Restaurant servers rely on tips for survival, but a growing number of critics are pointing out that the system is flawed.
The standard tip on dinner checks is now as much as 25%, reports Venessa Wong at Bloomberg Businessweek.
But while upscale servers can earn good money, the cooks who prepare the food make minimum wage.
Restaurateur Michael Chiarello, who owns Bottega in Manhattan, said that his servers make up to $US90,000 a year through tips, while cooks earn close to minimum wage.
Cooks arguably wield more influence over the customer’s experience.
“Just as customers may unfairly penalise their servers with a bad tip if the food isn’t satisfactory, they may also reward them when the food exceeds expectations — both things the waiter does not control,” Wong writes.
Restaurant owner Jay Porter criticised the practice last year, maintaining that restaurants should get rid of tipping in a piece for Slate.
“Servers and cooks typically made similar base wages — and minimum wage was the same for both jobs — but servers kept all the tips, which could often mean they were taking home three times what the cooks made, or more,” Porter said.
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