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Eater.com: What’s Next for Restaurant Tip-Pooling Laws?
I don't want to drag this discussion on more than is warranted, but there is not a one size fits all in restaurants. As my wife and I travel a lot in our retirement, having a nice evening meal is an important part of that relaxation. I use Trip Advisor and Yelp to help guide us to the kinds of restaurants that will meet that expectation, and the number one criteria for us is the quality of food. If the food is good it means they have hired good cooks and are paying them a decent wage to keep them. A bad cook can ruin a business faster than bad service. So my expectation is that the restaurant is paying the cook well and should not necessarily share in the tips.
Service is indeed an important part of our evening experience, and for that a good waiter will earn the tips that he/she receives. It starts with knowing the menu, what's good, and what's not so good. My wife quizzes the waiter on ingredients and looks for the waiter to help steer her in her selections. We also order drinks and starters and hate it when our main meals are served while we are still in the middle of eating our starters. We hate being rushed to eat.
It goes without saying that a good waiter will keep our water glasses filled, note when our wine or beer glasses are empty, check on how well we like our meals, fix anything that isn't right, and generally just be a pleasant and helpful person for the evening experience. And for that the waiter should get to keep his/her tips and not share.
As far as the other staff...dish washers and such...those do not require a great deal of skills. I hope the restaurant is paying them at least the minimum wage, but I don't feel that waiters should have to share their tips with dish washers.
There are, of course, different rules that may apply to fast food restaurants and such. The businesses need to work those out. But for a decent restaurant that wants to stay in business, they need to understand their customers needs and good waiters (in addition to good cooks) are important for staying in business.
I am therefore opposed to the tip pooling laws being proposed.