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No Tipping Says New BC Restaurant


DonLever

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From the Province:

A newcomer to the restaurant scene wants to turn the industry upside down by doing away with tipping — likely the first in Canada to do so.

When David Jones opens Smoke and Water in June at the Pacific Shores Resort in Parksville, customers will never have to crunch the numbers to determine what 10, 15 or 20 per cent of their bill is to leave a gratuity.

“Tipping is a broken business model,” said Jones, an admitted neophyte in the hospitality industry.

Instead of tipping, Jones has increased menu prices by about 18 per cent and intends to pay his staff a living wage, which is a business model accepted around the world in places such as Japan, New Zealand, Australia and parts of Europe.

That means the 155-seat restaurant will pay servers between $20 and $24 an hour and cooks $16 to $18 an hour.

At Smoke and Water — named after its fire-inspired menu of barbecue and wood-fired pizza and its proximity to the ocean — Jones will also put aside a small percentage of gross receipts to pay for medical and dental coverage for his 48 staff.

“When you take away tipping, you find you get more seasoned servers and you’re able to increase the quality of personnel you get in the back of house,” Jones said.

It also goes a long way to eliminating the division between the two sides of any restaurant where the servers often make three times what the cooks do, he said.

Jones is going so far as to eliminate the lines on credit card and debit receipts where tips used to be penned in.

“We will not accept them, we will give them back,” he said. “If a tip is left and we can’t get it back to (a customer), we will donate it to charity.”

It’s a novel concept here, but a Canadian tipping expert thinks Jones may be on to something.

“He’s ahead of his time,” said Bruce McAdams, a 25-year veteran of the restaurant industry and assistant professor at the University of Guelph’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

No tipping in Canadian restaurants is an idea whose time may finally have come, said McAdams, who has been researching tipping around the world for the last three years.

“Three years ago, I wouldn’t have said this will catch on, but I think there’s a 50-per-cent chance that, in five years from now, the restaurant model could change,” he said. “And it will start with small, independent operators.”

McAdams said most restaurateurs he speaks with agree tipping is archaic and makes little sense, but all are loath to change a system that has become ingrained.

“They say it will never change and consumers will never go for it, and no one will have the stones to try it first,” he said.

But he argues that is changing with increased pressure and discussion about what constitutes a living wage.

“I think (Jones) may be on to something," he said. "There is potential to market this and create some product differentiation.”

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I think the whole mandatory tipping system is stupid.

I like the business model, but I think it needs a little refining with the numbers. Also, I think the tip should still be an option and not refused. Service shouldn't suffer based on the potential for a tip or not; however, knowing people nowadays, it will.

In a lot of places in the world, tipping is not a thing, and they seem to do fine in terms of customer service. It all comes down to the entitled, ungrateful attitude people have developed in North America, and unfortunately I think it's a little too far gone right now to be changed.

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no offense to servers, but there is no way they deserve 24 an hour to serve food. There are a heck of a lot of people with formal education making much less money then that. Shouldn't the cooks who are making the product be getting more money than the person who simply carries it from the back to the table and gets you a glass of water? Thats like the man behind the counter at the car dealership taking your keys and offering you a cup of coffee while you wait being paid more than the man fixing your car; that doesn't make sense.

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no offense to servers, but there is no way they deserve 24 an hour to serve food. There are a heck of a lot of people with formal education making much less money then that. Shouldn't the cooks who are making the product be getting more money than the person who simply carries it from the back to the table and gets you a glass of water? Thats like the man behind the counter at the car dealership taking your keys and offering you a cup of coffee while you wait being paid more than the man fixing your car; that doesn't make sense.

While I won't answer your question... he knows he can't change that part of the system right away. By giving out such a high wage, he'll probably attract decent servers. Nobody who's even half-good at serving will want to take a low wage without tip. The guy's got to attract good employees.

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Is this David Jones the NHL player?

Is this David Jones the weather guy?

Or the Monkee?

