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Old 08-15-2013, 02:57 PM  
Fish Fish is offline
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Restaurant bans tipping. Guess what happened?

After I banned tipping at my restaurant, the service got better and we made more money

Tipping, as a compensation scheme, is great for everyone.

Restaurant customers like tipping because it puts them in the driverís seat. As a diner, you control your experience, using the power of your tip to make sure your server works hard for you.

Restaurant servers like tipping because it means their talent is rewarded. As a great server, you get paid more than your peers, because you are a better worker.

Restaurant owners like tipping because it means they donít have to pay for managers to closely supervise their servers. With customers using tips to enforce good service, owners can be confident that servers will do their best work.

Thereís only one problem: none of this is actually true. I know because I ran the experiment myself.

For over eight years, I was the owner and operator of San Diegoís farm-to-table restaurant The Linkery, until we closed it this summer to move to San Francisco. At first, we ran the Linkery like every other restaurant in America, letting tips provide compensation and motivation for our team. In our second year, however, we tired of the tip system, and we eliminated tipping from our restaurant. We instead applied a straight 18% service charge to all dining-in checks, and refused to accept any further payment. We became the first and, for years, the only table-service restaurant in America where you couldnít pay more money than the amount we charged you.

You can guess what happened. Our service improved, our revenue went up, and both our business and our employees made more money. Hereís why:
  • Researchers have found (pdf) that customers donít actually vary their tips much according to service. Instead they tip mostly the same every time, according to their personal habits.

  • Tipped servers, in turn, learn that service quality isnít particularly important to their revenue. Instead they are rewarded for maximizing the number of guests they serve, even though that degrades service quality.

  • Furthermore, servers in tipping environments learn to profile guests (pdf), and attend mainly to those who fit the stereotypes of good tippers. This may increase the serverís earnings, while creating negative experiences for the many restaurant customers who are women, ethnic minorities, elderly or from foreign countries.

  • On the occasions when a server is punished for poor service by a customer withholding a standard tip, the server can keep that information to himself. While the customer thinks she is sending a message, that message never makes it to a manager, and the problem is never addressed.

  • You can see that tipping promotes and facilitates bad service. It gives servers the choice between doing their best work and making the most money. While most servers choose to do their best work, making them choose one or the other is bad business.

By removing tipping from the Linkery, we aligned ourselves with every other business model in America. Servers and management could work together toward one goal: giving all of our guests the best possible experience. When we did it well, we all made more money. As you can imagine, it was easy for us to find people who wanted to work in this environment, with clear goals and rewards for succeeding as a team.

Maybe it wouldnít work in every restaurant, in every city. Maybe the fact that it worked so well for us was due to some unique set of circumstances. Then again, other service industries like health care and law arenít exactly lining up to adopt tips as their primary method of compensation. So maybe weíre all just being suckered into believing tipping works.

Itís something you can think about, at least, the next time youíre waiting on a refill of iced tea.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:14 PM   #16
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How do they correlate that the increased revenue was due to no tipping policy?
Probably because they take a slice of that pie for themselves instead of the waiter pocketing the tip if its paid in cash.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:15 PM   #17
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So the customer can do nothing when they get shitty service?
They can choose not to return.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:15 PM   #18
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One could argue that because they had to shut their business down and are attempting a different store 8 hours away that the business plan was a failure.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:15 PM   #19
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I agree with the approach this guy is taking, but wish he would actually factor the tips into his prices instead of mandatory tip, which is kinda what he did.
What difference would it make? Currently, it's a percentage of the total bill at the discretion of the customer. Now it's a fixed percentage of the total bill every time. It's simply shifting the responsibility of of the same amount a customer would (hopefully) be tipping, to the store. As long as the employer isn't a dick and pays an actual fair amount everybody wins. That's the way every other business is run. If the employer abuses it, they won't have employees any longer.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:16 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Fish View Post
What difference would it make? Currently, it's a percentage of the total bill at the discretion of the customer. Now it's a fixed percentage of the total bill every time. It's simply shifting the responsibility of of the same amount a customer would (hopefully) be tipping, to the store. As long as the employer isn't a dick and pays an actual fair amount everybody wins. That's the way every other business is run. If the employer abuses it, they won't have employees any longer.
Or a business(see closing the store down)
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:18 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Fish View Post
After I banned tipping at my restaurant, the service got better and we made more money
[*]Furthermore, servers in tipping environments learn to profile guests (pdf), and attend mainly to those who fit the stereotypes of good tippers. This may increase the server’s earnings, while creating negative experiences for the many restaurant customers who are women, ethnic minorities, elderly or from foreign countries..
So, the only people who consistently tip well are 'merican caucasian males ages 18-60?

Why do the libtards hate us so?
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:19 PM   #22
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I'm not sure how that's banning tipping. Seems to me it's a way for the company to get a cut of the tips.
While true, it would be tough to present it that way. Why would anyone go there instead of to a competitor if all of their "prices were so much higher"?

If the entire world transitioned away from tipping, then I agree - build it into the price. For now, I understand why they handled it like they did.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:22 PM   #23
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always drives me nuts when I see another table get preferential treatment because they are known big tippers while another table gets practically ignored even though they tip 18-20%.

I'm sick of tip snobs.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:23 PM   #24
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:24 PM   #25
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While true, it would be tough to present it that way. Why would anyone go there instead of to a competitor if all of their "prices were so much higher"?

If the entire world transitioned away from tipping, then I agree - build it into the price. For now, I understand why they handled it like they did.
People anticipate tipping already. Or at least should.

They could go to Restaurant A and expect to pay $8 + $2 tip.

They could go to Restaurant B and expect to pay $10.

Both situations, the waiter ideally should receive the same.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:24 PM   #26
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:25 PM   #27
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It doesn't sound like banned tipping...it sounds like mandatory tipping.

It's like a table of 10 or more. When you automatically charge me 18%, it costs the other 6% I may have tipped on the group.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:26 PM   #28
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:29 PM   #29
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As one who's worked in the industry briefly, I'll just note that my experience was that there was a clear connection between quality, friendly service and larger tips, as well as a bit of a sales increase.
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Old 08-15-2013, 03:33 PM   #30
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