Just this week the President of the United States has addressed paid sick days for all workers and discussions about the practice of tipping have not gone away either. This humorous video (warning, foul language) got me thinking about the subject and we started a little conversation around the office. Almost everyone at ShiftZen has been involved in a tipped position sometime in the past 10-15 years. While this video is designed to make you laugh, there are a lot of interesting things said about the practice of tipping and how it started. I don't have time to fact check everything, but it sounds similar to what I've heard in the past. Some restaurants have actually done away with it in favor of giving workers a salary, fixed schedules and paid time off. Some have even given shares of the company to the staff.
I think it is great to see a professionalism being fostered in the industry. The knowledge it takes to be a 'pro' (wine, pairings, ingredients, etc) is an asset and shouldn't be taken lightly. On the flip side however..I do remember when I went back to school at age 26 or so and what attracted me to the business was that I could make all of my bills is just one week of jockeying for shifts as a server and getting the tips I needed to put me over the top (hopefully my landlords who got my rent check on the 8th of the month aren't reading this). I can't say for sure, but I feel like there were times I made up to $30/hour on Thurs-Sun nights. It was great! There was nowhere else I could work 20-25 hours a week and make that kind of money.
So, I'm kind of caught in the middle. I'd love people to email their opinions (and whether or not they'd rather remain anonymous) to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll do a follow up blog post.