Anyways I have to agree about cooks getting paid less. I haven't done the job for a few decades but I can't imagine being paid less as a cook than the waitstaff. I don't see him attracting the best cooks and chefs with this plan and without topnotch grub it'll be a hard sell.

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Two problems with this

  1. Service might be worse
  2. Food is going to be more expensive

I don't get tips at my job but I still work my butt off. Pride in work matters, and getting paid a good wage helps with that.

The price of your dinner is the exact same regardless of the fact that food is more expensive. Your dinner is actually cheaper if you would have tipped 20%.

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no offense to servers, but there is no way they deserve 24 an hour to serve food. There are a heck of a lot of people with formal education making much less money then that. Shouldn't the cooks who are making the product be getting more money than the person who simply carries it from the back to the table and gets you a glass of water? Thats like the man behind the counter at the car dealership taking your keys and offering you a cup of coffee while you wait being paid more than the man fixing your car; that doesn't make sense.

Yes. It's been the norm in other countries and yes, it seems to work for them. That doesn't mean it's a good idea for the North American restaurant going public.

I'm a Red Seal journeyman cook. I've apprenticed, trained and attended college classes to achieve such. A Red Seal journeymen cook is more than just a short order cook. To be more specific, anyone with a modicum of multitasking ability can be trained as a short order cook. Just as anyone with the same multitasking talent can be trained to serve in a restaurant.

The wage system in the N.A. restaurant industry is not in sync with other industries. Journeyman welders, electricians, mechanics, etc; their wages far exceed what journeyman cooks make. Labourers, which are the equivalent of what a short order cook is, are payed less than the qualified journeyman employees. This should apply to servers in the restaurant industry as well.

The adage, "good help is hard to come by," certainly holds true. Not just in the restaurant industry but in all, but in my opinion, prevalent in restaurants. Now speaking strictly of "servers;" what is a fair "living" for them? What is a fair living wage for anyone? What are one's personal situations? Are you an unschooled single? A poor student? Rich student? Empty nester looking for work? Single parent? Whatever ones reasons to look specifically at server work, wages for such must be fair.

Long winded post, I know. This restaurateur's new eating establishment may be a ground breaking. It is yet to be seen as to the success of the "No Tipping" system. Dude's gotta have a good product first. Pay your qualified staff more. Let the lesser staff earn their right for a better wage through hard work and ability. 'Nuff said!

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Two problems with this

  1. Service might be worse
  2. Food is going to be more expensive

Not sure of this.

If people have to rely on the unknown of tips and they aren't a given, I don't see service being any better than if servers/staff KNOW their wage as a fair one and can simply do their jobs. Nothing worse than an over eager server who's going overboard to secure a tip. I think there's more incentive with an established/fair wage.

And with food being more expensive, at least you'll know and can make informed decisions rather than having to factor in and figure out tips.

I'm ok with this...puts a bit more of the onus on business owners to take care of their staff...the tip route allows them to footdrag a bit and it can become a pattern as they shift their responsibility elsewhere. Tips aren't always fairly distributed either...this can lead to resentment and problems.

I don't agree with servers making more than those in the back, sweating it out. That baffles me.

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How does this benefit the owner?

It's the same schtick as the, "No Dicker Sticker" car dealerships. You only pay the price listed for the car, or in the case of this restaurant, the price listed in the menu; taxes not included of course.

The restauranteur benefits in the hope this scenario in a restaurant setting will be the attraction and will bring in more business. That's the idea anyways.

I'd also like to point out that in my many years of experience in this field, gratuities have been the sole domain of the servers. More often than not servers, in addtion to tips, equate to wages dramatically higher than most cooks. It's pretty plain to see this is the reasoning behind offering a higher wage for the server and lower cook wages in this "No Tip" eatery.

For whatever reason, qualified cooks wages in the domestic restaurant industry have not kept up with inflation. In most cases, gratuities earned by servers are not shared with kitchen staff. The trend is shifting, but it's still very lopsided to be sure.

Why not pay a more attractive wage to both kitchen and diningroom staff, keep tipping and share the spoils of gratuities earned among all; 50/50 sounds about right.

