We, at the Detroit Lakes Newspapers, recently got criticized by somebody for carrying a story on Minnesota restaurants that have adopted a “no-tipping” policy. The reader - a restaurant server who is against the policy - pointed out that there are no restaurants in this town that are doing this, and was concerned that by running the story, we may have possibly given people the wrong idea that they shouldn’t still appreciate their servers and show them accordingly.
The no-tipping policy works like this: Because restaurant owners know their servers will often make good money in tips, they pay them very little - certainly an unlivable wage. Servers rely on tips. Period.
Then there is the other restaurant staff that may be paid more in wages than servers, but it’s well known that at the end of the day, the server will almost always come out ahead of the pack because of tips. On a busy night, it is far, far ahead.
According to the owner of the Northern Waters restaurant featured in this aforementioned story, say the idea of servers reaping all the benefits of good service causes hard feelings among restaurant staff who work just as hard making sure that the customer has a good meal or is eating in a clean establishment, and yet no tip.
The idea behind a no-tipping policy is that in lieu of tips, the entire staff gets paid a higher, stable hourly wage. Prices are then upped on the menu to compensate for that. Theoretically, the customer is still paying roughly the same because while they paid more for their meal, they are also not paying a tip.
That way, the cook who so carefully prepared that meal that the customer loved, the host or hostess that so politely ensured the customer had a good, clean place to sit and the rest of the staff who does their part, are not left shaking their heads as they see the server walk away from the table with a nice, fat tip.
Whether or not this is a good idea will likely depend on whether you are or have been a server or if your efforts have been spent elsewhere in a restaurant.
We don’t advocate the policy one way or the other - the invisible hand of economics will determine things based on whether or not customers support these restaurants and if they are still able to get good, happy servers.
Owners will quickly find out if the policy will work for them or not.
What we won’t do, though, is not run a story because it might give somebody an idea. That is kind of what we do here, is distribute ideas, information and news. The free flow of information is what makes this country great because it “gives people ideas”. This reader clearly felt we were distributing the concept of a bad idea, but when it comes to business, ideas don’t bow down to the opinions of some, they bow down to the opinions of many as they are tried, tested and then deemed a success or failure.
Having said that, we do respect and appreciate the thoughts and opinions that come in to us - and yes, criticisms - that come in to us. We will never stifle them because it’s all part of the free flow of information that everybody should get to enjoy.