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Some Restaurants Do Away With Tips, Raise Menu Prices Instead

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BALDWIN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An argument that waiters and customers will be happier if tips are done away with seems to be gaining steam.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported Wednesday, a solid majority of Americans – 75 percent – said they tip less than the customary 20 percent when dining out, according to a new survey by Vouchercloud.

And nearly half said they are tipping less than they did five years ago, according to the survey.

Some restaurant workers are not pleased by the trend.

Long Island waitress Kerri Kudler called it “unfair, especially if you are good at your job and good at what you do.”

But more and more restaurant patrons said grading the server at the end of the meal, and then doing the math, is taking away from the enjoyment of the experience.

“They have no idea what is fair; what’s not fair,” said waiter Adam Panetta. “A lot of people are getting stiffed in the process.”

Owners are listening, and from California to New York, there is now a move afoot to end restaurant tipping.

Customers are still paying for service as part of their overall bill. But with 15 to 20 percent higher menu prices, waitstaff is pooling the money instead.

“Everybody gets an even amount,” said waitress Erica Magliocchi. “But it’s bad, just because some people work harder than others.”

Butch Yamali runs multiple restaurants and catering halls on Long Island. He does not support the no-tipping trend, and said he wants the waitstaff rewarded individually for hard work – adding another level of service accountability.

Still, he predicted no tipping is the wave of the future for busy owners.

“It’s much easier for them to have it all computerized, put it in their paycheck at the end of the week, and done,” said Yamali, president of Coral House caterers in Baldwin.

Economist Dr. Martin Cantor said a no-tipping policy may benefit some, but the waitstaff will end up with a raw deal.

“The governmental agencies will love it because there will be a bump up in sales tax revenues,” said Cantor, of the Long Island Center for Socio-Economic Policy. “I think the people who will pay for this, if you will, will be the waitstaff. They will not get what they should get.”

Some restaurants that have already instituted the no tipping policy say waiters have had to race after patrons outside the restaurants to return the cash the patrons mistakenly left.

And some restaurant customers said they would have to be rewired to leave nothing at the end of the meal.


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