Remember servers. It's not just your wait ability, smiles and personable talents that's getting the tip, it's also the product you're serving that is a big part in making the dining experience a joy for the customer. A TEAM effort. Accolades and the spoils to be shared among all!

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Two problems with this

  1. Service might be worse
  2. Food is going to be more expensive

If the servers aren't any good he can fire them and hire people who are. That assumes he can find quality servers of course, but that's the idea.

An 18% increase built into his prices is a bit more, where I might tip between 15% for ok service and 20% for great service. Maybe I'd save by having that discretionary tip amount at many places, but it'd only be a few % and I'd generally tip at around 17-18% anyway.

I think the whole mandatory tipping system is stupid.

I like the business model, but I think it needs a little refining with the numbers. Also, I think the tip should still be an option and not refused. Service shouldn't suffer based on the potential for a tip or not; however, knowing people nowadays, it will.

In a lot of places in the world, tipping is not a thing, and they seem to do fine in terms of customer service. It all comes down to the entitled, ungrateful attitude people have developed in North America, and unfortunately I think it's a little too far gone right now to be changed.

I'd much prefer a living wage system to forcing servers to earn the difference they need through tips. If you want to be paid more, don't just work at the diner down the street, but aim for a job at the 4 star restaurant if a server is truly something you enjoy.

Doing away with tips also solves much of the inequity between similar jobs that don't have them. A waiter is essentially involved in customer service, and most of the customer service jobs (particularly lower end ones) don't earn tips at all. You can look at McDonald workers, but also retail store workers and other jobs that don't have a tip system. What about someone not involved in customer facing roles, should they be any less deserving of tips if they do something that has an impact on a customer's life?

Just pay a salary that's commensurate with the work being done and recognize employees who are better than others with bonuses, raises, etc.

I think it's a good idea as long as it's advertised out front. Otherwise people will see the prices and back off.

But...

I'll never for the life of me understand why kitchen staff should be paid 20% less than servers.

That makes little sense to me as well. I don't come to a restaurant for the service (although I might not come back if it's particularly bad) but I do for good food. I can put up with mediocre service for good food, but I wouldn't do the reverse.

I'm actually curious if in very high end restaurants that cooks might make more than servers. Comparable roles of course, where the head chef might make more than the head waiter, or a sous chef might make more than a regular waiter - assuming they get a portion of the tips as well and the front end staff doesn't make more based on that alone.

no offense to servers, but there is no way they deserve 24 an hour to serve food. There are a heck of a lot of people with formal education making much less money then that. Shouldn't the cooks who are making the product be getting more money than the person who simply carries it from the back to the table and gets you a glass of water? Thats like the man behind the counter at the car dealership taking your keys and offering you a cup of coffee while you wait being paid more than the man fixing your car; that doesn't make sense.

That'd depend on the quality of the restaurant. In a higher end restaurant they'd certainly earn more as they'd be expected to have a higher level of service and know more about the menu. If it's a small cafe or lower end restaurant, then something more like $12-18 might make sense. That of course is still an increase over many jobs, but those places could have younger staff and still pay them a liveable wage.

Now, $24 was the high end of the scale, but as Bob.Loblaw mentioned after the owner doesn't expect to be able to start low and hope he can attract quality servers. Those servers know if they give excellent service they can potentially earn more at other jobs where they'd get tips.

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no offense to servers, but there is no way they deserve 24 an hour to serve food. There are a heck of a lot of people with formal education making much less money then that. Shouldn't the cooks who are making the product be getting more money than the person who simply carries it from the back to the table and gets you a glass of water? Thats like the man behind the counter at the car dealership taking your keys and offering you a cup of coffee while you wait being paid more than the man fixing your car; that doesn't make sense.

lol

I use to make way more then that at the keg

tipping is a broken system, and even though I benefited greatly from it, I dont believe in it

serving is an easy job. I dont care what anyone says, a monkey can do it. Sure some sitatuons are tough when you are sat multiple tables at once or you have rude customers, but every occupations has

to deal with crap like that

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