A World Without Tips

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A world without tips

I am still incredibly grateful for my recent guest post on tipping.  It inspired my response that discussed the economics of tipping.  It also raised a few other interesting points that I am now learning are common misconceptions about restaurants.  For people who have never worked in a restaurant, these misconceptions can easily be mistaken as facts.  Upon further consideration they may not be wise to pursue.  One interesting idea that she raised in the post was raising the wages paid to server by restaurants to replace tipping.  While on the surface it seems quite logical, it would have a disastrous impact on the industry.

Restaurants are operated on incredibly thin profit margins.  As discussed in a previous post, large corporate restaurant chains are extremely susceptible to anything that affects their stock prices. With a huge spike in the cost of labor, restaurant stock prices would crumble.  Independent restaurant owners struggling to stay afloat would shutter.  Consumers would lose choices.  A vast majority of restaurants would survive this initial wave, but be forced into the next step.

The remaining restaurants would set a wage for servers considerably lower than what the servers make now.  Professional servers with years of experience would have to settle for the new rate or venture into a new career field.  Between servers quitting and terminations, restaurants would reduce the size of their server staff by about a third.  Servers who worked four table sections before would now be required to work six tables for less money.  This would reduce the damage to the restaurant’s bottom line, but also drastically reduce the quality of service that was provided to guests.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

10 Reasons Why Serving Is Not Like Your Job

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Let's hope he isn't working while sick.

After 15 years in the restaurant industry, I can still be surprised at how little some people know about how the industry works.  Restaurants operate in a manner far different than most businesses in the United States.  While most Americans are familiar with restaurants from dining out, very few are aware of the working conditions endured by the average restaurant server.  This lack of knowledge is made worse by the fact that the customer who is unaware of this information determines the wage of servers.  This is why a brief refresher on life as server is worth reviewing for those who dine out.

Here are ten ways serving differs from most occupations:

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

Fighting For The Server Wage

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A brief disclaimer: This is not a political blog.  I am not looking to get into politics with it.  I will only enter the political realm when it is specifically relevant to servers.   This is one of those cases.

Tom Emmer is a State Representative in Minnesota and the presumable Republican Nominee for Governor.  In an effort to showcase his pro-business credentials, he recently highlighted a need for restaurant owners to pay their servers less than minimum wage.  This alone probably would not have merited a post on this blog.  He followed it up by stating that he had talked to a restaurant owner who complained because of this wage he had some employees making over $100,000 a year.  He said this was more than the owner earned.  Therefore, the owners should make a tip credit for the tips their employees earn.  He said that as he traveled around the state that people on “Main Street” knew what he was talking about.

I grew up on Main Street in Gladstone, MO.  I have also been both a waiter and a manager in states with and without tips credits.  I can assure you I have no idea what he is talking about.  So I decided to do a little research.  All of the data I will cite comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2009 report on waiters and waitresses.  A few quick searches revealed that the annual median wage for a server in Minnesota is $19,220.  The 90th percentile earns $36,240 per year.  So either Emmer went to the most lucrative bar and grill in the state of MN to speak to the owner or he is lying.  We don’t have to guess the answer because the owner has made it clear that he said no such thing.

Read the full post at Tips For Improving Your Tips

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