Tipping too unstable

It’s time the archaic practice of tipping was put to rest in favour of a more stable gratuity tax.

As it stands, restaurant servers in Ontario earn wages below the provincial minimum, and are dependent on tips to supplement their income. Tipping perpetuates a power imbalance within the service industry, where a server’s livelihood is determined on a stranger’s whim.

Incorporating a standard tax into meal costs would be a much more stable and equitable system.

Those in favour of tipping say it encourages good service and punishes bad service. However, if service at a restaurant is subpar, it’s more effective to inform a manager than to passive-aggressively deny an employee their chance at an adequate income. There are too many variables that influence the dining experience. A server shouldn’t be punished if the food was late or not up to par, because they can’t control all restaurant operations.

Tipping is an ambiguous practice in itself. We tip servers, hair stylists and cab drivers only because it’s customary, but other types of service workers are left without.

A major concern with no-tipping policies is that servers might feel as though they don’t have to provide quality service.

But working within the service industry is just like any other job that doesn’t have tips.

There are other factors that motivate us to do our job well: recognition, the possibility of a promotion and more.

All jobs have requirements, and for servers it’s to provide good service. If they’re not doing their job, it won’t go unnoticed by their managers.

The division of tips between restaurant employees is flawed. Many places pool and distribute tips between servers, bussers, hosts and dishwashers, which can cause needless tension and stress among staff.

In addition, tipping facilitates discrimination towards both the tipper and the tippee. Some servers have claimed to prefer not to have mothers, children, students or people of certain races seated in their section, because they believe they’ll receive smaller tips.

On the other hand, some customers have claimed to favour more attractive and flirtatious servers.

Overall, the tipping system lacks consistency and regulation.

The minimum wage for servers should be increased to the same level as everyone else’s to ensure stability.

Journal Editorial Board

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