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Sep 12, 2006 08:00 PM

AP article on waiters and tips.

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“One former waiter, Yakup Ulutas, is proposing restaurants change the system. Ulutas, a 36 year-old restaurant manager in Atlanta, founded a nonprofit organization,, to persuade restaurants to implement an automatic 20 percent service fee on every check. He estimates 2,500 waiters have joined.”

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  1. Have you ever traveled in a country where no one accepts a tip?
    Startling and fabulous. Wouldn't you pay more for food if the
    restaurant paid a fair wage and this wage was reflected in the
    prices charged for food? (The restaurant already makes the money on alcohol and this might not go up in price.)

    1 Reply
    1. re: serious

      I have and will again soon. People's Republic of China. Tips are not accepted for meals. Also no one goes Dutch. Someone always pays for the table. 9 of us ate 12 dishes for $17. Very good food too.
      In the US how can I be sure my great waitstaff has received the tip I gave them? and not someone else?

    2. I snipped my rant about what's gone wrong with the notion of tipping in American restaurants and I'll just leave it that I will NEVER go to ANY restaurant that has a mandatory service charge for a party of less than eight or a restaurant who's mandatory tip for large parties is 20 percent. It's ludicrous that the tip MUST be 2-3 time the server's hourly wage. Let retaurants pay a fair wage and let the *tip* go back to being "a small gift for good service."

      6 Replies
      1. re: KayZee

        Let me get this straight. You won't go to restaurants that auto tip, and yet suggest that they should pay their waiters enough so that tips are just a nice little extra token? Where, pray tell, should this money come from?

        1. re: KayZee

          Two to three times my hourly wage? Yeah, right! Your average server makes $2.13 an hour, KayZee. I work in a fairly generous place and make $3 an hour. The bills at our restaurant average $50 per person. On a table for 8, that makes $400, and if you liked me, a tip of $80. That tip is more than 25 times my hourly wage. In fact, after the taxes and such get taken out of my paycheck, it's my take-home pay. A table like that could be a third of my wages for the night. Can you see why places do automatic gratuities on large parties now?

          1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

            write to your congressman to have the laws changed. in most states servers are not allowed to be paid less than minimum wage (still low, but not $2). restaurants still make money in these states, so i say there is something wrong with the labor laws in your state.

            1. re: Jennieb

              actually, Jennieb, I'd say that *most* states have a much lower min wage for tipped employees. perhaps servers from around the country can chime in to be sure. I can attest to the $2.83 min in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

              1. re: Jennieb

                In San Francisco, waiters apparently are paid the minimum wage of the CITY, which I think is $9.14/hr. I guess customers can't tip less even though the restaurants probably raised it prices to pay the staff, which means the total bill is higher, which means the tip will have to be higher... wow, I'm surprised I haven't thought about this earlier!

                1. re: boltnut55

                  >surprised I haven't thought about this earlier!
                  you've always got to be vigilant to find reasons to tip lower.

                  see the long discussion about tip credit and differetial impact on
                  frontroom/back room staff by that incanto fellow.

          2. I never understood why waiters and waitresses are so severly underpaid. I waited tables in college and made well below the minimum wage (around $2/hour). So I was completely dependent on tips. Other "tipping" industries (e.g. hairdressers) at least pay their people a somewhat fair wage. The worst part for waitstaff is they are taxed on an estimate % of their bill (18%, I think). So even if they encounter bad tippers, they are still stuck paying axes.

            I would much prefer for restaurants to raise the waitstaff rates to at least minimum wage, then tipping can be more discretionary. I wouldn't mind having the menu prices increase to compensate.

            1. I have several friends that work in the industry, and they fully believe that tipping etiquette is no longer 15% - 20%, but AT LEAST 20%. No matter how many times I explain to them that as the cost of living goes up, the price of food goes up and therefore the tips, they don't want to hear it. Of course 2,500 waiters have joined this cause, they have nothing too lose.

              On a side note, these friends of mine feel very insulted when they get "autograted" at restaurants. Where they normally tip well over 20+ (almost to make a point), they tip only the "mandatory" amount if the gratuity is included.

              1 Reply
              1. re: The_Bayou

                Your friends work in the industry, probably a place that autograts large parties and they feel insulted? That doesn't make sense. In my experience people who say they would have left more really mean they tip between 5-10%. there is no reason you can't add more money to the service charge to bring it up to what you would normally tip.

              2. And..i'm not so happy to see tip cups at take out counters.

                4 Replies
                1. re: serious

                  Yeah, I know it's trendy for tip cups to appear at places like Starbucks, but those people are paid more than waiters.


                  1. re: TexasToast

                    I throw money in those, but that's because I live in Los Angeles where anyone in customer service has some pretty tough customers as a rule.

                    And the minimum wage no longer can cover cost of living.

                    Nice weather, though.

                  2. re: serious

                    It tip at my local taqueria, because I can see the staff working their butts off. I also tip (but not 15%) on pickups from some restaurants I go to regularly, especially if they put up with fuzzy mobile calls. It makes them much more willing to fix the misunderstandings that sometimes arise from not having the menu in front of me.

                    1. re: serious

                      ditto. or even worse...when they have the tip line on the credit card slip.