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DoorDash Changes Tipping Model After Uproar (nytimes.com)
196 points by mcgwiz 32 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 318 comments



My biggest gripe with tipping culture right now is the number of services and establishments that think it's okay to tip ahead of time.

If I sit down at a restaurant, and get served well, I'll leave a tip at the end when I pay. Hell, even if the service isn't great I'll still leave a bit of a tip.

But now there's this idea that you should tip for service... before you get served. The tip jars at Starbucks, apps that ask you to input your tip before you get your delivery, POS systems that ask for a tip, etc. There's no way I'll ever tip before service, and probably won't after either if the business is audacious enough to ask for a tip when they're using a pay-before business model.

I'm looking forward to seeing how long it takes for self-service gas pumps to start asking for tips. After all, there's an attendant inside keeping an eye on you, so that's a service right?


This is so annoying! It's like an automatic thing now when paying in a trendy store using an iPad. It's like, I just ordered, but before I've even gotten my goods, I'm presented with a dialogue on whether I want to pay 5%, 10%, 15% tip (or "no tip" as a small button at the bottom).

I'm sure these businesses have found that merely including the dialogue = free money, so why wouldn't they?


I've had several experiences lately where the tip dialog only offered 15/20/25% or "other" (which could be used as "none")


Last chain restaurant I ate at had a little 'tablet on your table' for drinks/apps/paying. The base option for tipping was set at 25% with a slider up and down.


I especially like the ones that offer you "quick" options of 20%, 25%, 30%. I think they're just banking on people pressing the middle button as quickly as possible without looking at it.


You’re right! People don’t select the lowest number because they don’t want to seem cheap. People don’t select the highest number either because that of course costs more money. Shifting the middle number from 20% to 25% leads to more tip dollars.


Lately I've also been seeing just the dollar amounts as "quick" options, without the percentage. Relying on people not being able to do quick math, I suppose.


It's just panhandling if you ask for a tip before you've done any service. And it's offensive to get panhandled by a commercial enterprise.


I agree - I think it's an absolute misunderstanding of what a tip means. It completely removes incentive for the dasher to follow delivery instructions, grab extra napkins, ensure food is stored upright, etc. I would be so much more on board with agreeing to a set tip amount beforehand if I don't manually enter one after the food was delivered after x amount of time..


You can just go back and put your tip in the Starbucks tip jar after you have received your service. Also if you pay with the Starbucks mobile app you can add a tip for up to 2 hours after your order is complete.


I don't understand tipping at places like Starbucks. There is no service and the employees are paid a full wage. I don't tip at 7-11 either.


I don’t get it either. I just don’t go to Starbucks.


I was amazed a few months ago when Instacart managed the uproar over this same practice and DoorDash apparently calculated that Instacart would take the brunt of the outrage and they would be able to keep their heads down and let it blow over without making any changes. That was stupid and it was only a matter of time before the next reporter noticed it and it would blow up again.

The correct evil strategy seems to be what Instacart is doing now which is to make a complicated algorithm so opaque that nobody understands it so it's difficult for it to generate outrage.


With the slippery language about the "model" and the future disclosure of said model, I think DoorDash will do something like you describe. Because it takes fewer words to say "Going forward all Dasher's will earn the guaranteed rate plus any tips".


I think tipping is ingrained in American culture because of the lack of price transparency throughout this economy. This has been a recent topic of discussion in regards to healthcare but it also shows up in retail, where the shelf price is not reflective of sales taxes, and when booking services like flights and hotels where "resort fees" and "baggage fees" rear their ugly head last minute.

I've even seen "no tipping" restaurants do the same with a fine print saying that a 15-18% gratuity will be charged on top of my order, well.. why aren't all the dishes simply 15-18% more expensive then?


> I think tipping is ingrained in American culture

Tipping is ingrained in American culture because there's an insane disparity between rich and poor and it makes the rich feel better about themselves (and those who do it but wish they didn't then peer pressure their friends into doing it. See the current wave of articles about tipping hotel staff claiming that its the norm even though only a third of people do).

Its stupid and simply shouldn't be a thing. Especially since it means employees' salaries effectively end up at the mercy of customers, and customers are not regulated (eg: there is NOTHING stopping customers from being racist/sexist/bigoted/whatever like there is employers, so pay could theoretically vary drastically and there's fuck all they could do about it).


It's not about making rich people feel better about themselves. In the case of restaurants at least, in the US servers are often paid below minimum wage, because the employer claims that the bulk of their employees' wages come from tips.

That's not anyone making anyone else feel guilty or good or bad about themselves, rather that's an entire industry that has been allowed through actual legislation to shift the burden of paying their employees from themselves to their own customers. That's the root of it. And those customers have no obligation to actually give anyone any money. It's a really screwed up system, and like you say it's completely unregulated and opens the door for all kinds of awful dynamics around racism/sexism/etc.

So, if someone stiffs their server in a restaurant in spite of their friends trying to guilt them into tipping, the person stiffing the server is truly the asshole in that situation. Yeah, the whole system's screwed up, it shouldn't be like that, it's all a big scam, but the service industry people shouldn't be the ones to get screwed over it. I'm not accusing anyone here of doing this, it's just something I've witnessed. I.e., someone who thinks they're really teaching someone (not sure who) a lesson about how much they detest expectations around tipping by stiffing their server or always leaving lousy tips. Whenever I've seen this happen, all I've seen was a rich person being shitty to a poor person to send a message to the poor person's employer that the employer never receives. I'm as annoyed by expectations around tipping as anyone, but hopefully everyone realizes that the restaurant server situation is very different from most other situations (valet, hotel employee, etc.).


> In the case of restaurants at least, in the US servers are often paid below minimum wage

As mentioned in a lot of industries outside of restaurants people behave the same way even though it's not true. A lot of restaurants pay at least minimum wage, and not all states allow lower minimum wage, yet the culture is EXACTLY the same. Plus, anecdotal, but I know plenty of folks who will fully admit to tipping because they feel it makes them better people (though not in those words). And try never tipping for a few weeks, you bet your ass some people will try to make you feel bad. I've seen people genuinely forget and the servers would run out of the restaurant to tell at them.

Yes, in some industries people are paid less than minimum wage but the culture would be the same either way. It's also a chicken and the egg situation.


I don't think that's the problem. I'm American and I'll generalize a bit and say Americans are generally comfortable with tipping as long as the service is a differentiator for what you receive (full service restaurants, hair stylists, drivers, bartenders). The recent frustration has been the explosion of tipping where service has nothing to do with the experience, like fast food restaurants or low cost coffee shops.


No we are not comfortable with tipping. Many people like me do not tip even though we get weird looks or the occasional angry waiter.


Even if you aren't comfortable with it you ought to do it in America. Your protest only hurts the underpaid laborer.


I believe it doesn’t. I go to expensive restaurants and bars mostly where waiters and bartenders get way overpaid due to tipping. If it has any impact, it will help smaller waiters/bartenders that do not work in busy places and suffer from their employers not paying them a normal wage.


Here's a good, brief article that sums this up pretty well: http://www.grubstreet.com/2019/04/how-to-tip.html

Until I read that, I honestly didn't know that people tip on top of the tax. I was firmly in the "tip 18 percent, before tax" camp and assumed I was leaving a good tip by doing so. I'll admit that I was a bit outraged after reading the article because it made me feel like a cheapskate over something that had never even occurred to me before.

What other tipping faux pas am I unknowingly making?


When I'm king this will count as false advertising. The biggest printed price must be the price you pay, by default, unless you specifically ask for something unusual.


A bunch of restaurants actually include the tip in prices, there are lists online and you can encourage this practice by eating out there.

IMO you can also encourage this practice by not tipping.


DoorDash CEO: "our average contribution to Dashers stayed the same"

What weird, coded language. They're not "paying employees." They're "contributing" to "Dashers." At first, I figured this was just a way to avoid saying that they're independent contractors, but this seems even more vague than THAT.

Why, legally, would they say "contributions" rather than "pay?" It seems like there's a different distinction from the independent contractor one.


Because. DoorDash would not like you to think it's that you paying DoorDash and DoorDash paying Dashers. That would, in fact, make them independent contractors.

Instead, DoorDash would like you to think that you are paying the Dasher directly. DoorDash provided you a platform to find a Dasher and enter into a delivery agreement with them. And DoorDash is graciously "contributing" to the Dasher's income. This would make them no more an independent contractor than someone looking for work on Craigslist.

I don't think this holds up because DoorDash is custodial of the money before it reaches the Dasher's wallet, and because from the customer's perspective, they're ordering delivery from DoorDash, not a Dasher. But that's just my idle speculation.


How is what you're describing different than a freelancing platform like upwork?

I'm sure the service terms are different but in upwork's case, they're also acting as the escrow and taking a cut.


> “Going forward,” DoorDash’s chief executive, Tony Xu, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday night, “we’re changing our model — the new model will ensure that Dashers’ earnings will increase by the exact amount a customer tips on every order. We’ll have specific details in the coming days.”

> Under the policy, which the company adopted in 2017, DoorDash would offer a Dasher a guaranteed minimum amount to do a delivery. If a customer tipped, in most cases a tip paid through the app would go to subsidizing DoorDash’s contribution toward the guarantee, rather than increasing the Dasher’s pay.

> For example, if DoorDash guaranteed a worker $7 for a delivery and a customer did not tip, DoorDash would directly pay the worker $7. If the customer tipped $3 via the app, DoorDash would directly pay the worker only $4, then add on the $3 tip so that the worker would still get only $7.

And this is one more reason why I have and will not ever leave a digital tip.

Yes I know how tipping aggregates for wait staff (and I think that’s stupid...) but this is different. These are independent contractors paid to do a job. If they agree to do it for $X then that should come out of the pocket of the company hiring them. Any tip is over the top.

I hope they (DoorDash) get sued by their customers for deception, lose in court, and a precedent gets set to end this nonsense.


