Many pointed out that the food industry was guilty of relying on customers' tips to make ends meet.
While tipping culture is a common in the food industry across the world, in America, businesses rely heavily on tips so that their workers can live a dignified living. The minimum wage paid by a majority of the food industry including major franchises are not sufficient to make ends meet for employees. The tipping culture prelavent in America shifts the burden of the compensating workers a decent wage to customers. Not to mention that many minimum wage workers across different industries are forced to rely on food stamp, apart from their wages.
A seafood restaurant in Florida invited the wrath of people on Reddit after it pasted a poster on its wall trying to guilt customers into tipping more to compensate for the poor wages on offer. The poster in itself accepts that the employees make next to nothing when you don't leave a tip for the meal you have just eaten. The poster reads: Please remember to tip your server. Servers make state minimum wage, which is only $5.65/hr, most of which is taken away in taxes! They rely on your tips to make a living! When you don't leave a tip, they would have served you for duration of your meal for nothing. The people of Reddit called out the company for not paying a livable wage to its employees and also having the audacity to guilt the customers into covering the cost fo the employee. The poster concluded with the line: “Take care of those who took care of you!” While the line itself might sound caring and well-intentioned, Redditors accused the business of abdicating responsibility of paying their workers a decent living wage.
After a patron called out the restaurant, they defended themselves by claiming that their employees were happy. "You should ask how our servers feel about us. Bold of you to assume we don't take care of our own," wrote the restaurant page. The patron responded by point to the restaurant's very own poster that they weren't paying them beyond the minimum wage and that they made next to nothing. "What isn't okay is that your tone on your flyer sounds exactly like your response... Condescending. If your servers are happy with how you treat them, then you shouldn't need to tell customers to tip. As someone else stated in these comments, tipping is a uniquely US problem," they added. It is indeed a problem spread across the industry and not just the seafood restaurant in Florida.
The patron who raised the issue on Facebook spoke to Bored Panda about it. "If someone goes above and beyond, absolutely tip them, regardless of whether they’re a server, a cook, a retail worker, an installer whomever,” said the person. “If there were no distinction from a nontipped minimum wage, that would be a start, followed by the attitude of, “Tips are appreciated but never expected.'”
Majority of the comments on Reddit were critical of the restaurant. "I am an owner of a restaurant with a number of employees but I expect my customers to subsidize me not paying them a living wage," quoted them sarcastically. Another Redditor commented, "They could just say hey we did the math, and we can’t figure out how to pay a living wage so please tip so we can exploit them for cheap labor and depend on society to help them make a profitable day." Another pointed fingers at the industry. "I will never understand how the restaurant industry gets away with how staff is paid," wrote one person.
One person defended the system, writing, "In these types of conversations, I like to point out that the majority of people would probably end up paying less for their meal if you consider tipping. I'd probably tip $4+ for a $20 burger. But if they increased it to $23 and removed tips I'd end up saving money. But it would catch all the selfish people who don't tip. And that would functionally 'subsidize' the $1 difference between my tip and the increased price," they said.
The tipping culture in America is a shock to many from other countries, which was captured by TikToker @calvinandhabs: