Talking About Tipping

If you couldn’t tell by my pool shot from yesterday, we’re currently on vacation in Florida. On our trip out from Denver, I had two instances where I was asked to tip for service.

Once when I was picking up two breakfast sandwiches and coffee at a quick restaurant prior to boarding. The sandwiches took maybe 30 seconds to make, and the coffees took less than that.

Again when we bought lunch at Crispers. I was presented with the option to tip when I initially ordered.

I have absolutely no problem with tipping for great service at a restaurant. I’ll tip 20% as a base and then more if the service is particularly awesome. In these instances, a few things struck me as odd:

  • I had no idea where my tip was going. In a restaurant setting, I assume it goes to the person that served me. In both of the cases above, I have no clue.
  • In the second instance, I had to tip before I even got my food. I’m not exactly sure what my tip should be based on? The most interaction I’d received was someone taking my order.
  • In a restaurant, I assume that at least part of the staff’s salary is coming from my tip. In less traditional restaurants (think cafes and such), I’m not sure how it’s setup. Is this just icing on the cake or an essential part of their wage?

These thoughts reminded me of restaurateur Danny Meyer and his efforts to remove tipping at his restaurants. Tipping definitely feels like a weird practice. I often wish the tip was just baked into the price (like it is in other countries outside the US), and the whole awkward practice was removed.

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