The Instigator
ObjectivityIsAMust
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Atmas
Pro (for)
Winning
11 Points

The tipping system in restaurants is flawed

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Atmas
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/28/2014 Category: Economics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,250 times Debate No: 65989
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (2)

 

ObjectivityIsAMust

Con

I will debate that the tipping system in restaurants is not flawed.

1. First round is only for acceptance.
Atmas

Pro

I accept.
Debate Round No. 1
ObjectivityIsAMust

Con

In the comment section my opponent and I have agree to modify the debate to:
The Pro is arguing that the tipping system is flawed in comparison to a non-tipping system.
And
The Con is arguing that the tipping system is not flawed in comparison to a non-tipping system.
For the sake of clarity, I recommend that my opponent confirm this in his second round.

First, let's examine the working environment of waiter/waitresses. In order to maximize profit restaurants try to hire the least amount of workers as possible. Therefore, those who are hired end up carrying a heavier work load. As a result they are constantly running around refilling glass, taking the customers, bring those orders, as well as carrying clean and dirty dishes. In a good restaurant they have no time to stay idle.

This rushing pace takes it toll on the employee which can affect his mood. Without some kind of incentive, it difficult to imagine why one would make a continuous effort to please the customer. This is where the tipping system factors in as it offer a continuous incentive for waiters/waitresses to maintain a positive attitude with the customer.

Not only are they more likely to maintain a better attitude but they will also worker hard and better.
This is because the waiters is positive enforcer after every tip which primes him for the next customer.
The lack of tip or low tip can also work as a punishment which could motive him to try hard.

Another point would be that without a typing system waiters would probably be given the minimum wage or something along those lines. This is a relatively low salary and when one consider that it is also taxable income it can seem unlivable. In the tipping system, however, the workers receive money "under the table" sort of speak, this allow them to lower their taxable income which result in earning more then if the restaurant were to simply give them the money directly.

When a low waged worker receives more money his quality of life, on average, improves which results in a better mood and therefore better tips.

The customer also benefit as he receive a better dinning experience and is given the ability to chose whether not reward his server and by how much.

____________________________________________________________________________
I will make additional arguments in the following rounds.
Atmas

Pro

I confirm that my opponent and I are arguing: Pro is arguing that the tipping system is flawed in comparison to a non-tipping system, while Con is arguing that the tipping system is not flawed in comparison to a non-tipping system.

I will also narrow our discussion to restaurant wait-staff who receives tips, leaving out other occupations that receive tips. I think we can all agree that delivery drivers need an extra source of income to pay for their fuel expenditure, and other service based jobs will have similar job requirements as wait-staff.

Wait-staff (waitresses and waiters) will be referred to as servers in order to decrease word size.

Lastly, my position is not against the concept of tipping, someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty is certainly deserving of something extra, it is against the current tipping system found in American restaurants.

TO BEGIN:
I will address three points in this round (there will be more later) that form the foundation for my argument.

Corporate Corruption:
Simply put, the restaurant business is getting away with murder. They place the burden of pay upon the customer rather than taking it on themselves, resulting in cheap labor and lower food prices. While it seems like everyone wins, in reality, the customer pays more money than necessary, the restaurant doesn't have to pay their employees fairly, and servers are to EXPECT gratuity or tips. This is corruption and manipulation on a surprisingly large scale.

This is why all arguments about how one should tip is flawed, because it is accepting the manipulation of both customers and servers into a ridiculous agreement. Restaurants see motivated servers earn extra money from the patrons, lower the wages of the servers, then claim the rest will (might) be earned through tips. This creates an unknown variable in the servers pay, as on one hand, the servers performance dictates whether or not they receive a tip, and on the other, the price of the food ordered dictates how much tip they should receive. These will be addressed later. Overall, the social stigma of not tipping and the reliance on tips to make a livable income essentially force restaurant patrons to tip and leave them with the choice of "How much to tip" rather than "Whether or not to tip".

If this type of system were placed into other jobs, it would be more obvious. Imagine be forced to tip the car mechanic, the computer technician, the cashier, the janitor, or any of the thousands of service based jobs that don't have the same payment type.

Nonessential Work:
This section will be controversial, but is an often overlooked point. Serving in restaurants is nonessential to the restaurant scheme. That's not to say that the effort involved is easy or trivial, it is only to say that if one were to take out the position and replace it with an inanimate object, the effect would essentially be the same. This means the server is just there to give flavor to the restaurant, a frill, a set piece, a mood setter at best. When we look at the actual work they do, they're main job is to bring food you ordered to your table, something that is trivially easy. If we compare that to the difficulty and skill required in being a cook, we have another example of how nonessential the server's job really is. The American need to feel served and catered to keeps the server position existing.

False Balance of Work:
This will address two subsections about the tipping itself and the two most popular way to base tips on.
Percentage:
This is how the majority of people tip their servers, typically falling between 15-25% of their total food bill. This is, by far, the most ridiculous and arbitrary way of determining tip amount. If one HAS to tip, this type of basis will only make things worse overtime. Mostly importantly, the price of the food bill usually has nothing to do with the the amount of work the server actually did.
An example:
Say you go to Red Lobster (mostly for the biscuits), but you only want a steak as your main course. You take a look at the menu and you see:
NY Strip and Rock Lobster Tail - $30.25
Blue Cheese Sirloin - $14.99
The Sirloin is half the price of the NY strip, yet the plates weigh almost the same, and is thus the same amount of food. Yet, because of the percentage based pay, one would have to tip:
NY Strip:
15%: $4.54
20%: $6.05
25%: $7.56
Sirloin:
15%: $2.25
20%: $3.00
25%: $3.75
As we can see, getting the NY strip will result in spending more money for the same amount of food. It would be, assuming one likes both kinds of steak, pointless to get the NY strip as the Sirloin will provide the same for less.

This disparity between the work involved and the price of the food is obvious and the fact that it is the common form of pay, has caused servers to DEMAND a MINIMUM of 15% tip, and THEN they expect extra based on good performance. That is simply an arrogant and faulty approach as it means the server can act as lazy and unappreciative as they want while still receiving a "mandatory" tip.
Performance:
The least common form of tipping. This type is entirely based on the performance of the server based on the opinion of the customer. This type is often a "Do tip, or not" rather than a "how much", but can still be a "how much". This is the original form of tipping and is the most socially stigmatized. There isn't too much to tell about this type of tipping because it's in tipping's true form, Gratuity, or being grateful for a servers hard work. Typically, performance based tippers see how well the server is doing their job and will decide at the end of the meal whether or not the server deserves extra money. I have no need to point out why this type of tipping is flawed because it is the real version of tipping, and is thus the representation of the concept of tips.

I end this round by saying: Tipping is the same thing as charity and any forced charity isn't actually charity, it's a commission. Serving is not a commission based job, unless we make it a commission based job, which we should then stop calling it tipping and come up with a standardized way of pay.
Debate Round No. 2
ObjectivityIsAMust

Con

"They place the burden of pay upon the customer rather than taking it on themselves, resulting in cheap labor and lower food prices."

-> This means the customer pays less

"The American need to feel served and catered to keeps the server position existing."

-> This is one of the main reasons why people go to the restaurant, they do not want to have to cook, clean the dishes, carry the food, etc. They merely want to sit down and chat while all the work is done for them. This is part of the dinning experience.

"Overall, the social stigma of not tipping and the reliance on tips to make a livable income essentially force restaurant patrons to tip and leave them with the choice of "How much to tip" rather than "Whether or not to tip"."

-> Instead paying a high price on the food that they order, the customers are expected tip the waiter/waitress. Why should it matter if the customer is paying the restaurant directly or paying part of the servers salary? If anything this simply just give more power to the customer which is were it should ultimately lie in a free market or efficient business.

"If this type of system were placed into other jobs, it would be more obvious. Imagine be forced to tip the car mechanic, the computer technician, the cashier, the janitor, or any of the thousands of service based jobs that don't have the same payment type."

-> For this scenario to be similar, the serves fee for the other job would be lowered and than a standard tip would be assumed based on the amount that the serves fee was lowered by.

"This means the server is just there to give flavor to the restaurant, a frill, a set piece, a mood setter at best. When we look at the actual work they do, they're main job is to bring food you ordered to your table, something that is trivially easy."

-> As oppose to other minimum wage jobs?

" If we compare that to the difficulty and skill required in being a cook, we have another example of how nonessential the server's job really is."

-> A restaurant chef makes more money than a waiter, so I don't really understand the comparison. And the better the restaurant the more the chef salary increases on average.

