Restaurant tipping policy divides the internet

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Commenters were divided after a restaurant-goer shared an Atlanta restaurant’s tipping policy which states that if customers cannot afford to tip, they should stay home.

The original poster (OP), known as u/Eltsoh, posted a photo of the menu on Reddit’s “Mildly Infuriating” forum where it received nearly 55,300 upvotes and 7,800 comments. The position can be found here.

Tipping culture

Although tipping is not customary in all countries, American waiters make the majority of their money from customers’ tips rather than their hourly wages.

In other countries, restaurants charge a service charge and servers do not expect tips for regular service.

Here, a stock image of a frustrated waiter in a restaurant. Reviewers were divided over the tipping policy set out on the restaurant’s menu, with some saying waiters should be paid a living wage and not rely on tips.
JackF/iStock

As Robin DiPietro, director of the College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management at the University of South Carolina, put it Newsweek“Tipping is definitely more of an American thing.”

DiPietro explained that servers in many places across America are paid less than an hourly minimum wage because their employers supplement wages with their tips.

“I think what’s important is to remember that tipping for most servers is part and parcel of their job pay, it’s not just some kind of ‘bonus,'” DiPietro said.

Although restaurants cannot require tipping, the average tip is between 15 and 20% of the bill, with exceptional service sometimes receiving more than 20%.

“The right way to tip is to tip on the bill amount before taxes, a lot of people forget that,” she said. “Another thing to remember is that you don’t have to tip the price of an entire bottle of wine – that’s fine to do, but it’s not mandatory to tip $20. on a $100 bottle of wine. Service that includes good wine service and service should be rewarded, but a 10-15% tip on alcohol is appropriate.”

‘Stay at home’

In the post, the OP shared a photo of an Atlanta bar menu that says “tip or die” in bold.

“What I found on the back of a menu,” the post read.

On the menu in bold read “Tip or Die—or drag your cheap a**too [sic] Mickey D.”

In smaller type, the policy stated that tipping was a custom at this restaurant and that servers and bartenders made a living.

“If you think tipping is a scam, then you should probably stay home, cook yourself a TV dinner in the microwave and watch your favorite reality TV show,” the menu reads. “Because if you can’t afford to tip, then you can’t afford to eat at a full-service restaurant. That’s life.”

Editors’ reactions

More than 5,600 users commented on the post, with many criticizing the restaurant’s aggressive language and others applauding the policy.

“Truth is I can’t afford to eat at a full service restaurant so I literally eat a lot at Mcds. With app codes too,” one user commented.

“‘We’re too cheap to pay a living wage, so we guilt customers into subsidizing our employees,'” another commented. “Historically, tips were given for service that went above and beyond. It was a ‘bonus’ for good work. Restaurant owners decided they could take advantage of people’s goodwill and lobbied for special laws allow them to pay less than the minimum wage.”

“As someone who always tips, it would make me want to leave and go somewhere else,” another commented.

“Okay I get tipped at a full service restaurant…but I think we’re at a point where you’re supposed to tip just about everywhere,” another user commented.

“AKA We are underpaying our staff so you better fix our faults,” another commented.

“No tipping in Australia (again). F**k tipping culture,” one user commented.

“If you can’t afford to pay your employees a fair and decent wage. Count on generosity. You can’t afford to be in business. I’m just saying,” one comment read. “Not cheap. I tip. But damn signs like that.”

“As someone who’s worked in the service industry down south for years ($2.13/hr, baby), I can tell you tipping is absolutely our way of surviving,” another commented. . “We usually get $0 checks because they take the currency tax which they call an hourly wage. Tipping, especially in the south, is usually 100% of a server’s income.”

Newsweek contacted u/Eltsoh for comment.

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