SERVING THE QUANTITATIVE FINANCE COMMUNITY

 
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tabris
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Posts: 373
Joined: November 11th, 2003, 12:43 am

Should tipping be abolished?

April 23rd, 2004, 7:07 pm

Upon visiting San Francisco this week, I was quick reminded of the "minimum wage" increase that was being implemented. Some restaurants have increased the menu prices, some even go as far as putting footnotes on their menus stating they will charge a percentage extra on top of your bill to compensate the minimum wage increase for the waiters. Now, the part that doesn't make a whole lot of sense is that some restaurants add a percentage that almost did not make any sense at all. One restaurant which will go unmentioned noted a 5% charge will be billed to the tab. Now this raised a few eyebrows in the San Francisco food community since people are arguing left and right whether this "charge" that certain restaurants add on included tipping.This spawned many ideas such as including service charge as restaurants in Europe (or at least if I remembered correctly) already does. I remember the best service I received from restaurants came from Tokyo restaurants and the worst I have had was at a restaurant in Berkeley that luckily is no longer open.So I am interested in what the rest of you have to say about this subject. If anyone is interested a reference article to the minimum wage increase and its effect on restaurants click here
Last edited by tabris on April 22nd, 2004, 10:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Energetic
Posts: 600
Joined: March 27th, 2002, 6:03 pm

Should tipping be abolished?

April 23rd, 2004, 7:42 pm

It's obvious that if the restaurant owners simply wanted to make up $14/day in extra wages per waitress then the surcharge would be nominal. If it's not nominal, it only means that the owners used the wage hike as an excuse to make extra money for themselves.As for the tip, if anyone wants to replace friendly American-style service with Paris-type rudeness then abolishing tips is the way to go.
 
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DrEvil
Posts: 36
Joined: April 22nd, 2004, 10:17 pm

Should tipping be abolished?

April 23rd, 2004, 8:16 pm

Only in San Francisco would you expect something so silly. Next thing you know, a Columbus Street restaurant bill will have as many items and surcharges as a California phone bill.Before abolishing tipping, why doesn't the States start including tax in the prices it posts? I don't mind gratuity as much as the fact that I have to some how settle on $1.08 for my $0.99 morning muffin, leaving me to either have a few spare cents on hand or risk a pocketful of change. With larger parties, many restaurants will compute the gratuity for you, but you are still left figuring out that you will end up paying $25 for the menu item listed at $20."Abolishing" tipping doesn't really seem to make much difference in my experience...I'd say the waitresses in San Francisco are on average quite a bit more rude than those in Stockholm, Abo, or other sevice compris cities...
 
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zerdna
Posts: 3856
Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Should tipping be abolished?

April 23rd, 2004, 8:39 pm

Tipping should be abolished, taxes should be abolished, Mondays should be abolished, san francisko should be abolished. What we need instead all of it is to get a charter flight for wilmott community to Stockholm to socialize with nice, long-legged blond swedish waitresses who like what they do so much, they'd do it for free. I think if i run on this program for a president of wilmott forum, i might win.
 
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tabris
Topic Author
Posts: 373
Joined: November 11th, 2003, 12:43 am

Should tipping be abolished?

April 23rd, 2004, 8:44 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: EnergeticAs for the tip, if anyone wants to replace friendly American-style service with Paris-type rudeness then abolishing tips is the way to go.Care to elaborate why abolishing tips would replace "friendly" American service with "rude" Paris type service?I went to Paris awhile ago and have not encountered the rude service that you are refering to. I did not live there so I did not get a chance to explore the local shops but I really don't think American service is that much better. I had encountered a restaurant in the US that was so friendly that they even put up a sign saying that anything less that 15% tip is an insult. When dining there, the manager would make a scene out of people insulting them by leaving less than 15% tip and gave the "waiters/waitresses" a lesson in tipping that could be heard in the kitchen. I have encountered numerous occassions even at the high end restaurants where the wait staff was less than friendly in the so called friendly American service type environment. Ok granted that the idea behind tipping really is suppose to promote friendlier service. However, we all know theoretical ideas often differs in the real world. From my understanding, in a non-tipping environment, waiters' high-turn over rate are due to people getting fired, where as in a tipping environment, waiter's high-turn over rate are due to people quitting from the workload.The reason that the surcharges were brought up is easily a direct consequence of the minimum wage increase. Most bartenders and waiters work on minimum wage. But we all know that their real income is from tips. Now with the minimum wage law increasing, the business model for most restaurants have to change. The questions is how would they change this.
 
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kr
Posts: 1885
Joined: September 27th, 2002, 1:19 pm

Should tipping be abolished?

