Why Are More Restaurants Adopting a No-Tipping Policy?

A new restaurant in San Antonio, Texas, is donating all the tips that its servers receive to charity. Oaks Crossing is the first restaurant in this area to embrace a no-tips policy while benefiting the greater good, KENS 5 News reported.

Nick George, the manager of the restaurant, is discouraging customers from tipping. However, when they do tip (the establishment collected $600 in the first week), the money is donated to a good cause. The first to benefit from Oaks Crossing’s satisfied patrons is the local Parman Branch Library.

So far, so good. Certainly public libraries can use all the help they can get.

But what do the restaurants’ servers think about not getting to take their tips home?

A restaurant spokesperson said the Oaks Crossing employees don’t need to rely on tips anymore, since the company pays “a competitive wage.” However, there were no details forthcoming as to what exactly constitutes a competitive wage.

Current Minimum Wage For Restaurant Workers

The current federal minimum wage stands at $7.25, an amount that is too low pretty much anywhere to provide working families much of an income; although increasingly, adults depend on the minimum wage to make ends meet. This year, 22 states have their own minimums, ranging from $7.40 in Michigan to $9.32 in the state of Washington. Seattle just agreed to take its minimum up to $15 on hour, though with a phase-in period of quite a few years.

But for servers in restaurants, the picture is even bleaker. The Fair Labor Standards Act allows for restaurants and other businesses with tipped employees to pay the workers as little as $2.13/hour, so long as the tips they receive make up the difference between that lower wage and the $7.25/hour federal minimum wage.

I can only imagine how tricky that would be to work out.

Restaurants Replacing Tipping With Paying a Living Wage

Oaks Crossing is by no means the first restaurant to do away with tipping.

A restaurant in Newport, Ky., has numerous signs posted making it clear that tips are not part of the transaction process. Packhouse Meats opened in January, and its credit card slips don’t even have a line for tips. Instead, servers get paid either $10 an hour or 20 percent of their food sales, whichever is higher.

In New York, a Japanese-style pub called Restaurant Riki has banned tipping because it’s more in line with Japanese customs. It raised prices to compensate.

A new brewpub scheduled to open this fall in Washington, D.C. will also do away with tipping. The founder of the restaurant, Public Option, plans to pay workers at least $15 an hour. Any money left on the tables will go to charity.

In Glendale, Calif., Blend 158 has also eliminated tipping. Owner Gabriel Frem says there’s a problem with the traditional pay system in the restaurant industry.

“If you think you’re just paying a lower wage per hour, but every three weeks you have a new staff, people are always leaving, on slow shifts people don’t make their rent, they’re distressed. It’s gonna translate to more costs,” he says.

Frem’s employees love it.

“I get stability here, which kinda gives me more freedom outside of work, which is nice,” says Tess Marie-Hudson, a bartender at Brand 158. She makes $15 an hour. “I can plan my life accordingly, I can travel and know when I get back I’m gonna work on a Monday and still make as much as I would on a Saturday.”

Lets Do Away With the Traditional Tipping System

From my own brief stint as a waitress in the vacation town I grew up in, I saw repeatedly that the tip reflects the customer more than the service. The fussiest, most demanding, customers for the most part either didn’t tip or tipped poorly. Polite, normal customers tipped well and treated me respectfully.

Servers in restaurants deserve to be paid a decent wage, and not have to depend on the whims of the customers, or whether they are working on a Saturday night or a Wednesday afternoon. The sooner the U.S. moves away from the tipping model towards the “compensate servers fairly” model employed by nearly every other country on the planet, the better off we’ll be.

What do you think?

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

I think all restaurants should pay at least a living wage, if not more!
I found one of those tip cards and we look up the 20% when we eat out. We went to Red Lobster last week and the server was so good, we gave her 25%!

Jane R.
Jane R3 years ago

Tipping should be done away with. We pay enough for our food without having to pay extra to support the wait staff. It is up to the employer to pay a sufficient salary to their employees. Many people only go out to eat on a special occasion which puts a strain on their budget so why should they have to pay extra for a tip? Lots of times the service is bad and the food barely eatable, yet we are expected to leave a tip, We feel obligated to do so even if we don't think the server deserves a tip. This makes the customers feel uncomfortable and they will eat out less often, so the restaurants loose out on money because they won't pay a descent wage to their wait staff.

'Great White' Earth-Being
'Great White' 3 years ago

I must say though, that I do not like the idea that I (a customer) have to tip. All restaurants' (only industry allowed to have its customers rely on tips) & other industries' employees (now older adults & elderly aged are forced to do it; but still women and even single mothers make the majority) should not be dependent on my tipping them to try to survive there slave labor jobs. Wealthy, International, Capitalist Corporations & Their Boards and Owners should be forced to pay the average salary of USA employees from every industry. I do not like when it comes to the bill and I am looking at the restaurant employee who is struggling to survive and it is partly on my shoulders to provide their pay (huge majority of her pay comes from us, customers, she has waited on)!!!!!

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/why-are-more-restaurants-adopting-a-no-tipping-policy.html#ixzz36nh30eH8

'Great White' Earth-Being
'Great White' 3 years ago

Restaurant workers must be allowed to receive tips (if they are going to earning under average salary of USA employees from every industry). It is important to make sure everyone knows, I have asked & been told from actual restaurant workers that the following is true, that restaurant workers that receive tips have to split them with the other restaurant workers and at times (& illegally) with the Capitalist Corporations that own the restaurants. They sometimes can split a tip up to 15-employees!!!!

Linda B.
Linda B3 years ago

Kathy M is probably being facetious, but I have seen a tip jar beside the cash register in our local dollar stores - and some money in it. Otherwise, many comments seem to reflect a need to get away from tips and offer valid reasons.

Matt L.
Maitreya L3 years ago

Kathy M. considering how ridiculously overpriced Starbucks coffee is I certainly think they should pay their employees better wages, and I never buy coffee from them, but still if I see a tip jar at a place where I know the employees are underpaid, I do try to leave a tip.

Kathy M.
Kathleen M3 years ago

One trend that really irks me is seeing tip jars where there should be none. For example, there is a tip jar on the drive thru window at my local Starbucks. Seriously?! It's a drive-thru window, not a full service restaurant for heavens sake! Plus, their frozen frappucino's, which are no better than Tim Horton's $3.29 frozen cappuccino's (virtually the same thing) are about $5.00, which is pretty steep – so why should I have to pay even more for it? I've also seen tip jars in stores, at the cash register.

Maybe everyone should have a tip jar at their job: for example, on their desk at the office, their counter at the toll booth, their medicine cart at the hospital, their tail gate on the sanitation truck, their instrument tray at the dentist office, their greeter stand at Walmart, their desk in front of the classroom . . .

BJ J3 years ago

$2.13/hr. wage & hope for decent tips in the 21st century? No wonder so many people are on welfare. . . .

Rhonda B.
Rhonda B3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Kay M.
Kay M3 years ago

never heard of such places.