"This is how the majority of people tip their servers, typically falling between 15-25% of their total food bill."

-> The tipping rate is 15%, people ussaly chose to go under it or over it depending on how they feel about the waiter and the price of the meal.

"Mostly importantly, the price of the food bill usually has nothing to do with the the amount of work the server actually did."

-> The 15% rate is arbitrary rule that is not a measure set in stone. Most people tip reasonably but do not offer a 15% rate if they paid for a very high meal. This position cannot be proven from either side since tipping income is not declared and therefore their is no way of reliably measuring it.

"I end this round by saying: Tipping is the same thing as charity and any forced charity"

I end my round by countering that tipping is a substitute for meal cost which gives more power to the customer.
Atmas

Pro

"This means the customer pays less"

You'll need numbers to show this, because as far as I know the price would remain the same. If the food prices were to increase, they would likely increase by 15-20%, so the customer would be paying the same.

"This is one of the main reasons why people go to the restaurant, they do not want to have to cook, clean the dishes, carry the food, etc. They merely want to sit down and chat while all the work is done for them. This is part of the dinning experience."

I will go ahead and drop this one. This is more of a, "should there be servers in restaurants" type of debate and not the one we are having.

" Instead paying a high price on the food that they order, the customers are expected tip the waiter/waitress. Why should it matter if the customer is paying the restaurant directly or paying part of the servers salary? If anything this simply just give more power to the customer which is were it should ultimately lie in a free market or efficient business."

Because the restaurant has the responsibility to pay their employees a fair wage based on the duties the employee is expected to perform. The tip is no longer a "part" of the servers pay, it is most of it, and after taxes; ALL of it. This may not be a problem if the server knew the average amount of tips they could expect per day, but because it's based on so many variables, it's impossible for them to properly gauge. One week they might make enough to buy groceries and pay the electrical bill and the next they might make half that and barely have enough to buy ramen noodle while they save for rent. Such a variable amount of pay is only suited for jobs that have higher upper limits of pay and a softer lower base; not 0-$50.

"For this scenario to be similar, the serves fee for the other job would be lowered and than a standard tip would be assumed based on the amount that the serves fee was lowered by."

The scenario is meant to represent "satisfaction gratuities" that servers supposedly get. We don't tip the other service positions because they usually make enough that we don't have to. When we start thinking, "We have to tip because servers don't make enough" we fall into a backwards thinking trap. The servers aren't paid enough 'because' it's expected they will make tips, two different modes of thinking.

"As oppose to other minimum wage jobs?"

As I said, I'll drop this section of my argument as it's wholly irrelevant to this particular debate.

"A restaurant chef makes more money than a waiter, so I don't really understand the comparison. And the better the restaurant the more the chef salary increases on average."

For clarity alone: This was a reference to the amount of work a customer doesn't want to have to perform when they go to a restaurant. It's trivial to walk to a counter and pick up your plate, but it takes more skill to cook the meals provided at restaurants. Again, section dropped.

"The tipping rate is 15%, people ussaly chose to go under it or over it depending on how they feel about the waiter and the price of the meal."

That's the average tipping rate yes, but there is a gradient depending on location and the policy of the restaurant. You basically just reiterated what I said as I was only describing the way the tip is handled.

"The 15% rate is arbitrary rule that is not a measure set in stone. Most people tip reasonably but do not offer a 15% rate if they paid for a very high meal. This position cannot be proven from either side since tipping income is not declared and therefore their is no way of reliably measuring it."

What I meant, as it seems you misread, was that if you buy a $40 bottle of wine versus a $400 dollar bottle, why should the server get more money just because one bottle is more expensive? The server themselves lose nothing by handing over the more expensive bottle and they do the exact same amount of work lifting the bottle and carrying it to your table. Regardless of the tipped amount, if it's based on a percentage higher than 1%, the server will gain extra money they didn't do any extra work for. This causes servers to push more expensive items on the menu onto the customer and to discriminate the "service" they provide based on the perceived "worth" of the customers.

"Tipping is a substitute for meal cost which gives more power to the customer."

This "power" is an illusion if one is to avoid social stigma and revenge delivered by the servers upon return to the restaurant.

According to a study done on tipping, "evaluations of service
quality accounted for less than 2% of the variability in tips expressed as a percentage of
the bill."[1]
So where does the other 98% come from? The answer is race, gender, table location, food quality, food preparation time, time spent at the restaurant, and many other small insignificant factors that have nothing to do with how nice or attentive the server actually is.

