In addition to the conversation/debate/protests about raising the minimum wage, another element of employee pay is coming into question.  Some, including mega-restaurateur Danny Meyer, are stopping the long-time practice of tipping.  It would radically change how food items are priced, restaurant employees are paid and income disparity among staff in the food and beverage industry. Tips began as a way to reward good service, but now 15-20% has become a standard expectation rather than a bonus.

Tips are closely aligned with some positions and completely foreign to others. Danny Meyer told Time*: “The responsibility of creating income should not fall to the whim of people who are patronizing the restaurant, which is completely antithetical to a profession.  You don’t tip your doctor if she cures you, and you don’t tip your architect if the house doesn’t fall down.”  

Think of how your organization would function differently if people were paid by tips that truly did differentiate based upon service provided.  Would you work harder or sweeter if your clients were able to directly increase your earnings?  Would you develop a different system so that the support personnel (i.e.: cooks) could somehow be rewarded for their contributions instead of the tips only going to front-line personnel (i.e.: waitstaff)?  Does a tipping system favor only short-term performance instead of long-term innovation?

Here’s a tip for you: whether your staff earns tips, minimum wage, commissions or bonus incentives, the whole notion of how employees are paid is undergoing a paradigm shift.  You would be wise to review your compensation to ensure that your pay structure works for you.

— beth triplett

Why some restaurants have declared war on tipping by Ben Goldberger in Time, November 2, 2015, p. 23-24

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