April 23rd, 2004, 8:54 pm

if they want you to do so much mental arithmetic, might as well just back the 5% out of the bill and take it out of the tip, keeping prices sticky I mean, don't contribute to inflation, right? I used to be liberal enough that I was a believer in the 'living wage' theory, but these days service has gotten so incredibly bad that there's no discrimination in the market based on pricing - i.e. everybody's doing a $2/hr job and collecting $6/hr. Particularly big offenders in my book include the cell phone people and personal banking staff. zerdna, I'll take the legs, but make sure those ladies don't have any attitude!but yeah, only in san fransicko.. it's like one of those far-off lands in an old fairy tale where nothing makes sense, everybody walks around backwards on the ceiling and the sky is pink like bubble-gum.
 
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Beavis
Posts: 1205
Joined: June 24th, 2003, 5:04 pm

Should tipping be abolished?

April 24th, 2004, 2:08 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: DrEvilOnly in San Francisco would you expect something so silly. Next thing you know, a Columbus Street restaurant bill will have as many items and surcharges as a California phone bill.Before abolishing tipping, why doesn't the States start including tax in the prices it posts? I don't mind gratuity as much as the fact that I have to some how settle on $1.08 for my $0.99 morning muffin, leaving me to either have a few spare cents on hand or risk a pocketful of change. With larger parties, many restaurants will compute the gratuity for you, but you are still left figuring out that you will end up paying $25 for the menu item listed at $20."Abolishing" tipping doesn't really seem to make much difference in my experience...I'd say the waitresses in San Francisco are on average quite a bit more rude than those in Stockholm, Abo, or other sevice compris cities...Sorry to change the subject Doctor, but I want to tee off on San Fran for a minute. I've been here 5 months now and I think it sucks. Compared to New York, it's a shit hole. I actually live in Berkeley, so my point of view is somewhat skewed, but I see much more petty crime here, more drug use, and 10 times as many assholes. Everyone is rude as hell. Especially the black people. They suck bad, but the whites are fuck heads too. The laws are back-asswards in general. It seems like everything in NYC has a purpose and is logical. Here nothing makes sense. I'd like to burn this fuck hole down someday.... Anyway, gotta go chain up my motorcycle so the jigs don't steal it.
 
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LongTheta
Posts: 1504
Joined: August 3rd, 2003, 6:06 am

Should tipping be abolished?

April 24th, 2004, 7:25 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: BeavisSorry to change the subject Doctor, but I want to tee off on San Fran for a minute. I've been here 5 months now and I think it sucks. Compared to New York, it's a shit hole. I actually live in Berkeley, so my point of view is somewhat skewed, but I see much more petty crime here, more drug use, and 10 times as many assholes. Everyone is rude as hell. Especially the black people. They suck bad, but the whites are fuck heads too. The laws are back-asswards in general. It seems like everything in NYC has a purpose and is logical. Here nothing makes sense. I'd like to burn this fuck hole down someday.... Anyway, gotta go chain up my motorcycle so the jigs don't steal it.I know a guy who lived in Berkeley for a couple of years in the late 70's, and always described it as "Heavens on Earth". What happened?
 
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LongTheta
Posts: 1504
Joined: August 3rd, 2003, 6:06 am

Should tipping be abolished?

April 24th, 2004, 7:29 am

People like to say bad things about New Yorkers. I've never lived long term in NYC, but I've visited many times (for a week or so each time), and I've always found them approachable, friendly, warm, and helpful. Very funny too (in the good sense of the word).
 
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zerdna
Posts: 3856
Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Should tipping be abolished?

April 24th, 2004, 10:12 am

in seriousness, Bay Area is quite heavenly. but general attitude is very different from New York. People from New York regard people in San Fran as slow, dopes, and as too laid back. New Yorkers come across as obnnoxious. Both views have some elements of truth. In terms of crime in Berkeley, the city has much higher percentage of homeless people than any other place in the US, including San Fran, because of the most liberal city government in the US. Still, typical crime there is stealing a bike and reselling it on the market. People do drugs a lot, sure, but everyone, including blacks is pretty mellow, unless there is some liberal "issue" to demonstrate for. Blacks are different from New York also. Last time i was in Harlem a while back, the smell of urine was pretty much difficult to take, every store had a bulletproof glass at the counter, and i felt immediately that if i don't get a cab in a couple of minutes, there will be a serious attempt on separating me from my Rolex, my blonde girlfriend, or both. In Berkeley there are many black preachers, especially on campus, and many black musicians often on the street, it's not threatening. Gay and lesbian activists and activities are so plentiful, it's annoying, and sometimes people want to recruit you into some liberal movement. Whereas in the most of the US someone tries to convert you say in the Church of Mormon, in Berkeley it's more likely to be conversion to Trockyism. I am not absolutely positive, but my understanding is that today Berkeley is the most friendly campus to Muslims and Arabs in the US. The place is prone to the weirdest liberal causes, like for example the freedom to go stark naked to the classes, which some people did and felt very passionate about. Grad school has about ten departments ranked number one or two in the US. Nature is fantastic, weather is awesome, people are friendly, lots of very intellectual conversation in cafes, Bears maybe aren't the best team in the world, but they will beat Stanford -- that's all that counts.
 