Postmates opens a tipping modal after a delivery that CANNOT BE CLOSED without inputting a tip and clicking submit. You literally have to type 0.00 and click submit to continue to use the app. I grew up in a strong tipping household (both parents worked service jobs) and usually tip very highly, but everyone should have the right not to tip if they don't want to (with no shaming or prodding) and companies should not subsidize their operational costs by dark patterning customers into tipping.... grr.

At the same time I hypocritically am a power user of many "gig economy" apps like uber, ubereats, postmates, etc. so I am contributing to the problem more than most.


I simply don't understand tipping before service. I have had multiple occasions where the delivery is either delayed, food items missing, delivery guy calling me and asking me to walk up to him/her because he/she doesn't want to deal with parking etc. But, still expected norm is to pay a tip in advance and hope for good service. And, in case you had a bad experience, well you rewarded the service with a tip in advance anyway.


It's been a while since I last used their service, but I think they allow you to modify your tip after the delivery has been made.


Even with that feature, not sure if that sounds justifiable to some but that just seems even stranger than paying a tip upfront to me.

If I buy a couch online, how would it feel if the retail website has a optional 15% tip for the delivery guy opted in by default in the checkout flow. And, provide an option to modify the 15% in case your couch was delivered late or damaged. Somehow, this workflow is widely accepted when its food delivery :)

No idea, why is it expected to tip delivery persons for some commodities while its not expected for some other :) Same thing, its expected to tip a driver for a shared lyft/uber but not expected to tip a bus driver. It's just funny at this point :)


I don't mind tipping, but if I'm paying the delivery guy myself, then what the hell is postmates charging me a delivery fee for?

I have no idea what I'm paying for and who gets what. It's confusing. So i've been just tipping 3 bucks.


and lyft tipping dialog does not allow to enter fraction of a dollar. that's all pretty annoying when you have specific rule to tip specific % of the bill and can not do that.


> I hope they (DoorDash) get sued by their customers for deception, lose in court, and a precedent gets set to end this nonsense.

Unfortunately, this will never happen, because their terms of service includes a binding arbitration clause. (Some of us noticed in time to opt out, but surely not the critical mass needed for a class action.)


On the other hand it might be straight up wage theft, which is a criminal matter.

Californian drivers should file a claim with the Department of Industrial Relations: https://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/howtofilewageclaim.htm


If you managed to opt out then find an attorney to file a class action. Force DoorDash to make the case that you don’t have enough people to get the class certified, don’t do the hard part for them by just assuming it.


> Yes I know how tipping aggregates for wait staff

Quite a few states require wait staff/others to be paid the full minimum wage before tips: https://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm


I don't know how what the actual agreement was, but couldn't this be very reasonably structured as a form of insurance/derivative? Like, if I'm a pizza delivery guy, I have some expected stream of tips with a variance. If the total tips I receive in a year is usually in the range $300 - $1000, it may be that I'd much rather have a guaranteed $500 than take the risk, so I might buy insurance from a 3rd party (doesn't have to be my employer), who pays me $500 in exchange for the rights to my tips. This doesn't seem immoral/deceptive to me, and is probably financial equivalent to the DoorDash model.


Depends on whether the delivery person has access to the information about the tips and whether they can opt out.

If they don't see the different payouts that come with different customer tips and they can't opt out, it's not very equivalent.


Why does it depend on whether the delivery person can opt out of tip-sharing? Those are contractual terms just like any other contractual terms.


It matters for the comparison to a financial product. It if is a mandatory term of employment, it isn't comparable to a financial product.


I agree this is potentially relevant, thanks!


Just a nit, I’m curious how they can guarantee full payout ($7/$7) without mentioning merchant processing fees? Does the company pay those or is it implied that $7 on full payout would actually be $6.80 after fees? I couldn’t see it being sustainable to absorb the extra fee, but if it is withheld, it seems misleading to not mention it.

(Technically, this question could apply to the tipping industry as a whole)


DoorDash has surcharges on top of surcharges to cover their costs, and frequently mark up menu price as well. They can eat $0.20.


I received some huge % off an order from them, recently, and tried the service for the first and last time. I had to hunt to find a place to order from that wasn't absurdly expensive even with the discount. Menu prices were significantly higher than real menu prices in most cases, hiding the actual cost of the service, which did have a fee on top of that, and making it so instead of the delivery cost kinda flattening out the more you order like it does with, say, normal pizza delivery, it got higher and higher the more you ordered.


This doesn't change anything. DoorDash will lower the base pay of the orders, meaning the total compensation for Dashers will remain the same.

DoorDash has a model for what it considers "fair compensation" for an order. Since the company can see exactly what the customers tip in advance, they'll just subtract the tip amount from their previously calculated "fair compensation" and show that base pay / tip breakdown to the Dashers. DoorDash isn't going to suddenly increase its Dashers' pay by 50%.

If you want to actually compensate the Dashers, tip $0 in the app (raising base pay) and hand them cash at the door. That seems to be the only way to get around this policy.


It does change something. DoorDash's old policy, weird as it is, reduces variability of daily pay for the Dashers. It literally put a derivative structure onto the Dasher pay that reduces volatility -- the pay was cash plus a call option on the tip. Now they will get cash plus the tip. Obviously DoorDash will tune their base pay, but they can't meet the prior model's mean and variance at the same time. How Dashers balance those two is unclear, but generally people need a higher mean to accept higher variance.

The problem is that the old policy only works if the customers don't understand it, and maybe even seems generally unethical.


It was very unethical. Calling something a tip implies a lot in the US and in most other industries the tip legally can't be taken by the employer and compensation has to at least total to the minimum wage.


Wasn't what they were doing exactly the same mechanics as how typical tipped employee salary work, just at a different threshold?

Eg, in Mass, it looks like tipped employee minimum wage is 4.35, and tipped wage plus tip must be $12/hour. If the employee doesn't get any tip, the employer has to foot the difference.

So for all practical purpose, all the tips you give up to $12/hour are simply saving the employer money but don't change anything for the employee unless they do dodgy shit like not declaring cash tips.

Yeah, the whole system is bullshit which is why we should abolish tips altogether in favor of proper minimum wages (or higher for professions that usually get a lot from tips like bartenders)


Restaurants have to make up the difference for the whole pay period, not per-order, which means any individual tip goes 100% to the waiter. And restaurants expect that they don't have to make up the difference because waiter pay after tips is expected to exceed minimum wage. So the rule where the restaurant has to make up the difference is just the loophole that lets them get away with paying less than minimum wage in the first place.

Whereas DoorDash's model was set such that you had to tip over $10 for the dasher to see a single cent of it. This meant that nearly all tips went to DoorDash instead of to the dasher, because I have to imagine most orders don't have a >$10 tip on them. And this was calculated per-order instead of per pay period, which mean that, as a customer, your individual tip was going to the company instead of to the dasher.


> Restaurants have to make up the difference for the whole pay period, not per-order, which means any individual tip goes 100% to the waiter.

That is definitely not a useful place to use "which means".


In other words, customers noticed that a fair tip is more than they want to pay, so they got mad at DoorDash instead of paying their servant.


And you are here, blaming the customers instead of DoorDash for taking money intended for the dashers?? Might as well go pick up the thing myself, or hell, just make my own food at that point, then neither you or the company will receive even a cent. It is disingenuous to characterize the customers here as masters and the dashers as servants. You provide a service of your own will and customers pay for it.


Tipping over $10 on a $20 order is not anybody's idea of a "fair tip".


Doordash iirc took the tips out of /every/ transaction not just the initial 5-10 dollars per hour (the difference between minimum wage and tipped minimum wage) like restaurants do so they were profiting from every tip. Restaurants only really get the benefit of the first couple tips given each hour and depending on the restaurant cost, the ratio of servers to tables and the turnover rate the first 2-4 tips of every hour likely cover the difference the restaurant is making with anything else going to the customer (I'd love to have some actual numbers here from servers but the math makes sense). So in general unless it's a slow time your tip probably actually goes to the serving staff instead of just benefiting the restaurant.


Exactly. I didn't really understand the outcry, unless people in the USA just don't understand fully how tipping works. It's exactly the same model that restaurants use.


> unless people in the USA just don't understand fully how tipping works.

Every "outrage" in the US consists mostly of shit people don't understand. That doesn't mean they're wrong about the cause, but you can be "right" for the "wrong reason".

In this case, yes, DoorDash employees are getting screwed. At the -same time-, DoorDash is doing nothing weird or outside of the norm.

The solution is wrong. People are trying to get 1-2 companies to make tipping a little less bullshit, when its tipping itself, across the entire country, that is broken.


One important distinction to me is DoorDash took benefit from every single tip while restaurants only benefit on the first couple tips until the difference between minimum wage and the tipped minimum wage is negated. After that all tip benefits go directly to the person being tipped where people expect it to go. Generally, depending on a lot of variables, after the first handful (I’m ball parking 2-4) of tips that gap should be covered and most times servers should see way more than that in tips.


I think it's more likely that you don't know how tipping works in restaurants. While the restaurant can take tipping in account when setting their hourly wage, they cannot garnish, in real time, larger or smaller portions of each individual tip a waiter earns on each ticket.


That's just a difference in model, and "gig economy" vs traditional. I'm not saying they work identically - they can't. But it obviously didn't start out that way with restaurants, and I doubt it will with DoorDash for long. Once they have an idea of average tips in markets, expect them to set a flat per delivery rate that is much lower, and let tips be tips.


Yes, it's the same. Ultimately the worker has two paymasters who also pay each other and money is fungible. The faux moralism is just the two parties -- corporate, and customer, jockeying for how to split the money the worker earns. And the poor worker doesn't even get a voice.


