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  1. #1

    Default couples is way ahead of thing to come in USA

    Tipping Policy of the future!

    On a busy Friday night in New York’s East Village, the friendly and efficient servers at Dirt Candy took home zero dollars in tips, but they considered it a good night. When you’re a server on salary — rather than relying on often-mercurial guests for your financial livelihood — every night is a good night.


    The vegetarian restaurant is one of a handful of eateries across the country that are experimenting with a new model of compensating employees, with varying results. When Dirt Candy reopened in a larger space last month, chef-owner Amanda Cohen announced she was eliminating the line to write in a tip on her checks. Instead, a 20 percent “administrative fee” is tacked onto every bill and goes toward employee salaries, for both servers and cooks. The starting salary at Dirt Candy is $15 an hour, nearly twice the minimum wage in New York ($8.75), and three times the minimum wage for food service employees ($5) who get tips.

    “Everybody works for me,” said Cohen. “I should be the one to pay them.”

    It sounds so simple. But for her, the attempt to change tipping culture isn’t just an economic issue; it’s also an emotional one.

    “The idea that if you get bad service, you get to punish the server — that’s awful,” said Cohen. “All the negative comments have been, ‘But what if the service is bad?’ And my response is: ‘Then complain, say something to the manager, let the restaurant take care of it.’ Not, ‘I’m going to decide how much I’m going to pay you for your job.’ Nobody works that way except servers.”

    Why do we tip?

    As international travelers know, you don’t tip servers in many other countries around the world, where they’re more likely to be paid a living wage. That has led some U.S. restaurateurs to adopt the practices of their home countries: Because servers in Japan do not accept tips, Riki, an izakaya tucked away near Grand Central Station in New York, has signs posted at each tatami table that say: “Riki Restaurant is now a non-tipping establishment. Tipping is not required nor expected.”

    In the United States, tipping wasn’t prevalent until after the Civil War, and even then it was considered a vestige of Old Europe and wasn’t widely embraced. Back then, a few coins were all it took, and they were given at the beginning of the meal. An old story attributes the word “tip” to an acronym in British coffeehouses, where coin bowls had signs that said “To Insure Promptitude.”

    The average tip has increased over the decades, which is why you might find yourself sneaking an extra $10 onto the table after your 85-year-old uncle treats you to dinner and stiffs the server. The 10 percent tip that was the average in the 1940s has increased to a standard 20 percent.

    But if tips are to reward good service, shouldn’t we tip at the beginning of the meal? When you tip at the end, and you know you’ll never see that waiter again, why do it at all?

    Tipping boils down to guilt, says Michael Lynn, a professor of consumer behavior and marketing at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. “I personally believe that most people tip because of social expectations, and they want to avoid the disapproval that comes from violating that — which means they’re giving up money not to get anything, but to avoid a negative outcome,” said Lynn. “That suggests to me that overall, they would be better off if they didn’t have to tip at all.”

    Guests might think their tip reflects the service, but Lynn’s studies have found that most diners tip the same percentage, whether it’s 15 or 25 percent, every time they eat out. Therefore, studies have found, the best way a server can guarantee a night of good tips isn’t to provide the most personalized, meticulous service to a small number of tables and hope for a big tip from each; it’s to turn as many tables as possible, even if it leads to slightly worse service for everyone.

    That strategy “makes you less of a team player and more cutthroat,” said Nathan Wilkinson, who tends bar at the Crystal City McCormick and Schmick’s. “You want to bring in as much business for yourself, even to the point where you can’t handle it all. People go away feeling like they got bad service because you tried to take on too much.”


    Some industry veterans object to the very idea of a customer-dependent salary. Server performance, they believe, should be evaluated and rewarded solely by the restaurant’s management, rather than making every table into a mini HR department.

    When you stiff waiters for bad service, you might be penalizing them for something that’s not their fault, such as a backed-up kitchen. And you might be stiffing the rest of the staff, too: Many restaurants pool tips, and servers give a share of their tips to busboys and bartenders, and sometimes even the dishwasher and hosts. At corporate restaurants that electronically track and report tips for tax purposes, employees may be taxed on the full amount of the night’s tips, even though they have to distribute a portion of them to other staff members. Some restaurants also take credit card transaction fees out of their employees’ tips.

