Tipping Thread Appendix A (tipped wage discussion)

Tipping Thread Appendix A (tipped wage discussion)

I think that might be more about Japanese culture and attitudes about work than about how exactly waitstaff is compensated.

Europe doesn’t really do tipping at restaurants and I don’t think that “great service is required/expected” by most standards there. People here in the US can make a minimum wage higher than wages in Japan and there is no real expectation of great service as far as I see.

I agree the tipping system is stupid but I dont’ think getting rid of it will lead to great service across the board as you might have seen in Japan.


I agree that there’s definitely an element of culture difference there. But I was more thinking that the system in Japan proves that you don’t NEED a performance-related pay system to get good service.

So I’d hope that it’d be totally possible to get rid of the tipping system without any change to the current level of service.

Get rid of exception to the federal minimum hourly wage, fold commonly accepted tip level into the wait staff (and kitchen staff) hourly wage, and if wait staff is not performing well, let restaurant management handle it (via discount/refund for the unsatisfied customers, and via disciplinary action (warning/wage reduction/firing) for poorly performing wait staff) like in almost all other industries.

And that’d have the advantage of leveling the waitressing field a bit. Let’s face it, it’s not night and day differences in skills required for performance between a cheap restaurant and a high-end one so there is no justification for the magnitude of pay difference between them.

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Are you saying that you didn’t get great service in Europe? We had great service almost everywhere we ate while traveling through Germany, France, England, Italy and Spain. We spent a lot of time in smaller towns/countryside and tended to eat at smaller, mom/pop type places and service was great. Worst service by fair was in Paris and London, but even then it was probably on par with average service in the US and I wasn’t forced to tip so it wasn’t that bad.

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No, I wouldn’t call it “great”. It was fine/good/ ok. shrug I was in London more and as you say it was the worst you saw. And its not to say I think we get “great” service in the US either.

And what I actually said was that “great service” isn’t “required/expected” in Europe. London and Paris are pretty good cases of that.

But sure individual experiences differ.

I don’t know if there is any real objective measure of service to compare countries.

It’s a different style of service, culturally. If you want something, you ask for it, rather than the waiter coming by periodically to check on you. Their leaving you alone would not be considered poor service.


Why can’t the food service industry (and a few other select tip inclusive industries) operate like any other industry? Other professions generally don’t receive tips but can still offer great services. If service is bad, it should be on management to identify and improve their shortcomings.

If people receive bad service and complain and no longer choose that location, that should be an indicator to the management team to improve performance, just like many other service related industries. If you ask me, tipping should be a thing of the past. If you receive excellent service, let their manager know, likewise if you receive poor service. Tipping overcomplicates things.

Don’t know what you’re expecting, but I’ve had good-great service at both places.

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Some of the funniest, if not best, service I ever had was in Rome. I forgot and tipped a waiter for chasing down some ice for my Coke. The next time I walked into the restaurant, waiters were climbing over each other to bring a bowl of ice to my table. :laughing:

I’ll bump this up since I’ve got an interesting comparison point.

Two weeks ago, my wife and I were in Europe on a last minute trip. Business for me, pleasure for her. We went to London, Amsterdam, and Vienna. I’d say service was rarely bad, mostly good, but I can’t think of “great” service at any location we visited. We tipped a few euros here and there depending on service, what was ordered, etc. It was the same deal about 8 months ago when we were in Italy.

Right now, we’re in Hawaii on a long-planned vacation. I somehow forgot how ridiculous tipping is when you vacation in the US. Square is set up to ask for a tip everywhere - coffee shops, activities, even places where you order at a counter, have to go back to pick up your food, and then bus your own table. Several places tack on a 2-4% surcharge to pay for stuff like a “living wage” and “healthcare” and then expect you to tip 20% on top of that. It is a bit over the top.


“When tipping becomes mandatory, good service becomes optional”


I’ll never understand this dichotomy. Where else is is the perception that doing your job well is optional so prevaliant and given so much validity? Most everywhere else, it’d be considered grounds for termination.

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I don’t see that as being the case in food service or in tipped jobs specifically.
I don’t think the management anywhere purposefully allows poor work.
I don’t think the employees in tipped jobs are especially lazy or incompetent.

I would say that people who make low wages in mostly thankless crap jobs are often not the best workers and thats market driven.

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USPS (the retail counter people, not delivery people)

The people who work in the post offices around here are mostly efficient and friendly. There are exceptions.

There are bad eggs in every field. I’m talking about the general perception that if you dont tip well, you’re going to be served refried beans instead of the steak you ordered.

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Yeah I don’t know why we got that idea.

How did “lets give people extra money for doing a great job” turn into “you’d better give em 25% or they’ll spit in your food” ?


I honestly don’t understand it.

If I compare the price of eating out in continental Europe (Germany, Italy, and Austria specifically) to, say, where we live in Seattle, the pricing is pretty comparable until you include the tip. I was quite shocked how I could get two plates of good pasta and a mezzo liter of wine in Italy for 35-40 euros all inclusive when in the US, this amount of food and beverage would easily be $45 + tax + tip. I can point to similar stories in other European cities I’ve visited, aside from London where everything is crazy expensive.

The restaurant business isn’t typically wildly profitable either… so I don’t really feel like most owners are taking their customers for a ride. How can Europeans pay their waitstaff and charge a similar amount while American restaurateurs can’t?


I don’t think this fully explains it, but there are generally fewer servers in Europe for the same number of customers.

That seems to be less true by the day. :slightly_frowning_face:

Our counter people are more reliable, albeit slower. I get mail delivered by my neighbors. :smile:

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Probably not the best city to compare. Your minimum wage is $15 isn’t it? And wait staff get 100% of that plus tips.