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Is Tipping Servers Outdated?

Atearanie Starks, Buffalo Wild Wings bartender.
Atearanie Starks, Buffalo Wild Wings bartender.

Tipping has always been a matter of subjectivity. How much does a server truly deserve? How much is really enough when people have a varying view of what suffices for a good tip?

Joe’s Crab Shack has adopted a no tipping policy in 18 of its restaurants. Instead of customers tipping their servers, Joe’s is testing the idea giving their servers a fixed wage of $14 an hour, while the cost of their food will rise to accommodate the change. Many other restaurants give their servers a fixed wage of $2.13 an hour plus tips.

The move, by restaurants like Joe’s Crab Shack sounds good to some restaurant owners, but is this a universal fix to the tip culture?

Maggie Toole, a manager at Buffalo Wild Wings, in Oxford, Mississippi, said, “When you make a higher hourly wage for servers, you have to raise the menu prices to compensate for the change; and that could have a negative effect on the clientele for a restaurant.”

Atearanie Starks, a Buffalo Wild Wings bartender, said, “Fourteen dollars an hour sounds good, in a sense, but at the end of the day, it wouldn’t equal out to what I would usually make. (In the restaurant industry) there is no guaranteed amount of hours for you to work. On the slower nights, you may only be here for two hours, which would still not be worth it.”

Is there a permanent solution to tipping servers? Through trial runs, like those at Joe’s Crab Shack, only time will tell.

Mason Herman is a senior broadcast journalism major at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. He can be reached at meherman@go.olemiss.edu.

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