fee has already been added or the guest just doesn’t read the fine print. 

WATCH: Why tipping should be banned

Tipping has been customary for many years and The Guardian reported that a few USA restaurants that adopted the no-tipping policy initially have already gone back and reinstated it. Evidently it wasn’t working as well as intended and staff and customers began to express their dissatisfaction by leaving.

According to Wendy Alberts of the Restaurant Association of South Africa, “There’s no such thing as a compulsory tip.” You are allowed to refuse to pay the service fee and then tip your waiter as you see fit, considering the fact that 10% is the norm.  

This is quite a consolation, because when a service fee is added to the total amount of your bill, it feels like you don’t have a choice but to pay the full amount, whereas you might have wanted to tip your waiter less due to inefficient service. 

We’d like to know what your thoughts are on the no-tipping policy or tipping at a restaurant in general. Share your comments below!

- Chante Felix

Read more on: usa  |  bars  |  tips  |  restaurants

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