  2. #2

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    I can't see my local barkeeps agreeing to this. They make on average $400 per 8 hour shift. I can't see an establishment paying them $50 an hour.

    I talked to my husband who is in the service industry. He said there is no way he would work for a restaurant that only paid him a salary. He already refuses to work where he has to tip share.

    I don't think it will go over that well in the US. At least not out here in the Wild Wild West.
    Last edited by Coloradojuli; April 21st, 2015 at 04:09 PM.
    Juliann & Jeff
    Jamaica Soon Come

  3. #3

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    I also disagree with a 20% fee on my bill. I tip on the service I receive so if the service stunk the tip will too. If the food is bad I don't blame the server as it isn't there fault but I would mention a bad meal to a server after handing them there tip. Servers have a choice and an obligation to be kind and pleasant and such is how I base my tips.

  4. #4

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    How is this a no tipping policy?? This is a forced tip or call it whatever you want and the owner saying she should pay the servers, B.S. she may be writing their checks but the customers are still footing the bill regardless how you look at it. How much of that 20% does the owner pocket? I bet the servers and cooks don't get it all. Just charge a fair price for a meal, pay the staff what the job is worth and be like any other job.

    Quote Originally Posted by sandman View Post
    Tipping Policy of the future!

    On a busy Friday night in New York’s East Village, the friendly and efficient servers at Dirt Candy took home zero dollars in tips, but they considered it a good night. When you’re a server on salary — rather than relying on often-mercurial guests for your financial livelihood — every night is a good night.


    The vegetarian restaurant is one of a handful of eateries across the country that are experimenting with a new model of compensating employees, with varying results. When Dirt Candy reopened in a larger space last month, chef-owner Amanda Cohen announced she was eliminating the line to write in a tip on her checks. Instead, a 20 percent “administrative fee” is tacked onto every bill and goes toward employee salaries, for both servers and cooks. The starting salary at Dirt Candy is $15 an hour, nearly twice the minimum wage in New York ($8.75), and three times the minimum wage for food service employees ($5) who get tips.

    “Everybody works for me,” said Cohen. “I should be the one to pay them.”

    It sounds so simple. But for her, the attempt to change tipping culture isn’t just an economic issue; it’s also an emotional one.

    “The idea that if you get bad service, you get to punish the server — that’s awful,” said Cohen. “All the negative comments have been, ‘But what if the service is bad?’ And my response is: ‘Then complain, say something to the manager, let the restaurant take care of it.’ Not, ‘I’m going to decide how much I’m going to pay you for your job.’ Nobody works that way except servers.”

    Why do we tip?

    As international travelers know, you don’t tip servers in many other countries around the world, where they’re more likely to be paid a living wage. That has led some U.S. restaurateurs to adopt the practices of their home countries: Because servers in Japan do not accept tips, Riki, an izakaya tucked away near Grand Central Station in New York, has signs posted at each tatami table that say: “Riki Restaurant is now a non-tipping establishment. Tipping is not required nor expected.”

    In the United States, tipping wasn’t prevalent until after the Civil War, and even then it was considered a vestige of Old Europe and wasn’t widely embraced. Back then, a few coins were all it took, and they were given at the beginning of the meal. An old story attributes the word “tip” to an acronym in British coffeehouses, where coin bowls had signs that said “To Insure Promptitude.”

    The average tip has increased over the decades, which is why you might find yourself sneaking an extra $10 onto the table after your 85-year-old uncle treats you to dinner and stiffs the server. The 10 percent tip that was the average in the 1940s has increased to a standard 20 percent.

    But if tips are to reward good service, shouldn’t we tip at the beginning of the meal? When you tip at the end, and you know you’ll never see that waiter again, why do it at all?

    Tipping boils down to guilt, says Michael Lynn, a professor of consumer behavior and marketing at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. “I personally believe that most people tip because of social expectations, and they want to avoid the disapproval that comes from violating that — which means they’re giving up money not to get anything, but to avoid a negative outcome,” said Lynn. “That suggests to me that overall, they would be better off if they didn’t have to tip at all.”

