Fox News Shepard Smith CLICK ON PHOTO ABOVE TO WATCH FULL FOX NEWS CLIP Could restaurants be moving away from tipping & towards a more standardized approach? I had a chat (very briefly) with Shep Smith on Fox Business about the trend that some establishments are moving away from encouraging customers to tip but instead place a 20 % service fee on the bill. Now I can imagine that you are all screaming, hell no why should I pay a 20% service fee, but here are a few different ways of looking at it: Tipping has become a socially accepted habit: The tipping ideology goes as follows; customers tip when they receive good service & they refuse to tip when they have an unpleasant experience. It is believed that the word TIP is an old acronym for (To Insure Promptness). The reality is that in the US, tipping has become the norm and it is a habitual activity. There have been studies by Michael Lynn, Professor at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration that imply a person will tip the same amount most of the time when they dine out. i.e. you are probably a 15 % or 18% or 20% or 25% tipper. Just as you are a specific type of car person, you get my drift…. So you will probably tip the same percentage every single time you dine out except when you receive horrible service. Therefore in theory, a server will make more money when they turn tables faster and not because you tip a higher percentage. How pay out works: There are several different ways to address pay out and ultimately we won’t go into all those ways. It is important to note that in several incidences the server will be taxed on declared tips on the night, but will be then required to give some of their tips away to the back of the house staff. i.e. the server might be taxed (taxable income) on money that they never see because they have given it away to other staff members. The reason this is done is because the front of the house staff (servers, hosts etc) and back of house staff (line cooks, dishwashers etc) generally do not make the same wages. Minimum wage: The federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour where employers are required to bring the wage up to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. The current federal minimum wage has been in place since July 2009. How is this a livable wage? With rising inflation costs several states have raised their minimum wage above the federal minimum. The silver lining in this gloom outlook is that passion individuals are standing in the space of possibility as Gravity Payments CEO Dan Price proved when he raised the minimum annual salary to $70,000 for all his 120 person staff. He did so by slashing his $1 million dollar annual salary to $70,000. Now, that’s one heck of a way to effect change! We have a right to a safe work environment where we can thrive and make a good livable salary. I commend employers that take a stand for their employees and demand a better existence with a more enjoyable work environment and higher pay scale. Customer’s Perspective: Perhaps the customer would get better service if there is less competition in the restaurant, the food is better (as the line staff is better incentivized) and there is a general sense of well-being, as the servers can stop focusing on how much money they made and instead start focusing on providing a fantastic dining environment for patrons. Ultimately, the restaurant patron has the opportunity to decide where they choose to dine & spend their hard-earned money. This philosophy might just remove the weight of providing the most excellent service from the server’s shoulders and rather place it squarely on the restaurant manager and entire restaurant staff. Having a phenomenal dining experience is a multi dimensional collaboration and this might remove the angst & desire to micro manage from the customers plate and place it on the establishment to ensure a seamless experience. The reality is that we all work hard for our money and have a right to have a great dining experience. Therefore if you are unhappy speak up in a nice, polite manner. If it were an establishment worth their chops they would appreciate the honesty & straightforward approach.   Happy Travels! For more hospitality & travel tales & tips be sure to follow Cecile on Twitter @CecileRaubs and Facebook and Instagram and Google+