Ok, I'm most probably not going to make many friends with this post since this is kind of a politically incorrect way of thinking, but I've been meaning to post about this for a while.
I don't like the idea of having to leave a Tip for a service provided. But before you all come towards me with pitchforks and knives, let me explain.
First of all, I do always tip, don't think that I'm going to restaurants and leaving people hanging. Second of all this is not anything against waitresses or waiters or any serving staff, I know and understand they get paid X amount and they basically work for the tips.
I feel that restaurants should be taking the Tip money from whatever they charged me. And I don't mean charge me extra just to do this, I mean just charge me the same and then take 15 or 20% out of that for the wait staff.
Let me explain some of the reasons why I think this should happen.
Price of Food:
A tip is supposed to be a way of us rewarding the staff for our experience at the location. They usually get paid less than what they deserve and this is supposed to provide us with cheaper food. Since I have to help pay for their staff, I get to pay less for their food, right? WRONG! When a restaurant charges me $8.50 for a simple Burger and another $2.50 for a glass Pepsi they are ripping me off already!
That's $11.00 for a Burger and a Soda. If the restaurant takes out 20% of that and gives it to the wait staff, they are left with $8.80 which is still ripping me off for a burger and a soda!
If I go into a cheap Mexican Restaurant for an hour with my family the bill may come out to be $60. If I go into a nicer restaurant on a date for an hour, the bill may come out to be $200. If the server at the Mexican restaurant who had to wait on my whole family gets 20% as a Tip then he/she would get $12. If the server at the nice place who had to wait on myself and my date gets a 20% Tip then he/she would get $40. Even if I got the same level of service from both of these people, it is clear that I'm paying much more for great service in one place than the other. Which brings me to my next point.
Good Service should be expected:
If I go to any restaurant and the tables are dirty or the staff is rude I'm not going to simply not leave a tip, I will get out of there and not even bother eating at this place ever again. Having good service is just common knowledge for any place that is trying to get my business. I don't tip the guy at Best Buy when he gives me good advice (ok that never happens but let's pretend). Good service is simply something that we should expect no matter where we go. So why is it that at restaurants I have to pay them in order to get good service?
It's not even an optional thing anymore, many restaurants just plain add the tip to the bill. So it's almost my same idea but instead of them taking the money from what I had to pay for the food which was overpriced to begin with, they are simply forcing me to pay their staff.
Maybe there was a time when expecting someone to bring the food to your table was a crazy idea, but we are way past that. There is many restaurants I could go to, so give me a reason to go to yours!
The real problem with this idea is not so much that restaurants wouldn't want to take 20% less profits. It's simply that they don't have to. Right now thanks to Amazon.com you will see a lot of stores struggling to get customers and they will think of good creative ways to make people come to their stores rather than shop online. They have to, else they will simply go out of business. This isn't quite the issue with Restaurants, we in the US cook at home less often and dine out more often. There are plenty of restaurants that are making plenty of money every night. You need a reservation in a lot of the nicer ones because they are so full. So why would they care about looking for ways to get our business?
There are indeed plenty of restaurants suffering though, these are usually the small restaurants, and when you go in them you will find much cheaper prices. That's what happens when you try to get people's business. I think that if these smaller restaurants were to start a trend of making a no Tipping policy and just took 20% off the bill to give to the wait staff, they may experience higher sales just from people who like the idea. The wait staff would probably feel much better knowing that they would get a tip all the time. Eventually the bigger popular restaurants would just have to follow.
Not long ago I was at Paul's Omega Family Restaurant in Milwaukee. I was paying $12 bucks for a plate of food that was ok but certainly not worth that much, my coffee cup was empty (which pisses me off whenever that happens) and I look around and it just seems like we were sardines in a can. I didn't feel like a customer, I felt like a piggy bank. I started thinking about how I'm not really enjoying this and still I'm expected to help them pay for their staff. It just boggles my mind.