I tend to agree, yet I also believe if I'm not mistaken this is kind of how servers at restaurants work too. They have some minimal base wage, then tips. If their tips do not take them to minimum wage, the employer must pay the difference to get them to minimum wage. In essence, we as customers are subsidizing the restaurant owners to get their employees to at least minimum wage pay. So the question is why are we just now getting outraged when this has been being done to people for a while in certain places, and is still happening to servers but it's somehow not complained about that I'm aware of.

edit: looks like it depends on which state you're in in USA on this. Mostly West Coast seems to have 'sane' ones: https://www.dol.gov/whd/state/tipped.htm


Generally though once a server has gotten a couple tables (2-4 maybe but it depends a lot on the local tipping culture and the restaurant) done all of the rest of the money tipped is all extra and unless it’s a really slow day most tips are going to the server. DoorDash applied their adjustment to every single order so unless a driver was tipped more than a certain amount (I’ve heard $10) they never received the tip.

Also there’s a decent amount of talk about how bad tipping is and talks about getting rid of it but it’s a culturally ingrained thing so it’s not going to go easily, especially as it benefits restaurant owners so they’re unlikely to change unless there’s a lot of social and business pressure to do so.


All of what you say seems basically true, I still don't understand why the tipping subsidizing what restaurateur should pay as wages isn't even seen as much of an issue but DD drivers should be a special case, is all, other than "we're more used to it at restaurants so it's fine"


Most tips actually go straight to the employee after the first few dollars tipped every hour where DoorDash took 100% of tips below $10 on every order.

For example: In my state of NC for example minimum wage is $7.25/h and tipped minimum wage is $2.13/h so any money tipped after the first $5.12/h is all going to the employee. $5 worth of tips isn't that much to get per hour even averaging across a whole shift that includes both a mealtime rush and some off hours.


It's not a matter of agreement, it's a violation of federal labor law for people not involved in the service from taking any portion of a tip. Tony Xu was taking parts of tips to reduce the company's wage commitments.


And my point was in various US states this is apparently legal to do if you trade Tony Xu for some restaurant owner and DD drivers for servers. So why has it been Ok for restaurants to do this? Does a different law apply to DD situation?


It's been OK for restaurants because the tipped wage was a fixed number.


You say Tony was taking tips, Tony says he was grossing up workers who don't earn enough tips. The whole outrage is people want to pay less than the job is worth and then blame Tony for it from his side.


No, the model was to pay $X unless there's a tip, in which case Tony takes it and pays $X-$tip (unless the tip is over 100%?). Management is taking tips, which is hella illegal and has been (to varying degrees) for quite some time, certainly since before DD existed. tl;dr: wage+tips, not wage-tips.


It's unethical, but only to the customer, not the deliveryperson. Except to whatever extent market wages are unethical.


Yes, but that's unethical enough to condemn, isn't it? I mean, I was personally horrified that the "tip" that DoorDash had been soliciting with that attractively placed button was in fact really a tip to the parent company and not the dasher. I feel defrauded, and would really like that tip money back.

Whether tips or regular wages are better or not is an endless argument, and it doesn't seem like dashers are particularly exploited relative to other gig economy jobs.

But still... that fake "tip" button was designed to exploit my emotional desire to fairly compensate low wage workers to goose DoorDash's revenue numbers, and that sucks.


They don't work for DoorDash however, they're contractors who are agreeing to terms with DoorDash.


Most people don't really get the contractor/employee split that all these companies take advantage of and even then the word TIP has certain implications. If I tip someone well I expect the worker to get more not for the company employing or contracting them to pay less, I want the money to go to the person not the company.

Even in the US where tips go against wages it's not so bad, generally the first tip or two will cover the difference and workers are probably doing way better than that. Doordash on the other hand applied the same thing to /every/ order.


It's going to be a sad day if the argument in court is that the customer is "tipping DoorDash" (and not the actual delivery contractor).


I don't think that justifies wage theft.


Didn't say it did, but it's a very relevant point in all of these discussions as normal wage law can get tricky when you're involved with contracted services.

DoorDash can claim they aren't paying for the time, but for the service. And how long that service takes is the responsibility of the contractor.

Is it dirty? Very. Does that make it untrue? No.

So the first step in any of these cases is to get these gig economy apps to admit that they're just trying to circumvent wage law by classifying employees as contracted services.


They can offer a "performance"-based weekly "bonus" which would be the difference for under-tipped people. Normalizing the same pay on a weekly (or daily) basis.


> but they can't meet the prior model's mean and variance at the same time.

They could just like, pay them a monthly wage, like everyone else in the civilized world?


Like everyone else not in gig-economy jobs. The "individual contractors" hiring structure is established in almost every country (where legally possible) for companies like Uber, food delivery, etc. This is not US-specific phenomenon.


But isn't this how almost all tipping already works?

I worked at restaurants where I had to report my tips or share them. If I dipped below minimum wage for the month, the restaurant was supposed to add whatever difference was needed (never saw it happen, btw).

So if DoorDash lowers the base pay, I don't see why anyone should die on DoorDash's hill when the base pay of all restaurants around them is a hilarious $2.15/hour. DoorDash pays a minimum of $1 per delivery no matter the tip.

Before people get too angry at DoorDash, they should realize this is ubiquitous.

We're never going to evolve away from tipping culture if our only trick is to get outraged at one company at a time that makes the mistake of having the spotlight fall on them.


It doesn't have to work like this. We could pay folks a proper wage, and let them also keep their tips. When I was a pizza delivery driver, I got paid an hourly wage that started at minimum wage and increased after certain periods of work experience. In addition I got a delivery fee per order delivered during a shift, and on top of that I got to keep all tips given to me by the customers. So in practice, I was probably making double minimum wage on a moderately busy night. I was aghast that the in-restaurant wait staff got paid a significantly smaller hourly rate and were expected to make it up in tips.


Just to clarify that all tipping in the US works like this. The rest of western countries pays a fair wage and then tip is a bonus the waiter gets to keep (or shares with other staff in some contexts), but it's not expected to be part of pay.


Counter example, Washington state doesn't allow tips to be counted towards employee's wage (https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/washington-laws-tipp...)


Washington state‘s minimum wage for tipped workers is also the same minimum wage as other workers though too.

Im a server in WA and im making 11.50 plus my tips. In the last state I was in I was making 2.50 plus tips.


But I'm guessing that in either job, you didn't have to take each individual tip to your manager so they could review it and decide how much to take for the house.


> Just to clarify that all tipping in the US works like this.

Wrong, only a subset of states with corrupt labor practices allow this.


It's not even all tipping in the US. Several states work the way you describe.


So what, it raises the waiter minimum wage from $2.50 an hour to $7.25 an hour? When the average waiter is making / expecting $10-$50+ an hour, it's still the situation OP describes where tips make up the vast majority of their pay. There are restaurants that do the higher prices no tips thing, but I am not aware of any states where you can show up at a random restaurant and get paid $30 an hour to wait tables?


Minimum wage in Oregon is $11.25/hr with no special considerations for wait staff. Tips are always on top of the hourly wage and do not subsidize the wage paid by the restaurant.


Having never been to Oregon: the interesting follow up here is, are you as a customer less incentivized to tip with this knowledge? As a Texas resident who has worked in food service in the past, 20% is near obligatory barring subpar service (Texas is one of the states that pays $2.15 an hour for waitstaff).


Nope. 15-20% is still pretty standard.

Also, in my experience, our prices are not higher than the $2.15/hr states.


Social inertia is shockingly powerful.

Servers make a lot while bussers and janitors and cooks get screwed


Agreed. That being said, everyone knows that waiters/waitresses make their pay from tips. I think that most people had the expectation that delivery drivers were making base pay, and any tips were on top of that - the equivalent of handing the pizza delivery driver a couple of bucks when they get to the door. This was not the case, and certainly not communicated clearly to customers.


The fact that restaurants confiscate and aggregate all tips to divide them among the wait staff and the never-actually-tipped kitchen staff is also not communicated to customers. It is a matter of restaurant policy.


Also illegal, so report a restaurant if you know they’re doing that.


It is legal. It happens everywhere and it's even required by law in New York.

https://fortune.com/2014/03/20/starbucks-new-digital-tip-jar...


From my reading of the law the vast majority of tip pools are not legal, to wit:

>Tip Pool: The requirement that an employee must retain all tips does not preclude a valid tip pooling or sharing arrangement among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips, such as waiters, waitresses, bellhops, counter personnel (who serve customers), bussers, and service bartenders. A valid tip pool may not include employees who do not customarily and regularly received tips, such as dishwashers, cooks, chefs, and janitors.

I haven’t yet seen a tip pooling scheme that didn’t also include back of house, i.e. chefs/cooks, and often supervisors or managers which cannot be included by federal law.

But your point stands, my statement was overly broad.


> Before people get too angry at DoorDash, they should realize this is ubiquitous.

I know it's ubiquitous, I'm just enjoying seeing someone raked over the coals for it and I look forward to the angry mob moving on to everyone else who profits from this scummy practice.


Some states don't have a tip credit like Minnesota. They get minimum wage no matter what, plus tips.


I've worked as an hourly employee at a bar before. This isn't in the US. I was paid minimum wage, before tips as it's not legal to "make up the difference" where I live. If a customer gives a tip, the employee goes home with the tip additional to minimum wage. If an employer decides that I got $50 tips and minimum wage was $40, they don't get to keep my wages, they have to give me $40 and the customer tips bump my days earnings to $90. I find it bizarre and more than a little sad to see a first world country thinking it's OK to skim wages just because customers tipped.


This. The only way I can see things changing is to not tip. I know this will anger some people here but I just ordered on grubhub and tipped 0$. Why would I tip more if I already pay 6$ of delivery fee? Also, why would I tip a percentage in general? Can’t a waiter appreciate my 5$ tip without making a face every time like I’ve under tipped them?

If you think this is outrageous, you should consider that many people are like me and waiters get stiffed all the time by us. So every time you’re paying a tip you’re covering for me too. Isn’t this unfair?


Wouldn't that be easy to discover using the same method the NYT used to find this in the first place [1]?