    Guests might think their tip reflects the service, but Lynn’s studies have found that most diners tip the same percentage, whether it’s 15 or 25 percent, every time they eat out. Therefore, studies have found, the best way a server can guarantee a night of good tips isn’t to provide the most personalized, meticulous service to a small number of tables and hope for a big tip from each; it’s to turn as many tables as possible, even if it leads to slightly worse service for everyone.

    That strategy “makes you less of a team player and more cutthroat,” said Nathan Wilkinson, who tends bar at the Crystal City McCormick and Schmick’s. “You want to bring in as much business for yourself, even to the point where you can’t handle it all. People go away feeling like they got bad service because you tried to take on too much.”


    Some industry veterans object to the very idea of a customer-dependent salary. Server performance, they believe, should be evaluated and rewarded solely by the restaurant’s management, rather than making every table into a mini HR department.

    When you stiff waiters for bad service, you might be penalizing them for something that’s not their fault, such as a backed-up kitchen. And you might be stiffing the rest of the staff, too: Many restaurants pool tips, and servers give a share of their tips to busboys and bartenders, and sometimes even the dishwasher and hosts. At corporate restaurants that electronically track and report tips for tax purposes, employees may be taxed on the full amount of the night’s tips, even though they have to distribute a portion of them to other staff members. Some restaurants also take credit card transaction fees out of their employees’ tips.

  5. #5

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    Europe has had this model for ages. It really does work, and provides a living wage that doesn't hinge on people understanding complicated math like percentages.

  6. #6

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    Glad to see that Amanda Cohen is so generous with other people's money. Things to come in USA? We're already there! By the way, check out the prices at this place:

    http://www.dirtcandynyc.com/menus

    $25 for a plate of carrots? With that markup she should be able to pay all her employees about $30 an hour!
    Last edited by Gin Mon; April 21st, 2015 at 06:04 PM.

  7. #7

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    "“Everybody works for me,” said Cohen. “I should be the one to pay them.”

    " Amanda Cohen announced she was eliminating the line to write in a tip on her checks. Instead, a 20 percent “administrative fee” is tacked onto every bill and goes toward employee salaries, for both servers and cooks. "

    Sounds like some of that big city logic us bumpkins have heard so much about.

    Seems like all they're doing is saying, "hey, you want to eat here? Then you are going to automatically pay the servers 20%"

    This is what here in the Ozarks we call peeing on your leg and telling you it's raining.

  8. #8

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    I'm shocked at the outrage in the replies so far... 1) I think you guys should take a look at other menus from comparable restaurants in NY... The prices are not that out of line... 2) This MB is for those of us who either have had or want to have an experience free from the quality of service you receive being dependent on the potential tip they will receive. 3) For those that have experienced this at Couples, you have paid the gratuity already when you book so how is this ANY different? 4) She is an independent self-employed owner, she doesn't have to answer to any of us!! If you protest her opinions on the topic the simple solution is not to patronize an establishment with this policy... But I forgot, you would all rather sound off and complain online... 5) This is likely a MUCH more efficient way to handle things rather than pooling all tips at the end of the night and splitting them up. They receive a very fair salary and that is what the 20% is going towards… A happier employee makes for a happy establishment all around!! How many of you would be upset if you worked for her? Exactly… It really is sad that so many “One Love” “Is good mon” shouters are so quick to jump all over someone that has made something of herself and is brave enough to do something different… Sad day on the MB… And before you all jump to further conclusions, no I do work in the food service industry nor do I agree that fast food workers should get $15/hr...

  9. #9

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    I am in the UK where tipping is completely voluntary. Very expensive restaurants do add a service charge but this is not the norm.
    We have been to the U.S. many times and I love it apart from the tipping! I find it rather sad that the servers have to be over nice just to get a tip.
    In the UK we would give 15 - 20% for a nice meal, but it is up to the diners....if you did not tip, you would still be treated the same on a return visit.
    I find tipping rather demeaning......no offence to those of you in the U.S. ....just a difference of culture!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfhary20 View Post
    . . . .2) This MB is for those of us who either have had or want to have an experience free from the quality of service you receive being dependent on the potential tip they will receive. 3) For those that have experienced this at Couples, you have paid the gratuity already when you book so how is this ANY different?
    It is? According to whom?

    I think this MB is for past and future guests of Couples and for those wanting to learn more about the resorts before deciding if they want to become future guests. I don't recall reading anywhere--and I've been a MB member for more than 10 years--that this MB is solely intended for those seeking a gratuity-free vacation.

