Getting rid of tipping?? Including the tip in the bill? - by Dennis Serpone

October 28, 2015 - Front Section
Dennis Serpone, New  England Restaurant Brokers Dennis Serpone, New
England Restaurant Brokers

Dennis Serpone comments on an article by NY Eater Ryan Sutton, October 14, 2015 @qualityrye 

Several years ago, I spent a week at an all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic. Nice hotel, beautiful beaches, but mediocre service. Table service was slow, the housekeepers were indifferent, and room service was frustrating. Management was responsive, but that was all. I’d never go back.

Ever stand at a busy bar and wait to be served. “Excuse me could I get a drink?” Don’t leave a tip...you’ll go home sober. Leave a good tip...everyone else will wait while you’re taken care of.

Do you have a favorite restaurant? Do you like a particular waiter or waitress? Don’t leave a tip and see how friendly they are to you the next time you go there.

Why do you give your mailman or paperboy or the kid who cuts your grass a tip? Obviously it’s a sign of appreciation for a job well done.

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I’m totally against giving up another freedom...the freedom to tip, or not tip, the freedom of leaving 20% or 10%, the freedom to stand out from the crowd.

Several times over the last few years, once in Ogunquit and again at a nice restaurant in Vermont, I dealt with this issue...I gave the server a double tip. I always tip 20%...period. I never scrutinize a bill. I assume the bill is correct, look at the total, add 20% and pay it. In those cases, I later realized that a tip was automatically included in the total. What a score for the server. Shame on me for not paying attention.

As is the case of Danny Meyer’s restaurants in NY, including the tip in the bill because he wants to make sure that all employees share in the tip process evenly, God bless him...but I’m not eating there. Will the trend catch on...I doubt it. With profit margins already shrinking, why would a restaurateur want to incur more credit card fees by including a “mandatory” tip addition that he has to process. In my humble opinion, instead of cultivating a “competitive advantage,” he has created a “competitive DIS-advantage.”

In a way, it’s like requiring all male patrons to wear sports jackets because “our food is so good.” Thank you, but no thank you, I’ll just dress the way I want and go to your competitor.

Is this just a gimmick to get Mr. Meyers, and his restaurants, some free publicity...it worked. They talked about it this morning on FOX and here on USA TODAY.

“Meyer noted that various laws prohibit certain restaurant workers, like dishwashers and cooks, from getting tips, even though their contributions are just as vital to the outcome of your experience at one of our restaurants.”

Come on Danny, you’re shifting your payroll costs from your responsibility to your patrons. If your non-tipped employees deserve a better living wage, YOU pay them. Let the rest of us exercise our freedom to tip as we see fit...as it’s deserved.

Give me a break. The world loves generous people. How can you be generous if the tip is TAKEN from you whether you like it or not?

Dennis Serpone is president of New England Restaurant Brokers, Wakefield, Mass.

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