Having just read the completely derailed thread My husband’s grandmother doesn’t want to leave a tip started by Lillith Fair
my executive summary of the derailment is as follows:[ul]
[li]Servers in the US get paid below living wages and rely on tips to make ends meet. This is general knowledge.[/li][li]This means that patrons should add about 20% onto the total of the bill to ensure the tip is adequate.[/li][li]It is generally assumed that in countries without tipping, service must be poor because the server doesn’t need your money.[/li][li]Whether a country works on a tipping system or not, it all comes out equal in the end.[/li][/ul]However, I’ve got a couple of questions.
**Does it all *really * come out equal in the end? **
In Australia, an employer must make a contribution towards an employees superannuation. This contribution is based on the actual wage paid by the company to the employee, and is a fixed percentage thereof. Does this also occur in the US? It seems to me that the waitstaff working primarily from tips would end up poorer in the long term, regardless of how their week-to-week finances appeared in comparison to waitstaff paid a full living wage. I don’t know how superannuation works in the US, but this is just something that struck me as a big problem.
Why would providing a living wage negatively affect the quality of service?
I’ve rarely encountered poor service from servers, regardless of whether the experience was Fine Dining or Takeaway. On the contrary, most of them have been very friendly, professional, non-intrusive and efficient. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that most places hiring serving staff insist on a prerequisite of some kind of certificate study in bar & waitressing at the very least - there’s not a lot of unskilled labour available in the food and beverage industry. Maybe this means that people tend to be in those jobs because they want to be? I’m just theorising here; I really don’t have any answers. All I can definitively say is that being paid a real wage doesn’t decrease the quality of the service. You’ll still get occasional bad employees, but when a restauranteur is paying that person $14+ p/h (plus overtime, plus superannuation), they’re not likely to retain a bad individual for long.
So, given that it works here, why wouldn’t/doesn’t it work elsewhere?
Why would paying full wages make meals unreasonably expensive?
It’s been quoted by a number of people that if servers were paid real wages, the food would become exorbitantly expensive. I don’t get this, honestly. I don’t consider the prices I pay at restaurants to be excessive. As an example, assuming a restaurant range between ‘slightly upmarket’ and ‘silver service’, main meals go for something in the range of $14-$28.
Example: If my husband and I go out to dinner at say, a nice Indian restaurant, the bill will usually come to about $50 for the pair of us, including drinks (he’ll usually have a beer; I stick to coffee and juice or lassi ). Mains are about $14 per each.
It’s my belief (again, just a theory and I don’t know for sure) that restaurants work more at getting in volume of customers, through a combination of great food, great service and good prices, than they do on making profit off individual meals. I’m guessing they make a fair bit off alcohol, too, but anyone who’s working in that industry who could give me a yea or nay on this theory - please chime in! I want to know!
So, what’s your take on it?
I’d like to hear from anyone who can answer my questions regarding superannuation, etc, or who’d like to put in their 2c. Ideally, I’d prefer to keep it out of the pit, as threads like this just tend to degenerate into a slanging match instead of ‘fighting ignorance’ once they move down there.