New York Times critic Pete Wells examines the practice of tipping today, writing that it is, "irrational, outdated, ineffective, confusing, prone to abuse and sometimes discriminatory." Wells argues that tipping doesn't guarantee good service, and that diners can't be certain that their tips go to the right people. The critic notes that there have been a slew of tip-sharing lawsuits filed against places like Dovetail recently. Wells writes:
[F]orget the cheats; the suits have also reminded us that many employees share our tips. So, if we leave 10 percent to signal our unhappiness with our server's tone of voice, we may be hurting other workers, from the host who seated us by the window to the sommelier who suggested that terrific Sicilian white, to the runner who delivered the skate while it was still hot. How much longer can we insist that it's our privilege to decide whether we want to pay these people?
Sushi Yasuda recently abolished tipping, and restaurateurs like Danny Meyer, David Chang, and Tom Colicchio have toyed with the idea of eliminating tipping and replacing the practice with a surcharge or prices that include the cost of service. Carolyn D. Richmond, a lawyer that works with restaurateurs, explains that adding a service charge might not prevent the lawsuits, because customers might still leave tips anyway. Wells concludes: "Tipping doesn't work, and it doesn't feel very good anymore, either." If you have any thoughts on the tipping debate, please share them in the comments.
· Leaving a Tip: A Custom in Need of Changing? [NYT]
· All Coverage of Tipping [~ENY~]