> DoorDash offers a guaranteed minimum for each job. For my first order, the guarantee was $6.85 and the customer, a woman in Boerum Hill who answered the door in a colorful bathrobe, tipped $3 via the app. But I still received only $6.85.

> Here’s how it works: If the woman in the bathrobe had tipped zero, DoorDash would have paid me the whole $6.85. Because she tipped $3, DoorDash kicked in only $3.85. She was saving DoorDash $3, not tipping me.

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/21/nyregion/doordash-ubereat...


But that's OK. They should lower the amount that they offer for a delivery to not include the tip. And then drivers will refuse to work for them and they'll be forced to increase it. Supply and demand.


No, they shouldn't. If these were actual employees, that would be theft. The only reason it's not is that DoorDash has decided to classify them as "independent contractors", which don't receive the same protections.


It's not theft. It's the exact same way that it works for waiters. From a post elsewhere

In a restaurant

- The waiter is guaranteed normal minimum wage.

- The owner guarantees they will pay a minimum of <whatever waiter minimum wage is; less than normal minimum wage>

- The waiter gets tips from patrons, which generally brings them over normal minimum wage

- If the waiter's tips do not bring them above minimum wage, then the owner is required to pay them an amount that would bring them up to minimum wage.

With DD, it works more or less the same way, with the difference being that the minimums (upper and lower) are per delivery, not per hour.

If fact, odds are the DD deliverers are going to be worse off now, because DD isn't going to guarantee them a minimum amount; rather, they'll present "we pay you X + you get the tip which is likely around Y". And if the tip isn't enough, the deliverer winds up making less. Unlike before where they got the minimum.


Restaurants give you an hourly wage that is less than minimum wage, and if that wage plus tips is still less than minimum wage, they're required to pay you the difference. If your hourly wage + tips is more than minimum wage, restaurants cannot reduce your hourly wage to compensate.

My understanding is that DoorDash was doing the opposite: giving you a guaranteed wage and then subtracting the tips from that. It's as if a restaurant were paying you an hourly wage without tips, and then accepting tips on your behalf.

If a customer had tipped 100% of the guaranteed pay, do you think the deliverer would have seen any of that tip? Or would it all have counted against the guaranteed pay?


My understanding is that

- DD provides a guaranteed wage of $1 per delivery, similar to a restaurtant's "under minimum wage" wage.

- DD provides a "you will make at least this much" rate. This is a parallel to normal minimum wage

- If the (<tip> + $1) is not at least <this much>, DD covers the difference

- If the (<tip> + $1) is more than <this much>, DD pays only (<tip> + $1)

The only real differences between that and a restaurant are - The numbers are all per delivery instead of per hour - The sub-minimum wage is $1 instead of whatever it is for wait staff ($2.50 or so?). How these numbers compare depends on how many jobs per hour there are. - The "you will make at least this much" amount varies by the delivery, vs waitstaff where it's a set number for all.

If you consider the "you will make at least this much" number to be "if you don't get tipped enough to make this much, we'll make sure to cover the difference for you", it's more clear how it's the same as for wait staff.


That's not the way DoorDash worked actually.

They offered $1 per delivery plus tips, and would increase the wage if the tips didn't meet the expectation.

If you tipped the driver $100, the driver would get $101.

If you tipped the driver $0, the driver would get $4 - $7 because DD would make up for that.


> It's the exact same way that it works for waiters.

Waiters don't pay the restaurant back if they go over minimum wage. So, no, it's emphatically not the same way it works.

And even if it were, "it's legal to screw people!" is not a reasonable nor humane response to "people are getting screwed!".


As I understand it, neither do DD delivery people.


Except that they can float the actual fee to avoid having to pay more than that because they have additional market flexibility and more information than anyone else, yes.


You are completely ignoring one huge aspect. With restaurants the expectation is that the tips are more than enough to cover the minimum wage of the waiters and therefore the waiters get paid based on the tips they collect. The actual price of the order goes to the cook. With door dash the "cook" and the "waiter" are the same person. Therefore the expectation that a door dasher only receives the tip is completely illogical. When a dasher receives a tip, the price of the order no longer represents money that the dasher receives, instead it represents the maximum amount of money door dash is taking away from the dasher and therefore also represents the minimum meaningful tip size (minus one cent).


Contractors also have benefits employees do not, such as only working when they choose to.


> Here’s how it works: If the woman in the bathrobe had tipped zero, DoorDash would have paid me the whole $6.85. Because she tipped $3, DoorDash kicked in only $3.85. She was saving DoorDash $3, not tipping me.

But that is tipping.

A waiter makes $7.25 an hour. If they receive $2 in tips, the business only has to pay them $5.25 for that hour instead. There is a lower limit (around $2, I forget the exact amount), and tipping over that limit goes to the employee, but any tips under that limit effectively go to the company.


> A waiter makes $7.25 an hour. If they receive $2 in tips, the business only has to pay them $5.25 for that hour instead.

This is false. Only a subset of states allow this corrupt practice, here's a handy list: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipped_wage#State_law


I counted only 7 states where it is not true based on the state laws and 1 state where it was not true for large employees. It is generally true in most states in practice, and is how tipping works per federal laws. I should have probably have mentioned I was speaking to the federal law and local/state/city laws can work differently in some areas.


Exactly, 43 states are a subset of 50.


I feel like we are getting a bit deep in semantics now.

Even if it was true in all 50 states, we could claim it is true in only a subset of those 50 states since a set containing all 50 states is a subset of itself. Had the claim been a proper subset instead, this wouldn't have been the case.

And even if it was true in all 50 states and all smaller governments therein, one could claim it as false because some businesses have to run under franchise rules that disallow the practice. I think such a sentence should be interpreted as talking about the general case of what is acceptable (acceptable in that people do not hold nearly an equivalent level of protest at the federal law on tipping and on organizations that follow it or state level varieties that allow a similar practice as they do for DoorDash's practice).


Fair. However, painting tip theft (I'm just calling it what it is) as the norm nationwide is wildly inaccurate. For example, it's a crime to do this on the entire west coast.


He was saying that's how it effectively works, and he's right.

The federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2-ish with the caveat that if an employee isn't making on average $7.25 for the pay period when factoring in tips, the employer is legally obligated to make up the difference.

So if an employee's tips average out to the difference between tipped minimum wage and regular minimum wage, then all you've done is save the restaurant money. The employee was going to get that amount regardless.

It's only when the tipped amount exceeds the difference on average does the employee come out ahead.


In that case, DoorDash will guarantee $3.85, knowing full well you'll make $6.85 for the order.

Edit - I'd expect they'll show something like the below

Total pay: $6.85

Guaranteed base pay: $3.85

Tip: $3.00


>If you want to actually compensate the Dashers, tip $0 in the app (raising base pay) and hand them cash at the door. That seems to be the only way to get around this policy.

I am sorry but we have to let you go, because our customers do not seem to like you.


It would show up in their metrics as a particular customer (or percentage of customers) never tipping, not a particular driver never getting tipped.


What reason do you have for claiming that total compensation will remain the same? The article certainly doesn't say that.

If they did that, it would inevitably be found out and lead to an even bigger scandal. That would be worse than doing nothing.


The other advantage of tipping in cash is that all the money goes to the Dasher, the government doesn't get to skim off any of that money.


It's interesting to see the new uproar about this change over on r/DoorDash. It's interesting to see a lot of the workers now worried this will actually end up being even less. It seems like they (workers/drivers) got what they wanted, but also didn't.


Thank you for pointing that out. It was an interesting read. It seems like most of them blame the customers that didn't want to be deceived rather than the company itself and their shitty practices.


My observation about /r/DoorDash is that nobody there is ever happy.

I first checked it out in 2017, shortly after they implemented the current model. The entire subreddit was a massive open revolt of people complaining that they simply can't survive on what the new model pays them. For the record, I went there because I got curious after I had a string of several dashers who were just awful and couldn't follow basic directions. The impression I got is that everyone on the platform with any intelligence either had quit over the changes or was threatening to, leaving only the people who just don't have the skills to get work anywhere else.

I'd look at it every few months or so after that, and one thing pretty common was that people were suggesting that nobody should tip in the app and that everyone should leave a cash tip because DoorDash steals tips.

When the tipping scandal first hit the news (forcing Instacart to change their policies), I checked it out again, and everyone was talking about how finally the media is calling attention to how awful the tipping situation is and again suggesting that nobody ever tip in the app.

And now this. DoorDash is fixing this policy, and the people there are still upset. /r/DoorDash is simply the single unhappiest subreddit I've ever seen that isn't a politics sub or a straight-up hate sub.

My impression using DoorDash, by the way, is that the situation I mentioned above never resolved itself. I have a tendency to use DoorDash because DashPass actually saves me a lot of money (you pay $10/month and get most of your fees taken off on each order above $15... it usually saves me about $5/order, so it pays for itself after two orders a month), but dealing with the drivers is such a colossal headache that ordering something on DoorDash stresses me out each time. I have never had anywhere near the level of problems with drivers on Uber Eats or GrubHub (or Eat24 before them; I still miss that company) that I have with dashers. DoorDash treats its people so poorly that all the good dashers have long since quit, leaving only people who have a marked inability to follow basic directions or instructions. I've found myself ordering from Uber Eats more and more lately, even though I'm paying more, just because the quality of the drivers is so much higher.


> And now this. DoorDash is fixing this policy, and the people there are still upset.

Likely because they know the "fix" will likely just be a more subtle fucking.


Wage theft is theft. DoorDash, and the VCs backing them, should be treated as thieves until such time as they unequivocally reject the practice of wage theft in all of their business dealings.


I can't believe that was legal. They basically tricked consumers into giving them millions of dollars.

If the app called it a "Tip" then that should be some kind of fraud because it wasn't a tip in the way that any reasonable person would assume, it was a donation to the company.


DoorDash (YC s2013) [0].

[0] https://www.ycombinator.com/companies/ (search for DoorDash)


Tipping model is at its tipping point.