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DominicConnor
Posts: 11684
Joined: July 14th, 2002, 3:00 am

Should tipping be abolished?

April 24th, 2004, 2:23 pm

If you really enjoy an episode of Friends or Stargate do you mail off a cheque to the actors ?The average actor earns less than the average waiter, so why not pay money to the henchman who dies in a very impressive way in your favourite episode ?How about the pretty girl who hangs about looking pretty in the background, send her a few bucks, such people don't even average minimum wage.Why not tip teachers, staff in supermarkets, and colleagues at work. Now that would be fun...Tipping only exists because it is a tax dodge.If one looks at why restaurants offer good service, it is to get repeat custom. Few people are so upset at service that they walk out, so unless you set fire to the customers it largely does not affect how much money you make from them. Unless you are in a tourist trap, repeat custom is the main difference between success and failure for this sort of business.If this was not so distorted by tax evasion, there are some obvious schemes to boost repeat rates. The obvious one being to get staff to offer (say) 10% off their next meal. The token of course has the waiter's name/code on it, so managment can tell which staff tend to have good repeat rates. This needs to have a simple, and financially strong incentive scheme, but will make the long term interests of staff and restaurant closer.
 
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balaji
Posts: 480
Joined: December 20th, 2003, 2:46 pm

Should tipping be abolished?

April 24th, 2004, 3:34 pm

QuoteOriginally posted by: DCFCIf you really enjoy an episode of Friends or Stargate do you mail off a cheque to the actors ?Tipping only exists because it is a tax dodge.And also some people make it a prestige or status issue.I know of a restaurant where tipping is banned. More than two complaints on 'unfriendly or poor quality' service, the waiter has the option of either becoming a toilet cleaner or getting thrown out. And it works. Excellent service, i must say. Depends a lot on competitiveness of the market for trained waiters.
 
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Aaron
Posts: 6433
Joined: July 23rd, 2001, 3:46 pm

Should tipping be abolished?

April 25th, 2004, 12:45 am

I don't have a strong opinion either way about tipping, but I object to the argument that it requires too much math. Figuring out tax and tip is the most difficult math problem a lot of people face, do we really want to make it even easier to be ignorant? What if one person, stimulated by having to compute a tip, actually learns how to evaluate a numerate argument? Or even discovers the joy of math and goes on to a worthwhile life?Should we eliminate all foreign words in English, so no one will be exposed to foreign languages? Get rid of everything attractive to eliminate temptation to learn about art?
 
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balaji
Posts: 480
Joined: December 20th, 2003, 2:46 pm

Should tipping be abolished?

April 25th, 2004, 2:55 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: Aaron...discovers the joy of math and goes on to a worthwhile life?Well said Aaron!Unfortunately i have had bad math profs. Therefore it has been a long, laborious (but infinitely enjoyable) self education. Not many speak the language of math with finesse, do they? Somehow it gets the image of a 'technical subject' rather than art. I equate Math to a poetic language like Sanskrit. Every theorem is like a poem. Great works are like literary master pieces. And mathematicians are like poets. I secretly hope that the best poets stay in university and write poems and teach rather than become quants to write 'John-Grisham-like-novels'. May be i am getting greedy (by asking mathematicians not to become greedy).
 
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LongTheta
Posts: 1504
Joined: August 3rd, 2003, 6:06 am

Should tipping be abolished?

April 25th, 2004, 8:09 am

QuoteOriginally posted by: balajiUnfortunately i have had bad math profs. Therefore it has been a long, laborious (but infinitely enjoyable) self education. Not many speak the language of math with finesse, do they? Somehow it gets the image of a 'technical subject' rather than art. I equate Math to a poetic language like Sanskrit. Every theorem is like a poem. Great works are like literary master pieces. And mathematicians are like poets. And how were you as a student? Did you give 'em hell? Told 'em what you thought of them? One of the reasons why the better mathematicians (and anyone who can) quit teaching and go and do anything else is the combination of abusive, unforgiving students and the unreasonable, unrealistic demands of the administrators.
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