What's particularly generous is that restaurant servers, who can legally be paid less in many states under the assumption that they will make up the difference in tips, must be paid the full minimum wage in San Francisco. We also have a law requiring restaurants (and every other employer) with 20 or more employees to pay for most of their health insurance.
Many people think that restaurant servers share their tips with the kitchen staff, but it's not true. In fact, servers sued a vegan café that attempted to have all tips shared with chefs and other kitchen staff; the successful lawsuit might have helped force it out of business. This is the reason some chefs have tried to create no tipping restaurants: because the people who bring your food often make more money than the people who make your food. But some chefs have backed off the tipless system because prices look higher with tips included, and plus, many diners just love to tip.
Republican white men, in particular, love to tip restaurant servers well, according to a recent survey by CreditCards.com. For them, the standard is 20%, while for women it's 16% and for Democrats it's just 15%.
I thought about this while reading "A Guide to Tipping Etiquette in the Modern Bay Area" last week from my alma mater, San Francisco Chronicle Food. I am personal friends with more than one of the writers who worked on it, and I love them for their generosity, but the article is an echo chamber with no true discussion or dissenting opinions. Chronicle Food thinks you should tip 20 percent on the subtotal. I have to admit, before reading the Chronicle's guide, I never even considered tipping at a food truck. 20%? Really? Who knew it was such a nest of Republican white men over there? Couldn't they have brought in at least one Democrat? 😇
Seriously, though, I'd like to read a real discussion on this, because if Chronicle Food's not going to have it, I'll be happy to bring home its leftovers. Wouldn't be the first time.
For contrast, here's Wikihow's How to Tip Your Server at a Restaurant. Its standard, nationwide, is 15%, even though Wikihow says, "It’s not uncommon for servers to make just over $2 an hour before they receive tips. They often make well under minimum wage." Not here they don't.
So the question is in the headline. Now San Francisco is up to $14 minimum wage, and many hard workers who are not in jobs that get tipped earn only that minimum. I know working as a server is hard, but many minimum wage jobs (some of them in kitchens) are hard. All minimum wage workers need money, but only servers get a nightly bonus that often exceeds their actual pay. San Francisco had the highest paid servers in the nation before the minimum-wage hike.
So that's the question: Should the minimum wage law change the norms of tipping? What should we tip now? What do you think?