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.
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
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.
I noped on out of there. No thank you.
It starts with minimum wage laws changing so that waiters and bartenders are not exempt from normal minimum wages. Start there.
There was some talk about if people would stop tipping. Nope, people still tip!
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 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.
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.
Flipping to fair wages will only happen after a massive publicity campaign and coordinated change.
those parts that I've been to or lived in.
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.
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.
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.
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.