According to Newsy’s partners at KMGH, servers at the Italian restaurant Abrusci’s in Colorado began making $20 an hour in July, compared to the old rate of $5.21. Servers also get paid vacation and sick days. And to top it all off, 20 percent service charges are guaranteed.
The restaurant’s owner, Nancy Progar, told KMGH, ‘We [are] trying to help them, all of our staff, earn a livable wage. Then we started to see this trend across the country where a lot of restaurants are going to no tipping.’
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Is this forced tipping by another name?
But while the restaurant says its system bans tips, many customers are seeing it more as forced tipping.
When KMGH posted the story to Facebook, one viewer commented: ‘I wouldn’t go to a restaurant who automatically charges a 20% service charge. We always tip at least 20% but we do it voluntarily and it is based on good service!!’ As of Wednesday morning, that comment had received more than 600 likes.
Getting away from personal views over how much to tip or whether or not to tip in certain circumstances, some viewers said the restaurant could simply raise the prices of its dishes and not accept tips.
The restaurant’s owner argued that, with time, servers’ performances will fall in line with customers’ expectations of what merits 20% tips.
‘Servers won’t be trying to take as many tables as they can,’ she said. ‘They’ll actually deliver high quality, top-notch service to every table.’
The restaurant’s new no tipping system is set to start July 20.
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Here’s my take…
Generally, there is no tipping allowed when I go to sit-down restaurants outside the U.S. Instead, there is mandatory service charge of 10%.
Let me perfectly clear: I cannot stand this idea. I believe servers are classic entrepreneurs. They are kind of like in business for themselves. The better a job they do, the friendlier they are, the better a job they do attending to customer needs…well, the better the tips they will get.
But to treat everybody the same? Let’s say one server riled up the people at table 6 and created a horrible dining experience for them. Should that server get the same amount of money as other servers who played nice with their customers? If so, that sounds like it’s a page out of the playbook of the old Soviet Union!
So the mandatory service charge is one idea that I hope does not really catch hold outside of a handful of restaurants on both coasts in major metro areas. What a crummy idea!