I despise the institution of tipping for service. There’s no practical way to escape it (obviously no decent person will stiff a waiter in the service of a principle), it’s degrading to people who are no more “servants” to me in a restaurant than I am to my students, the “expected” tip has been increasing as a percentage of the tab for no reason (because its a percentage, inflation is automatically covered already), and in some contexts (like New York garages and apartment houses) it’s only slightly above extortion, with a soupçon of positional arms race. Furthermore, it’s an invitation to tax evasion.
Here’s the beginning of a worthy trend: some high-end restaurants here are just putting a stop to it, and apparently to everyone’s approval. Now we just need to increase the menu prices 20% and have done with the whole mess. I like charging extra for checked bags on an airplane; why should people without bags pay to schlep mine across the country? But having dinner put on your table is not an optional part of dining in a sit-down restaurant. Roll it all up together and have done with it; let management manage things like salaries, training, and working hours.
[rev 24/X] from the linked (paywall) article:
Citing both pragmatic and philosophical reasons, a small collection of Bay Area restaurateurs are eliminating tipping. Instead of expecting diners to leave a tip, the restaurants will automatically add a 20 percent service charge to all bills — and not accept any additional gratuity beyond the service charge….Rather than relying on tips, the restaurants will compensate staff on merit-based hourly wages and revenue-sharing. It’s a system common abroad….So far, the restaurants’ respective staffs have been largely supportive, according to owners. Camino’s Hopelain estimates that cooks stand to receive an hourly increase of 50 cents to $1, while servers’ pay will remain steady, or perhaps decrease 50 to 75 cents an hour….One major shift will be in reporting tips for tax purposes. Generally speaking, cash tips have a tendency to go unreported among restaurant servers. Once the service charge becomes an official line item on a receipt, people will be accountable. Hoffman [co-owner] said employees at Comal will not see a change in their income if they have been declaring all of their tips.