April 14, 2023

Tipping in Restaurants: Pros and Cons

Dana Safa Bernardino

Tipping has been a longstanding practice in the restaurant industry. 

However, this practice has become controversial over the years with some people arguing that it is an outdated practice that needs to be done away with, while others are proponents of tipping, arguing that it is essential to the restaurant industry. 

Let’s take a closer look at both the pros and cons of tipping in restaurants.

Pros of Tipping in Restaurants

  1. Encourages Better Service

One of the most significant advantages of tipping in restaurants is that it encourages better service from the waitstaff. Waiters and waitresses know that their tip is directly related to the level of service they provide to the customers. As such, they are motivated to provide excellent service to customers, which, in turn, leads to higher tips.

  1. Helps to Supplement Low Wages

Most waitstaff in restaurants are paid low wages, and tipping provides them with an opportunity to supplement their income. In some cases, tips can make up a significant portion of a server’s income. This is particularly important in countries where the minimum wage is not enough to support a decent standard of living.

  1. Encourages Friendly and Personal Service

Tipping in restaurants can encourage waitstaff to provide personalized and friendly service to customers. When a waiter or waitress knows that their tip is dependent on the level of service they provide, they are more likely to engage with customers in a friendly and personal manner. This can make the dining experience more enjoyable for customers.

  1. Can Make Dining More Affordable

Tipping can also make dining more affordable for customers. In some countries, the cost of labor is factored into the price of food, which makes dining out more expensive. However, in countries where tipping is the norm, the cost of labor is not included in the price of food. This means that customers can pay less for their meal and then add a tip to reward good service.

Cons of Tipping in Restaurants

  1. Can Lead to Unfair Treatment

One of the most significant disadvantages of tipping is that it can lead to unfair treatment of waitstaff. Customers may choose to leave a smaller tip or no tip at all, even if the service provided was excellent. This can be particularly unfair to waitstaff who rely on tips to supplement their income.

  1. Can Create an Unpredictable Income

Tipping can also create an unpredictable income for waitstaff. Since tips are not guaranteed, waitstaff can never be certain of how much they will earn in a given week or month. This can make it difficult for them to plan their finances and can create stress and uncertainty.

  1. Can Create a Power Dynamic

Tipping can also create a power dynamic between customers and waitstaff. Customers who leave larger tips may expect better treatment or special favors from waitstaff, which can create an uncomfortable power dynamic. This can be particularly problematic if the waitstaff is dependent on tips to supplement their income.

  1. Can Create a Culture of Underpayment

Finally, tipping can create a culture of underpayment in the restaurant industry. Since waitstaff are paid low wages, they are dependent on tips to make a living. This can create an environment where restaurant owners are not incentivized to pay their employees a living wage, which can lead to exploitation of workers.

Tipping definitely has its pros and cons. 

On the one hand, it can encourage better service, supplement low wages, encourage friendly and personal service, and make dining more affordable. On the other hand, it can lead to unfair treatment, create an unpredictable income, create a power dynamic, and create a culture of underpayment. 

What side are you on? 

About 1Huddle

1Huddle is a coaching and development platform that uses quick-burst mobile games to more quickly and effectively educate, elevate, and energize your workforce — from frontline to full-time.

With a mobile-first approach to preparing the modern worker, a mobile library of 3,000+ quick-burst employee skill games, an on-demand game marketplace that covers 16 unique workforce skill areas, and the option for personalized content, 1Huddle is changing the way organizations think about their training – from a one-time boring onboarding experience to a continuous motivational tool. 

Key clients include Loews Hotels, Novartis, Madison Square Garden, PIMCO, TAO Group, and the United States Air Force. To learn more about 1Huddle and its platform, please visit 1huddle.co.

Dana Safa Bernardino, Manager of Digital Marketing at 1Huddle

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