    IT IS DIFFERENT than Couples because Couples doesn't charge you a certain price for your vacation and then tack on another 20 percent. The "gratuity" is included in the price. The restaurant, on the other hand, indicates the cost of the food item but then tacks on an additional 20 percent. Call it a gratuity or an "administrative fee," if the cost of my dinner is $100 but I'm required to pay $120, you're making me pay a mandatory percentage over and above the price charged for the dinner; that's not what Couples does.

  11. #11

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    Take a deep breathe Pamela... Of course I am not saying the MB is ONLY for tip free vacationers, that is ludicrous... However if you have been or are planning to vacation at a Couples resort, you either have or plan to participate in an extremely similar program... However since we agree that Couples adds the gratuity to the overall price... From your comments it would seem as though if she just increased the cost of every menu item 20% instead of calling it out on the receipt then you would be fine with it? six to one, half dozen to the other isn't it? People jumped all over her for the 20% "whatever" fee because they were concerned about service since the staff would no longer be working for a tip... I would venture to guess that these servers are some of the best and happiest around! Whatever happened to giving people the benefit of the doubt?!?! However, if you were to receive poor service and made it known to management I'm sure they would be picking up a portion of the bill or negating the 20% fee so the argument is really baseless... Again we are talking a lot of "what if's" here and I am just saying that if this is a such a big issue to some of you then the simply don't go there... Personally I feel it could be a great thing for the industry considering it is and has been the norm in many places worldwide and I would happily give it a try. If it doesn't work out for her, lesson learned, if it does, she's gone out on a ledge and succeeded! Why are we knocking for this? Either way this is clearly people being typical "internet cynics" for whatever reason and feeling justified (behind a computer screen) in blasting her for taking a risk...

  12. #12

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    My daughter is a server at an Steakhouse both in Mass while she is at college and at home in RI when she is on break. She has her regulars who ask for her by name and will wait to sit in her section. These are the guests that usually tip far above the 18% average tip rates here in RI. My thoughts on this are she would end up losing money if the hourly wage was instituted. She almost always averages 25% at the end of the week. That includes the people that tip $5.00 on a 65.00 bill or those that are using gift cards and tip on what they are actually paying and not the cost of the bill. As for Couples, I dont look at it as being charged a tip because tipping is not allowed. What we pay is the cost of an All Inclusive vacation that my mind and body cannot live without. I know that I would not want to be tipping on every meal and every drink because I would not be able to go every year. I think we are getting a deal. The restaurants are not all inclusive the resort is. IMO.
    Julie & Ric (Rhode Island)
    COR 1998, 2000, CN 2008, 2009, CSA 2013, CSA 2014, CTI 2015, CSS 2015, CSA 2016

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfhary20 View Post
    . . . From your comments it would seem as though if she just increased the cost of every menu item 20% instead of calling it out on the receipt then you would be fine with it? . . . Personally I feel it could be a great thing for the industry considering it is and has been the norm in many places worldwide and I would happily give it a try. If it doesn't work out for her, lesson learned, if it does, she's gone out on a ledge and succeeded! Why are we knocking for this? Either way this is clearly people being typical "internet cynics" for whatever reason and feeling justified (behind a computer screen) in blasting her for taking a risk...
    I'm not criticizing the restaurant owner's decision to charge an administrative fee in lieu of guests paying a tip; I merely challenged the contention that this is akin to what Couples does. The price quoted by Couples is the price you pay (plus taxes); the price quoted by most American restaurants is not the amount that you pay. In addition to taxes, you're expected to pay a 20% gratuity, or in the case of Dirt Candy, you're assessed a mandatory 20% "service fee." From a customer's perspective, there's little difference between a restaurant that charges a service fee in lieu of a tip and a restaurant at which traditional tipping is the norm.

    Couples is more akin to restaurants in some other countries in which no gratuity is added. If you're in a restaurant in Italy, for example, and the phrase “servizio incluso" is on the menu, then you know that a service charge/gratuity is built into the pricing scheme and that you're only expected to pay for the amount on the bill when it is presented. That is more akin to what Couples does.
    Last edited by Pamela; May 1st, 2015 at 05:56 PM.

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