It is high time US citizens stop tipping and make businesses realize that the customers are not directly responsible for employee wages.


Devil's Advocate: Many people in the hospitality industry are making far more via tips than they'd receive from a market wage.


But which among those are making far more? Is it the person who goes the extra mile to ensure good service? Or is it the attractive, white, young, well-dressed, well-groomed, well-educated, and well-spoken person?

Tipping has been shown over and over again to be horribly discriminatory against those who don't line up with the list presented above.


Good bartenders of all kinds with a primo gig can make $400-600 a night for an 8-9 hour shift.

I worked in restaurants for a long time and think tipping to make up for paltry hourly pay is idiotic, but I can see why many people work late hours and weekends because they payoff is very high if you're in a good gig.


many people are also NOT making what they could be making, if paid a fair wage. At the very least, they're subject to an insane amount of income insecurity.

If a bartender at a sluggish restaurant is scheduled monday-wednesday, instead of his usual fri-sunday, he's probably screwed and making a fraction of what he normally does.


True, but at the same time not every bartender makes a great cocktail, or cares to. If people want service levels to race to the bottom this is the way to do it.

The main problem with the DD model is that they're asking people to decide a tip before being provided a service. That's unfair to the customer and driver. As far as paying a decent wage before that, DD could provide a mile cost reimbursement as well as one for the time spent on the order. Paying the driver a blanket fee for every order they deliver rather than one based on time and millage is not sustainable. I understand that's much how the model used to work, but the whole thing about tip culture is rewarding people who do the little things to make the experience worth it for you having to pay extra. As a customer of DD you're only going to be aware of things after you've received your food.

Also, if a bartender is not getting the best shifts, that may be because the bar cycles their shifts or they aren't as good, or maybe Wednesday is a busier night and they only staff one bartender so that person may end up doing better than having to split a bar with several others. That said, if it's busier on a Saturday and the bartenders are getting hammered, why should they have to subsidize the bartender who isn't there?


Tipping is a poor form of quality control. If you get a bad cocktail, ask for a new one or speak with the manager and give your direct feedback. Paying less puts them in a complex game of guessing why you did that.


I too think my bartender should starve if they make so-so a cocktail.


I didn't say that. My point is that people who excel at their jobs should have the ability to be rewarded. Do you disagree?


The problem is when a tip is expected in almost all circumstances. Pay them a proper wage for their ability and set prices accordingly.

You can still have tips but it shifts from basically every time to instances of truly exceptional performance.


American tipping culture exists in the service industry because the base wage is not livable. Yes, tips should not be mandatory. But first you need a livable minimum wage or otherwise "tipping" is not primarily about rewarding outstanding service but about making sure they can eat.


I agree with you fully. The fact that certain states are still so far behind with paying a wage under $3/hr is archaic and needs to be shamed until it is brought up with federal/region standards.

That said, the biggest problem with most service type employees right now, and this sadly gets away from DD, but is the amount of hours they are being given to work. I know many people who only get 12-18 hours a week at their service job (and even worse, you can be sent home early or even called off if it's slow), and even in CA where minimum wage is $14.25, one cannot pay rent let alone earn a living or even hope to have or provide for a family.


Quality bartenders generate increased revenue for businesses by either being more efficient and/or driving additional business. If a bartender excels at their job this can be objectively measured and their pay rate increased vs their peers as a reward.


That's a spun "many", though. Sure, "many" are. "Many" are not. And at the low end of the wage spectrum the difference in personal welfare has a very steep curve. If, say, 20% of workers are doing well over minimum wage in tips, does that justify the (again, totally made up number) 10% who are making less?


Then it's part of the 'market' and will rebalance.


Couldn't people still tip if they thought the service was truly exceptional?


So what you're saying is that the minimum wage is too low.


A lot of us are already doing this. I get weird looks all the time, or people will get upset if we’re in a group. A few times waiters actually got upset and asked me why I wasn’t tipping. It’s hard but by principle I’ll still refuse to tip. I wish there was a subreddit community. Maybe r/notip ?


No way others in the industry go for this. If you had the option to legally pay 20%+ less in taxes, would you? Exactly.


If I had the option to not pay taxes, obviously I wouldn't but I don't that that has any relation to tipping.

On the other hand, when the government asks to donate for a disaster, does everybody contribute even if they completely sympathize with the issue? You may do it sometimes, but will you do it every time there is a disaster? Will you do it even if you can afford it? What will be your opinion of the government if they tell you "We can't deal with these disasters unless we get donations. We know these same disasters happen every year and we should have budgeted properly but we didn't do it for political reasons. But now if you don't donate, people will be in trouble"

Tipping is a way of showing your appreciation for service. But if it has to be done every time, then you may as well call it a service charge.


I thought management taking a cut of tips was known in the American restaurant/takeout industry to be illegal. And at least one other prominent dotcom has already been called on this.

Is this yet another instance of a dotcom knowingly and blatantly ignoring existing laws and regulations, and seeing how much they can get away with, while they use this advantage to steam full-ahead towards market dominance and IPO?

Is DoorDash yet influential enough that they can turn this into merely a regulatory handslap/caress?


There was a really easy fix for this. Remove the message that says "100% of your tip goes to your Dasher". Stop lying to the customer. It's that simple!

As usual, the reality of the financial situation is fairly complicated. Doordash guarantees minimums that other such services do not. In other words, in many ways, Doordash was more friendly to their 'contractors' than other services.

If they had simply chosen not to be unethical and lie to customers about where their tips go, they could have had it both ways.


Their argument was that it's not a lie. The entirety of your tip _does_ go to the Dasher.

... it's just that they reduce _their_ fee paid to them by, coincidentally, the same amount.

And claim that this offers the Dasher "stability".


Starup industry's break fast motto has become more like break every kind of decency these days.


Doordash is so stupid. I should be able to tip after I get my order, not before. Until they fix that, the model is backwards and broken for the consumer


yeah, lol. once you do it once, you'll never do it again.

Add tip. Delivery driver fucks up the order/super late/spills your drink. Too late! already tipped.


I stopped using DoorDash a few years ago after reading about this. Despicable.


Hey all.

Can someone explain to me WHY in 2019 we still tie the infrastructure to the power to make decisions?

Marketplaces are built not on open protocols (like email) but closed platforms.

They amass people from both sides and extract rents. But that’s a side effect of the closed nature of the software.

Why yell at doordash or uber or facebook to add a feature? Why does country X go after them for deleting posts while country Y yells that they didn’t delete similar posts? Closed software is the issue. “Zero to one. Competition is for losers” is who funded Facebook.

If people wanted to add tips in Wordpress or Email or whatever, they could just go ahead an add those. Or a million other features. Their clients would still interoperate.

Main reason: the capitalistic system we have encourages getting very wealthy as a result of building a successful company. It encourages people to work extremely hard and take risks while competing and duplicating 90% of the work others are doing. But in the area of software and information, copying is so easy. Collaboration beats competition nearly every time, relegating the proprietary solutions of yesteryear to obsolescence. The private market is reduced to turning out brief “bleeding edge” innovations which are then subsumed into the open source snowball.

Wikipedia, the Web, Webkit, Wordpress, MySQL and NGinX has beat Britannica, AOL, Blogger.com, IE, Oracle and IIS. So why don’t we have more of it in other areas? Drugs? Marketplaces?

Albert Wenger from USV has a nice online book called “World after Capital” that speaks about this.


I'm regularly confused by tipping. I was never confused by tipping until the gig economy. There's a tip on almost all of the gig services I use now, with zero explanation of how the tip affects the gig worker. The tip should be a reflection of the workers contribution to the service. I probably won't ever tip a company.

DoorDash has raised $2Bil from investors. They're using this money, presumably, to attract customers and suppliers through advertising and low pricing. DoorDash is one of many companies using VC money in this way. Now I'm supposed to subsidize the VC's subsidy of the product?


After the previous tipping drama (Instacart?), and little earlier my discovery that a tip in a hotel restaurant actually doesn't go to waiters, but its taken by the owner, I started to ask workers whether or not they receive the tip in full. So e.g. now I happily tip FreeNow (née MyTaxi) drivers, having two of them confirm to me that they pocket entirety of the tip.


I feel sick to my stomach. I give tips specifically to the drivers, yet those companies took a cut without even telling the drivers. A so-called high-tech company behaves like a rogue restaurant owner. How low can we go?


Amazon Primenow unfortunately does the same thing. I wish that would become a story as well.


Just set tip to 0 every time.


While that works for me I'm guessing 95% of the people using Primenow don't know to do that. Amazon is 100x larger than DoorDash and needs to be called out on it.


And tip in cash.


Moral of the story is to never use DoorDash at least not until they pay back all those drivers the tips they stole.


I'll keep tipping in cash, thank you.


Glad they changed it, but it's pretty damning that this was the model in the first place.


This is great. But, I got excited thinking that DoorDash changed their tipping UX by allowing users to tip after the service is rendered.


Can't you tip with cash?


They misrepresented the tip charges to the customers. Where is FTC ? and why isn't there an investigation ?


It seems like the simple answer to this is to tip out-of-band directly to the person (e.g, cash, venmo, etc).


Solution: tip in cash.


I think North America really needs to re-evaluate this concept of tips. The rules of what to tip and when are intentionally vague because it's a sensitive subject.

We should move to "fair pay", that includes slightly increased prices, and do away with tips for most services.

It's so common that tips don't mean what the consumer thinks it means. Restaurants and bars that pool tips and share them with all staff.[1] Restaurant owners that try to keep some tips and only pay out a percentage to the staff.[2] Casinos pool tips too so the dealer doesn't get to keep the money you gave him directly.[3]

I get asked for tips at Starbucks. I get asked for tips when I do takeout food from the local restaurant. I get asked for tips at the buffet restaurant. The pizza driver gets a delivery charge AND a tip!

Let's clean it up and make it fair for the servers and the consumers.

