Food for Thought
When deciding where to eat, we’re drawn to restaurants where there’s buzz about the food; we go with great anticipation of an experience described by others — a particular dish, food style, sometimes ambiance, but never just because we heard there’s great service. And while it’s true we’re turned off by places with bad service, service in of itself isn’t the reason to choose a restaurant. As the issue of a fixed service charge over standard tipping has emerged, it seems we forget why we eat in restaurants in the first place. Restaurants are about the food and the experience, which is a symbiotic relationship between the front and back of the house — if one end doesn’t work, then a restaurant will be in real trouble. In speaking on a panel CUESA organized, attendees were surprised to learn that the back of the house didn’t share in the tips — they assumed that tip pooling included the cooks. It seems we have a lot of work to do in educating the public about tipping so they can help us influence decision makers to change current law.