Thursday, 14 April 2016


From Jay Rayner in the Guardian

The naysayers argue that without tips we have no way of showing our approval or disapproval. Not true. We could show our disapproval exactly as we do now: by never visiting the restaurant again.

And how do you know who caused the problem? You've now created work for the manager. He has to now monitor his staff for performance with video recording and watching it and so forth to see who does an excellent job and who sneers at the customers. Unless you get a complaint (and you frequently don't with restaurants) you don't know which waiter caused the problem.

Tipping works because it does that job for you. A bad waiter doesn't get a tip. A good waiter does. Bad waiters quit and do another job.

A lot of jobs don't run on tips or commission and that's because they're more complicated than that. I've worked in places that tried to do bonuses for software bugs, and they ended up getting gamed - people would do the quickest, nastiest fixes just to tick off a bug.


Bayard said...

"Unless you get a complaint (and you frequently don't with restaurants) you don't know which waiter caused the problem."

Unfortunately, the British dislike of complaining is such that people will leave a tip and then show their disapproval in the traditional way.

In my limited experience, you have to be pretty annoyed with the level of service of the waiter not to leave a tip, but not very unenamoured with the restaurant as a whole never to go there again. After all, poor food and high prices are nothing to do with the waiter.

IMHO, tipping doesn't really work in restaurants in Britain. Tips should be a reward for good service, as they are elsewhere, not the lack of a tip a punishment for bad and then there is the stupidity of "servis compris".

Striebs said...

The satisfaction/dissatisfaction is surely at least as likely to be caused by what happens in the kitchen .

If the waiter/waitress is allowed to pocket the tip , it will have no effect on the source of the satisfaction/dissatisfaction .

In many restaurants it is expected that the tips are pooled and shared out between waiting , kitchen and other staff . I believe they call it a "tonc" .

The argument that the supposed higher basic rate of staff in the engine room means they should not get a share of tips doesn't cut it with me .

Maybe the answer is that the waiter should get a fixed percentage of the tips for the tables they service and the kitchen staff the remainder .

mombers said...

If tips were abolished, I'm sure people would be more proactive with complaining if service wasn't good. I make a point of doing so if this is the case. If the food isn't good or late, etc., it's not the server's fault and not leaving a tip but not saying anything is a pretty unfair way to deal with it IMHO...

Mark Wadsworth said...

I'm not a big fan of tipping. I'm not a big fan of haggling either for equal and opposite reasons - the two silly customs cancel each other out.

You might as well pick up your car from the garage, haggle the price down and then leave a generous tip. What's the point?

Bayard said...

"I'm not a big fan of tipping."

Nor am I. Having been on the receiving end, I've always found the experience faintly demeaning.