[1] https://www.restaurantscanada.org/industry-news/aware-ontari... [2] https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/advice-guy/can-rest... [3] https://www.businessinsider.com/wynn-tip-sharing-2011-6


The thing that bothered me the most when I visited North America was that attitude that you absolutely have to tip or otherwise you are some gigantic asshole. We went to a completely average restaurant, had completely average food that was possibly microwaved, the staff was average or below average at best.....and we all added like 15-20% tip at the end. I was just like......why? "Oh because you are a massive dick if you don't tip". I do occasionally tip in the UK when the service is really extraordinary, but feeling like you have to tip, almost completely detached from the actual quality of what you're getting.....that's bizzaire to me. And don't get me started on the nonsense that is tipping delivery drivers for what is effectively 5 seconds long interaction.


Bear in mind that the food costs less at that restaurant _because_ the wait staff is paid less _because_ it is assumed you are tipping. As such, yes, you are a bad person for not tipping; you are getting the benefit of lower food prices in exchange for tipping.


Can you imagine if all stores worked this way?

Hey, the pricetag on the shirt at Walmart says $10, but you should really pay $13 because otherwise they'll just not pay their staff. But hey, your choice, you can (if you choose) cause their staff to have no money for food for their families.

The problem here isn't the person not tipping, it's the broken culture where ensuring a livable wage for the poorest in society is a choice the wealthy get to make based on how they feel today.


It's not that simple. In addition to that effect, you also have the dynamic that people can undertip [1] some amount without consequence. Meaning that price + customary tip will actually have to be higher than the average untipped price, since it doesn't have to make up for the defectors.

[1] specifically, that means tipping under the average and/or in accordance with a lower scale or tougher standards than is generally expected.


That doesn't make sense. You aren't getting lower food prices at all if you are obligated to tip. Rather, the actual prices of restaurant food items are just undermarked by 15-20% of their actual cost.


> the actual prices of restaurant food items are just undermarked by 15-20% of their actual cost.

Right, and it's undermarked because you are expected to tip.


But you said that you get the "benefit" of lower prices - but I just don't see that benefit if it's mandatory to then tip 15%. Whatever reduction in price you're getting you'll pay in tips, so as a customer you're getting shafted either way. No?


You're not getting shafted. If you tip, you're paying the same amount as if there weren't tips and the prices were raised to account for it. There's nothing "shafted" about "paying the same amount".

The only differences are - You can choose to pay less if things aren't good, or pay more if things are great. - If you're someone that is heavily impacted by other people's opinions, then you may feel bad tipping less. But all that means is that you don't get one of the benefits.

You get the "benefit" of lower prices... and you're expected to tip to balance the scales.


Usually the income isn’t being reported by the tip-earner/takers, and you’re not paying sales tax on the service received.


The former is only going to be true if you pay them in cash; I don't believe credit tips are so easy to hide. The latter is inconsequential.


Despite the paper trail, local details of audits I know of, indicated that workers still underreport.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwjA...

Anecdotally, it remains true.

Tips don’t go on the official pay reports that go to the Canadian government since it isn’t actually employment income paid by the employer.

Why would sales taxes be inconsequential?


I guess because you're only not paying sales tax on the tip portion of the payment - so if the sales tax is say 10%, your bill was a $100 and you left a $10 tip, you're only saving $1 on the sales tax.


And if that mere dollar would influence you on whether or not you were going to go to the restaurant, you probably shouldn't have ever been going to the restaurant.


It still means an industry is paying ~85% of the sales taxes it should.

Overall, businesses will charge what they can. And if they don’t have to pay taxes, they can keep that $ for themselves.


Tipping is what sustains the practice of underpaying.


Which would be a factor if the sole reason for picking a particular restaurant is lowest price. That's virtually never - if it is, go home and cook. It's cheaper.

The whole tipping system is insane: I'll allow you to provide services in my restaurant and if the customers like you, perhaps you'll earn some money.

I'm still waiting for the restaurant holders to come up with the idea of charging for this unique opportunity. "Don't think of it as paying to be allowed to work, think of it as investing in your revenue-generating activities! !"


> Which would be a factor if the sole reason for picking a particular restaurant is lowest price.

Actually, it wouldn't matter if lowest price was the sole factor for picking a particular restaurant. Because all restaurants would be lowering their prices by the same general percentage.

However, it does impact the choice of whether or not to go out to eat.

Unless you're talking about the case where some restaurants discourage tipping (and charge more) but others don't. In which case, there's many cases of that happening and the restaurants closing or switching back. Because price, which not the sole factor, can be a very important one. It certainly impacts my choice when I go out to eat.


Not just lower food prices, but a smaller tax base and possibly inflated student loans.


I've spent time in a lot of countries, and:

You tip in the US because the employees are paid a sum that assumes tips are coming. You can pay less than minimum wage because the actual compensation comes from tips.

Of course, this is different in other countries...

And yes, 15% is standard for "acceptable" service and food. You can tip less if you really have a complaint, but with the proliferation of Yelp and Google Reviews, it's easy enough to avoid bad places.

On a road trip, that can be a little different, but...


> You tip in the US because the employees are paid a sum that assumes tips are coming.

This type of justification has always seemed very Stockholm Syndrome-y to me. This is not a valid or acceptable reason.

You tip in the US because everyone is complicit in the horrendous industrial relation laws.


You tip in the US because your only other personal alternative is hurting people who are in vulnerable jobs. It's not Stockholm syndrome, it's a hostage situation.


Some of those vulnerable jobs pay incredibly well.

Part of their vulnerability does come from near worthless job-injury/termination/severance pay because, on paper, take-home pay is far less than actual.


I think more accurately, a business owner cannot pay less than minimum wage because actual compensation tips are coming, you MAY pay less than minimum wage IF wages + tips is at least minimum wage, otherwise employer is on the hook for the non-tipped amount.

However, even in the jurisdictions that don't have a minimum wage exemption for tipped positions (such as Oregon), you're still socially expected to tip.

At this point, the only thing tips are good for is letting business owners pay staff less than what they would normally have to, which the staff doesn't mind because they get to evade taxes on cash tips, and they sometimes make more money than if they were to be paid a wage and didn't get tipped. The customer gets the raw end of the deal as they frequently overpay.


> I think more accurately, a business owner cannot pay less than minimum wage

In food service, never say “cannot”!


I always hear this. It's blame shifting. Food service workers are the first to foist the burden, responsibility on to the customer for their inability or lack of willingness to protest / report their employers illegal behavior.

It's not my role as a customer to support workers at a paper mill with lax safety standards because the workers won't go to OSHA, why should it be my role to ensure you have a livable wage because you won't go to to L&I to report wage theft/other practices?


I’m in a left leaning jurisdiction, and the labour board doesn’t do a very good job of investigating these complaints.

And if they do award you back-pay, it may still be on you to follow through on collecting.

There is big structural barriers for the system to work in favour of employees that aren’t being paid properly.


France is like that too.

Once with my hosts, I took care of the dining bill myself. Just when I thought I figured it all out, they’re like “oh, that was the owner of the restaurant with the cheque at the end, you really don’t have to give him a tip”.

D’oh.


Despite how much I agree with you, this is never going to happen, because the real purpose of tips these days is to allow for variable pricing - the "base" price stays low, while people who can afford to tip more often do.

I've seen lots of restaurants implement "no tipping" policies, only to revert back to tipping within a year or two. The reasons:

1. The higher base prices do have a negative impact on sales. 2. The best servers usually want tips, because they can make more at a tipping establishment.

In the past 10/15 years I've changed my attitude around tipping now that pretty much every place I go to "flips around the iPad", asking for a tip. I no longer really think of it as a reward for good service. At the end of the day, I can't imagine trying to survive in a major city on barista wages, and I can afford it, so I tip.


2. The best servers usually want tips, because they can make more at a tipping establishment.

It’s not the “best” servers according to studies, it’s often the most attractive and non minority servers.

I don’t have any opinion either way about his conclusion/opinion but this is the first article I could find. I first heard about this on Freakonomics

http://www.opportunityinstitute.org/blog/post/im-going-to-ti...


[flagged]


It’s not about self maintenance == attractive. It’s about that pretty 25 year old blond girl vs the overweight 55 year old Black Guy - I’m just trying to go to the opposite ends of what society finds attractive.


I'm not saying self-maintenance == attractiveness, I'm saying that no matter what industry you're in there's some minimum level of something you need to maintain to be acceptable for work.

For me as a syseng that's getting enough sleep, staying ahead of my field and basic hygiene. I'm not in the best health but I'm also not in a position where I can get a lot of people sick.

I'm overweight and as a result my skin is terrible. Not so much that people notice but I certainly don't think that I should have my hands in anyone's food.


Unless you're giving each customer's meals a nice massage before serving them, your skin condition means nothing from a hygiene POV if you're acting as a server or a host.


That is only true to a point.


I'm reminded of the time I waited 90 minutes on line for Shake Shack (original location, when it first opened) and as I got closer to the front saw that the cashier had a visible and severe herpes outbreak that looked like it wasn't being treated. She kept scratching at her face and then touching peoples' money.

I noped on out of there. No thank you.


Evidentally, I am a hypocrite.


I think there has to be a cultural shift. There are many past behaviors that were once normal, that are now considered rude or socially unacceptable.

It starts with minimum wage laws changing so that waiters and bartenders are not exempt from normal minimum wages. Start there.

[1] https://www.ontario.ca/document/your-guide-employment-standa...


Seattle increased the minimum wage to $15 and didn't exempt wait staff.

There was some talk about if people would stop tipping. Nope, people still tip!


This is not exactly accurate.

Most places in the US require businesses to "make up" the delta between minimum wage and what the employee receives through wage+tips. Seattle just codified this more clearly by having a "minimum wage" and a separate (higher) "minimum compensation". So while wait staff have a minimum compensation of $15/hr, that number is inclusive of tips they receive. Their minimum wage (what the business has to pay regardless of tip) is lower at $12/hr.

