Business

Bay Area restaurants considering doing away with tipping

Friday, September 06, 2013

The Bay Area has some of the highest minimum wages in the country. That has some people asking whether tipping, especially in restaurants, is really necessary.

Restaurants in New York, Chicago, and even here in the Bay Area are doing away with tipping. One reason is because the minimum wages in San Jose and San Francisco are some of the highest in the country.

The service at Original Joe's in San Jose is known to be impeccable. Diners expect it when they're paying $30 a plate. But what if tipping was eliminated?

"People would feel awkward if it disappeared entirely," San Jose State University consumer behavior professor Steven Silver, Ph.D, said.

But Coi in San Francisco and at Chez Panisse in Berkeley are already doing it. Instead of a tip, diners pay a flat service charge to the entire staff.

"They would put in something like a 10 percent service charge or gratuity," Silver said. "I think most people tip more than 10 percent."

Silver doesn't think the 'no tipping' idea is something Americans would go for.

Even though in Europe tipping is minimal and in parts of Asia no one does it, restaurateurs insist tipping is part of our culture.

"It wouldn't happen here because we'd have to raise our prices and it might affect my wait staff not giving the right service," Original Joe's manager Chris Provini said.

Consumers had mixed reactions to the thought of having a set service charge.

"It gets confusing sometimes you have different servers, you don't know where the money is going or what; I think one flat rate would be great," Sharif Etman said.

"I'm going to tip either way; I'll always tip my server," Dana Waters said.

Most Americans who took an online survey agreed -- 63 percent said they tip even when service is bad.

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restaurants, food, san jose, business, lisa amin gulezian
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