CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Whether it’s a cheap chain restaurant or someplace fancy, the general dining experience is the same; place your order, enjoy your meal, and calculate your server’s tip when you get the check. However, in some places that’s changing.
When patrons at one French restaurant in Philadelphia receive their bill, there’s a note attached that reads ‘Tipping is not necessary.’ That’s because servers there earn about $13 an hour, have health insurance, and get vacation and sick days.
Restaurants across the country are beginning to follow the trend, in an effort to address income inequality. The federal minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13; in Massachusetts it’s $3 an hour, but many servers prefer it that way.
Abby Weaver of Memo’s in West Springfield said, “At a place like this, it’s so busy all the time and you’re flipping tables so quick, you make so much more money with just the 10 percent or 20 percent, whatever someone decides to tip.”
Weaver didn’t earn tips at her last serving job, and said it made some of her coworkers a little lazy. She said, “Other servers, when we were working the 12.50, it wasn’t really a team thing. You knew you were coming out with whatever you made hourly so it was like who cares. You’re not on top of the customer all the time.”
And customers like that control. Allyson Varao of Westfield said, “I kind of like to think about what my experience was. I’ve been to some restaurants where the experience wasn’t that great, then I come here and it’s great. It makes them feel good because they’re working so hard to get a decent tip.”
The no-tip model is a welcome alternative to some servers without benefits, but for those who might be covered by their spouse’s insurance, most choose the cash in-hand that day.