People may have considered no longer tipping because of the publicity behind the new-to-them-but-not-actually-new concept of minimum compensation but it's effectively the same system at a higher number.


I have lived in countries where there is no tipping and it works just fine. Better yet, there's no stress around general tip etiquette or simply "did I tip enough".

I find it frustrating to read time and time again "but it will never work". Having lived the reality, where employees are paid a decent living wage with no tipping, I say to you that such a response is simply untrue.


I'm not saying it's impossible in the cosmological sense, but I'd easily bet it will never happen, broadly, in the US in my lifetime.

If anything, the US has moved 180 degrees in the opposite direction in the past 15 years. This is largely a result of the growing inequality and huge increase in expense in major US cities. Up until about 20-25 years ago, 15% was the "standard" tip amount at restaurants, now it's more like 20%. Virtually every place I go asks for a tip now (even places like a bodega where the person behind the counter does practically nothing - I pick out my food myself, I don't need a bag, and I pay with my phone) as a result of the Square/iPad tip phenomenon, and tipping in many of these places was unheard of just 10 years ago.


I see tipping as a form of profit sharing. If a server or barista gets more volume for the restaurant, they get a cut. Often times, servers leave at the end of the night with $200+. I used to be a valet and was paid $5/hour but would make easily over $100 in tips.


I see it as a way for business owners and successful tipped employees to get away with tax evasion at the expense of customers who overpay on their share of the purchase and the rest of society which loses taxes. Unsuccessful tipped employees who don't get a fair share of tips are also losers.


The issue is the solution needs to be all or nothing. Either everyone abolishes tipping or nobody can, because appearing to have higher prices isn’t good business. Just like we dont include taxes in prices here either. Who in their right mind would chose to do that and deal with explaining how the taxes are included to every new customer.

Flipping to fair wages will only happen after a massive publicity campaign and coordinated change.


In Europe, tipping is not necessary to make a living wage. Yet tipping is still quite common. But it's more in the nature of rounding up than the US' approach.

those parts that I've been to or lived in.


This approach makes no sense to me. It seems the "base" prices are fiction, just like the airline fares have become recently. They do not correspond to reality and do not allow for a sustainable business.

Choosing where you will buy based on those fictional "base" prices and then tipping just supports that world which is detached from reality.

If people stopped tipping, eventually things would right themselves: workers would stop working for establishments that do not pay enough, businesses would need to raise prices, people would need to start accepting the realistic pricing.


Maybe the solution is a truth in advertising law: the headline price always has to be the complete total, unless you intentionally add unusual extras.

Restaurants are in one physical place, taxes aren't a mystery, there's no real excuse for the price printed on the menu not to be the actual price. Encouraging your employees to make side-deals with customers for cash... maybe we should start treating that as tax-evasion on the part of the restaurant. Putting a guess down in the books isn't OK for any other transaction.


This is why you need to change it across the board, all at once. If joe the asshole can keep charging his customers "less" by hiding the real cost of labor in his tip column, then bill the coolguy looks like he's being an asshole by including that cost in the price of the food.

Don't even get me started on the idea that FOH employees are often making 2 or 3X what the kitchen staff is bringing home. Sure the servers want the tips, but why wouldn't cooks want that money to be in the pool of money that can be allocated to them as well (since most servers aren't required to tip the back of house, and any money that isn't guaranteed can't be counted as part of your pay rate).

Eliminate the tipped employee rate entirely. Give the culture 10 years, and everything will be fine. It will be a long painful 10 years, but fixing omelettes and breaking eggs.


This is just naive thinking, that there is some grand purpose behind the laws of the USA. Step back, we all know it's because money is power in this country. Restaurant industries will kill any change that forces them to pay their employees a living wage.

You think this is based on logic and sensibility? That's not how government works in the USA. The null hypothesis is that capitalism rules; all else, democracy and logic and truth, come a distant second.


Its funny because other countries manage to pay staff a living wage, and not need tips.


One problem is that the restaurant lobby is surprisingly powerful. In DC, voters approved an initiative eliminating the tipped minimum wage, but the restaurant lobby succeeded in getting the city council to overturn it (after failing to persuade voters against it via lots of astroturfing.)


The problem is that removal of tipping, pretty much just hurts the employees. Customers will probably pay less. Employers will be a bigger cut of the customers actual spending.

Very few restaurants would pay an hourly wage that is equivalent to what waiters are getting tipped now. So the waiter will just get less. Just look at what non-tipped restaurant workers get paid, not well.


The rest of the world's solution is fewer, higher paid, and better trained waiters.

Restaurants in the US are run like a factory assembly line, with every person manning a portion of the line being incentivized to get the table out of the door as fast as possible in order to maximize the amount of scraps they get out of tips. In a fixed system, you might sometimes have to flag down a waiter rather than have your glass endlessly refilled even when you're done drinking, and folks might stop walking by asking (if you're lucky) to take your plates away before you're ready.

If you're a person who travels, count the amount of visible staff at an average German restaurant, and compare that to what you see in the US. It's drastic. Orders of magnitude drastic.


What are you talking about? Tipping makes servers actually care about doing a good job. Servers in Europe in my experience almost never care about you or the service they're providing you, because it doesn't matter how good a job they do. I've been flatly refused service at a restaurant because they were "too busy" - the three people working were overwhelmed with waiting on 10 tables and didn't even have a wait list because that was too much to manage. If that's what you mean by "fewer and better trained" then, well, I'd rather eat at the restaurant I choose than get turned away because they can't afford enough employees to run it.


> Tipping makes servers actually care about doing a good job.

Tipping incentivizes servers to care about getting more tips. This is why there is a stereotype of American servers rushing you out of your table to seat the next party, upselling on more drinks/food, and constantly interrupting the setting by "checking on" the party.

A good waiter gets the main plates on the table after appetizers are finished and responds when I flag them. They are a queuing manager that synchronize orders to the kitchen to optimize delivery to the table. Tipping does not inherently incentivize this, and I'd say it actually incentivizes the worse service in the form of clearing the table as fast as possible in order to acquire the next table's round of tips, or as is often the case, crowding a table up with every appetizer, side dish, entree, and drink the table wanted throughout the dinner.


If anything, I've noticed services in many of the larger European countries do a better job than in the US. Anecdotal evidence is anecdotal, but I'm not aware of any widespread stereotype of American waiters to be better than non tipped waiters.


Since tips are "expected", your average server doesn't think they have to work for them. Service quality is basically random, just like most jobs


> Tipping makes servers actually care about doing a good job.

I find tipping makes many customers treat "servers" like faceless servants, making them feel like prostitutes forcing fake smiles and gritted teeth at bad behaviour.

In a non-tipping culture you learn to treat waiting staff as more human. Arseholes get kicked out, not "smiled" at.


Crap restaurants certainly exist everywhere. But it's hard to argue that service is overall dramatically worse in Europe. There is generally less fawning & begging, which some people prefer.


There's an awful lot of "we can't do it, and if we did it'd definitely be bad" in American political discourse that can be pretty conclusively proven false by just looking at a few other OECD states.


If you're a person who travels, count the amount of visible staff at an average German restaurant

The last German restaurant I went, I was in a party of five. Four of us got our orders somewhat promptly while the fifth waited nearly half an hour… for a frankfurter. Between that and the trains I got this sense that German efficiency was overrated.


There are restaurants that just tack on a 20% surcharge, do staff get paid less at those establishments?


Apparently, yes, they take home less money, counterintuitively. The no-tipping 20% surcharge model was tried at many Seattle restaurants a few years ago and now it is all but gone. I've asked employees about it and they all tell me they hated it because they made less money, hence why most restaurants got rid of the 20% surcharge policy and went back to tipping.

One bartender I talked to made the (astute) observation that people feel more generosity toward individuals than to restaurants -- it de-personalized the transaction from the customer perspective, which turned the service charge into a food tax.


> The no-tipping 20% surcharge model was tried at many Seattle restaurants a few years ago and now it is all but gone. I've asked employees about it and they all tell me they hated it because they made less money

In other words, someone's being dishonest.

In most cases, still, the model I seem to see (and I live in the PNW) was a 15/18/20 tip model, and for personal services (nails, hair, etc.) 25.

Food servers would have us believe that poor tipping and other practices have them one shift away from being homeless, or "I have to pay the IRS to serve you, because they assume I'm getting tips I'm not"...

... and yet, when a 20% "tip"/surcharge (which would be on the high end, I feel, most of the time) is added on to every order...

"This sucks, we're making less money".


I agree that tipping is stupid. Tipping incentivizes me to spend less and eat at restaraunts less, because I only want to spend a dollar tipping, at most, and so seek to spend around ten dollars, at most.

The only reason I tip at all is because some restaraunts will remember me and you tip or get to wonder if they spit in your food. What a wonderful system.

I tip nowhere else and, since I'm not remembered, I face no negative consequences of this.


In Seattle, there was a push a few years ago to eliminate tipping in many restaurants. A 20% service charge was automatically added to the bill instead, on the theory that it would result in fairer and higher compensation for restaurant workers. Several of the places I frequent made this change at around the same time. Only a few years later, most restaurants seem to have reverted to the old policy of tipping.

I've been told by several waiters and bartenders that worked in these restaurants that there was an employee revolt. People earned noticeably less money under the mandatory 20% service charge than with tipping. Consequently, no one wanted to work for restaurants that didn't have tipping. It was seen as a socially conscious move but it backfired for the people it was supposed to help.

The behavioral and economic dynamics with tipping in the US seem to be more complex than people account for.


I flat do not tip if there's a delivery charge.

I've seen people make moral arguments about it, but I will not pay twice.


What about when the receipt/order slip explicitly says "any delivery charge is not paid to the driver"? many if not most national pizza chains have this disclaimer. I get around the tipping issue by ordering my pizza for pickup.


