Tips are earned.
In fact, I should stop there; drop the proverbial mic and walk away, but we all enjoy the clarity, so let’s move on, shall we?
Tips were never intended to create an entitlement or to provide the expectation of an absolute “Minimum”. When I go out to eat, you start at 0% and keep going up. For excellent service, I’ll leave a $ 20 tip for a $ 15 bill. You earn a big tip from me when you go beyond the norm:
When you involve me beyond “what is your request”, how to make a good joke and congratulate my wife.
When refills arrive on the table on or before my glass is empty;
When you have smart things to say about the menu without me having to ask.
When you take me away from an item that is not up to par.
When you do something unexpected that improves my experience.
The norm used to be 10%, and even then it was never understood as an expectation, but rather as a bonus for exceptionalism. Then the foodservice industry lobby kept pushing for ever higher tip percentages and promoted the idea of minimal expectations and acted as if it should increase every time the wind blew. Then it became popular to try to shame people into tipping more with industry-funded items stating that only horrible people tip less than the new higher rate.
If I see a tip jar on the checkout counter of a coffee shop, fast food restaurant, or stop-and-rob, or even taped to the outside of a shortcut window, I turn right and go. go. Giving me what I asked for is not “earning” a tip, and demanding a tip or acting as if that tip is an expectation rather than a privileged bonus for exceptional service is an insult. I tipped outrageously and left a penny. Tips are the direct result of the effort made in the service provided. I don’t care what the service industry lobby says a tip percentage should be; they are blowing their own horn for their own benefit.
When I enter a place that has a mandatory tip on the bill; I go out and never come back because that is pure arrogance and I will not pay a penny to any establishment that does that. There are a lot of shitty service workers who expect 18-20% tips and have never earned that in their life. Tips are not the automatic right that the service industry lobby would like you to think, tips are for people who push themselves and excel at what they do.
Personally, I think sub-minimum wages should be banned entirely, as the service industry as a whole has completely abused and distorted in its favor and put all the pressure on the waiters. Getting someone to do everything they can to reach the minimum wage is degrading and unfair.
Trying to embarrass your own clients to make up for the fact that you are a fool who does not pay minimum wage is just as insulting.
Again, just my view from the cheapest seats …