Tipping also perpetuates racism against both the server side [2] and the customer side [3]. As servers will often assume a table with black people will be less lucrative than a table with whites, they will put on a "bigger" smile for the whites and attend to them more often.

Then there is the fact that many restaurants have their servers do the cleaning and preparation of the restaurant while only making $2.13/hour. When are they making tips during the 2-3 hours of opening and closing time? How about the down time when the restaurant is slow or dead? There are only a few busy times of the day when a server actually makes decent money from tips, otherwise they are making an unlivable income.

If tipping is the customer providing payment based on service satisfaction, why would that tip be shared with the likes of bussers and hosts? They have little to no interaction with the customer. Or how about the managers? There are many restaurants that mandate that the managers (who get paid fine) to have a share in the tips just because they were involved in the customer interaction.

Overall, this can all be fixed by increasing a servers hourly wage to an acceptable level. It doesn't have to be minimum wage, even if it might be, we can't prove that it will. It would increase food prices, but this is already happening regardless [4]. So this is no excuse for not paying a hard working server a fair hourly wage.

Sources:
[1] http://tippingresearch.com...
[2] http://www.psmag.com...
[3] http://tippingresearch.com...
[4] http://www.usatoday.com...
Debate Round No. 3
ObjectivityIsAMust

Con

ObjectivityIsAMust forfeited this round.
Atmas

Pro

I extend my arguments to the next round.
Debate Round No. 4
ObjectivityIsAMust

Con

ObjectivityIsAMust forfeited this round.
Atmas

Pro

I extend my arguments. I guess my opponent gave up. Such a shame too, it was going decently.
Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Atmas
I'd like to remind my opponent they have less than 20 minutes to post their argument.
Posted by ObjectivityIsAMust 2 years ago
ObjectivityIsAMust
Ok, so your were being thoughtful and fair.

However, I still think that my mild frustration was justified because the arguments were not directly addressed.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Atmas
I didn't want to because it wasn't my debate, I sought to give no fuel for your opponent. I often express my overarching opinion on debates in the comment section, usually pointing out which position is ultimately the "correct" one and why.
Posted by ObjectivityIsAMust 2 years ago
ObjectivityIsAMust
Well I think that the word confrontational somewhat exaggerates my reaction.

I do agree that I did become mildly confrontational, near the end of our arguments, but that was becomes of the circular nature of your arguments.

You were arguing that some positions were ultimately (after serious scrutiny) wrong. However, at no point did contradict this. I simply said that I was choosing to play the devil advocate for the challenge of it. Also, I was asking you to show the flaws that you saw in my arguments but instead you circumvented that by saying that truth is truth. This is what frustrated me.

I do not care if I am proven right or wrong. What I am concern with is whether or not there is something to argue which your response did not offer thereby creating an unnecessary impasse
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Atmas
I agree. My post will have to come tomorrow morning, however. I'm glad you're (seemingly) confrontational tone has subsided, by the way. I have no interest in angering people or creating enemies, constructive discussion requires a neutral and emotion free atmosphere. Please, let's be friendly.
Posted by ObjectivityIsAMust 2 years ago
ObjectivityIsAMust
Yes, we can simply acknowledge in this debate that:

the Pro is arguing that the tipping system is flawed in comparison to a non-tipping system.
And
the Con is arguing that the tipping system is not flawed in comparison to a non-tipping system.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Atmas
Or, we could continue this one and acknowledge a change in wording so that "flawed" doesn't count.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Atmas
Alright. I think we should end this one quickly by saying "I forfeit" as our arguments. Letting the debate hang in the air and seeing "You have arguments due" makes me nervous =p
Posted by ObjectivityIsAMust 2 years ago
ObjectivityIsAMust
I would appreciate that.

And if you want we can could create a new that debate that states that "The tipping system of restaurants should be discontinued" or something along those lines.
Posted by Atmas 2 years ago
Atmas
Would you like to make this debate a mutual forfeit?
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Tweka 2 years ago
Tweka
ObjectivityIsAMustAtmasTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: FF
Vote Placed by o0jeannie0o 2 years ago
o0jeannie0o
ObjectivityIsAMustAtmasTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro argued well and many arguments where not refuted (convincing) Con forfeited.