I wouldn't repeatedly not tip just to avoid having my food tampered with, but if it's a one time order and you won't be dealing with the same person again, I see nothing wrong with not paying some nebulous amount you never agreed or were asked to pay.


Agreed with this but you have to wonder: if the “delivery fee” is not paid to the driver, and there is truly no additional work to prepare a delivery order than a pickup or dine in order, then .... ??


exactly.


> The pizza driver gets a delivery charge AND a tip!

I think some places don't give the delivery charge to the driver (I hear Papa John's pockets it, but maybe I heard incorrectly).

I agree in that I think tipping in general needs to change. But I was reading the other day where a bar owner was saying he could pay $X. But with tips, his employees were bringing home more than he was. It's hard for me to say this is wrong. What I find wrong, as you point out, is that everyone is asking for tips now. What I don't know is where to draw the line on who can ask for a tip and who can't.


Yeah, there's a little corner place near here that has pre-made (not by them), pre-packaged sandwiches and lunch rolls in an open fridge/display in front of the register. You walk in, you pick out your sandwich, you put it on the counter and you pay for it. The cashier is literally that, someone who presses a button picture of your meal on an ipad, inserts a card, and returns card to you...

... and gives you a dirty look when you don't tip for "service".


I agree but it doesn’t matter. It’s about eighteen billion times easier to shame a shitty company into confirming to cultural norms than it is to get hundreds of millions of people to change those norms.


The usual explanation for tipping is that the minimum wage for tipped employees is lower than the non-tipped minimum wage (sometimes as low as $2.13).

If you knew everyone was getting paid the minimum wage, would you still tip on a regular basis?

I recently learned that in states like Washington, California, Oregon this is the case [1], and have been tipping less as a result, but still feel slightly bad about it (societal conditioning is strong!).

[1]https://www.minimum-wage.org/tipped


>The usual explanation for tipping is that the minimum wage for tipped employees is lower than the non-tipped minimum wage (sometimes as low as $2.13).

People get the cause and effect backwards on that. The minimum wage is lower because lawmakers knew they were already getting compensated by tips. It's a social custom, not charity.


No, that's not the explanation for tipping.

Those reduced minimum wages are justified because the jobs include tipping.

The reason you tip your waiter is (ostensibly) because it creates a direct incentive for better service, by leaving some of the compensation up to the customer.

Let's not have a bunch of replies that ignore my caveat please.


>The reason you tip your waiter is (ostensibly) because it creates a direct incentive for better service, by leaving some of the compensation up to the customer.

Funny how service is as good if not better in the vast majority of the rest of the world, despite a lack of tipping culture.


Is that true though? "service with a smile" and "The customer is always right" are notions I've seen far far more in the US.

I think its more of a cultural thing than an effect of tipping, but service in the US is usually pretty high quality.


From what I can tell (traveled to US, EU, live in non-tipping culture), it is often:

"service with a FORCED smile" which I find far worse than service without a smile.

and

"PRETEND the customer is always right" which happens in non-tipping culture too (do whatever makes the least trouble for yourself at work).


Yes, it's absolutely true.

Any Asian country I've been to had much better service than the US. France (Paris) had excellent service. Greece had extremely nice service. These are all low- or no- tipping places.


I would say the opposite, service in most other countries is better than the US.


It's all hidden by intention. For example the delivery driver usually doesn't get the delivery charge, so if you don't tip they likely are loosing money to bring you food.


That's not the customer's problem.


Tipping is a form of price discrimination, which generally makes things more efficient and has been a staple of capitalism since forever. A business actively wants to extract more money from customers who can afford more, and still sell to customers who are more price sensitive. Coupons are the more normal way to do this, but tipping serves this exact purpose. This is in theory good for customers (except in monopolies, where the business extracts all the value), but in practice, sure, I agree tipping is obnoxious as a customer and possibly even worse for those whose pay involves tips.


If I am unhappy with my service or quality of food, I don't tip.

If the server is unhappy with the lack of a tip, and accosts me verbally (which has happened), I will explain my reasoning.

Vote with your wallet, and all that jazz.

If enough people stop tipping for crappy or non-existence services... perhaps eventually it will become more and more difficult for businesses to hire people to work for less than minimum wage... and the world will change.

One short tip at a time.

I am fine with other people thinking I am an asshole, they're free to do so. Most do not.

I have worked in restaurants for years, and I worked my ass off for every tip I received.

If you're serving me a microwaved burger, I don't care if that's the way they do it at this restaurant, I'm not tipping.

To the downvoters... what solution do you propose?

Legislation to be enacted to force restaurant employers the continent-over to start paying their employees more than twice what they're currently getting paid by the company, and increase food prices?

That's never going to happen imho, we tip in North America, and the restaurants pay their employees less than minimum wage, that's just the way it is now.


If you are unhappy with the quality of your food, you don't tip your server?

Here's how that results in a lose-lose for both you and the server.

Normally, if your food does not meet expectations, the best recourse is to let the server know what the problem is. The server can then either have the kitchen resolve the problem or talk to a manager, who can intervene to make things right. The end result is that you end up with food that meets expectations, or perhaps get a portion of the meal comped, and you walk out satisfied.

By being passive aggressive and expressing your displeasure with a zero tip, you don't give the restaurant an opportunity to make things right, so you walk out unsatisfied.

You also punish the wrong person, because it's not the server who is preparing the food. And keep in mind that the server is working a low-paying, often high-stress job, and your withholding of a tip might hit hard.

And perhaps the reason why you've been accosted by servers is that nobody knows the reason why you're refusing to tip unless you tell them. If someone works hard but you stiff them because you didn't like the texture of your burger and didn't bother to raise the issue during your meal, it's not unreasonable for them to assume you thought there was something wrong with their service.


>Normally, if your food does not meet expectations, the best recourse is to let the server know what the problem is. The server can then either have the kitchen resolve the problem or talk to a manager, who can intervene to make things right.

Have you eaten in many low-quality restaurants lately? And complained about the food to the server?

The last time I had a problem with my food (the vegetarian pasta that my partner ordered... who has been vegetarian for decades because of strong personal beliefs against harming animals... had chicken in it which she ended up eating and feeling terrible about)...

I brought that to the attention of our server, who just said "oh sorry, I'll bring out another one".

There's one example of a server who didn't get a tip.

Another time we were eating pizza with olives on it and the olive had a pit in it that almost broke my tooth... am I supposed to ask that the server please inspect every olive on my pizza and make me a new one?

Or ask the server to take back my stir fry that has almost as many ants in it as there is rice, and ask them for another one?

No, I wouldn't think so...

A restaurant is a team (who typically share tips amongst everybody in the restaurant in my experience), and if the team screws up, the team doesn't get tipped.

When I worked at a restaurant and served food, it was on me to make sure that everything that was served to the customers was perfect. If it wasn't, I would send it back to the kitchen.

I don't care what people think of me and my levels of compassion for restaurant staff.

If I am not enjoying my time in your restaurant, I am not going to submit to the gauntlet and tip on the way out the door.


The problem with the pit in the olive or the chicken in the vegetarian dish really don't have anything to do with the waiter. You should have tipped the waiter and simply have refused to pay for the meal. And tipping the waiter is not because the service was good but because without your tip they can't pay their rent. They're really at your mercy. On the other hand I do think the whole tipping culture in the US is broken and something should be done about it.


>The problem with the pit in the olive or the chicken in the vegetarian dish really don't have anything to do with the waiter.

If the waiter isn't checking that they got your order correct, then who is?

Should I be double checking with the manager that everything I ordered is exactly as it should be before I put it into my mouth?


You say you "worked in restaurants for years". If a customer stiffed you on a tip would that encourage YOU to give them better service next time they come in?


>You say you "worked in restaurants for years".

Yes, I did.

>If a customer stiffed you on a tip would that encourage YOU to give them better service next time they come in?

You shouldn't need any encouragement to do your job properly and professionally the first time imho.

And I wouldn't consider it being stiffed.

The couple who I poured an entire pitcher of water onto just as they sat down to dinner one night didn't tip me, and I am not confused or upset as to why.


The tip can be variable to reflect your perception of the service, so leaving no tip just makes you the jerk. Also, you chose the restaurant that microwaves burgers, so you knew what you were getting into.


>Also, you chose the restaurant that microwaves burgers, so you knew what you were getting into.

Likewise, the sever chose to work at that restaurant, so they knew what they were getting into as well.


The server doesn't cook the food. If you're tipping on the quality of the food instead of the service, then you're doing it wrong to begin with.


The pizza driver does not get the delivery charge. Generally that goes to the pizza shop itself. It's covering the overhead of maintaining a delivery program.


Oh no doubt the pizza shop keeps the "delivery charge".

But pizza is a delivery food. Dominos doesn't even have seats. 90% of what it does is delivery. So the "overhead of running a delivery program" is just a business expense that should come out of their revenues.


What overhead? The employees generally use their own car.


I will say that during my short stint as a delivery driver for a small non-chain pizza shop, I got a flat rate (less than the delivery charge, mind you) for each delivery I took.

Not sure if that happens in all cases, but I can see the case for charging a delivery fee. Baking it in to the cost of a pizza in general would unfairly charge people eating in or picking up. With delivery, you are paying for the pizza, and then an additional service.

I still think tips should be eliminated from the equation, though.


Pizza chains already have “carry out only” specials. I don’t have a problem with the delivery fee - but the driver should get it.


I generally don't tip, except for:

- the establishment that I frequent (they remember)

- uber (they affect your rating)

- I knew for sure that it will give me extra service.

In most situation I didn't experience negative affect.


As far as I'm aware, Uber drivers don't see whether you tipped or not until after they have rated you.

I suspect it is true since I never tip on Uber and I have a 4.96 out of 5 star rating.

They initially billed themselves as no tipping necessary. I refuse to subsidize driver wages on behalf of Uber. There is no way Uber is not benefitting from tipping by being able to keep wages lower as a result.


Sucks for the server who has to pay tax on the imputed tip income you pocketed.


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