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Food for Thought: Tipping

Dick Stein
Thanks for the love, folks -- and keep it comin'!

Those in the know say that in another ten years tipping in restaurants will be a thing of the past.  Many eateries in the Seattle area have already abolished the practice. 

My Food for Thought co-conspirator, Nancy Leson, tells us that "Tom Douglas' restaurants, Renee Erikson's restaurants, El Gaucho, some of the Daniel's Broiler restaurants" have all gone no-tipping.  "Here in Seattle, Ivar's was one of the first restaurants to go no-tipping," she said.

Abolishing restaurant tipping may seem an extreme idea, but it's just biz as usual in at least 20 other countries.There's no tipping in Japan, Australia, and yes, even France.  And that's not just for restaurants.  They don't tip, period.  Here's a larger list of no-tipping nations.

Nance thinks that with the addition of a 20 percent service fee, as so many new non-tipping restaurants are doing, the servers will make out about the same – and the cooks and  dishwashers will get to share a bigger piece of the pie, too.

Some patrons object to being charged a service charge instead of deciding for themselves if it was worth it.  I don't do much restaurant dining but in my experience the service – not counting the annoying "you guys" salutation  – is usually fine.  And on those rare occasions when it's not I just don't go back.

Patrons and restaurant workers in all positions, not just servers, what are your takes on this? And should cow-tipping be included in the ban?

PS: While we don't exactly work for tips here at KPLU, we sure could use your help in raising the money with which to buy our independence.  Otherwise we'll simply cease to exist.  That means the loss of a whole local news staff, the jazz, blues, all our special features like Birdnote, Going Places, Sports With Art Thiel, arts coverage and, of course, Food for Thought.  We're more than halfway to our seven-million-dollar goal now.  You can make all the difference. 

Here's where to go to make your contribution.  Thanks so much.

"If you've known a lot of actresses and models, you return to waitresses because at least they smell like food." – Jim Harrison

Dick Stein has been with KNKX since January, 1992. His duties include hosting the morning jazz show and co-hosting and producing the Food for Thought feature with the Seattle Times’ Nancy Leson. He was writer and director of the three Jimmy Jazzoid live radio musical comedies and 100 episodes of Jazz Kitchen. Previous occupations include the USAF, radio call-in show host, country, classical and top-40 DJ, chimney sweep, window washer and advertising copywriter.