joescrabshackRemember how restaurants have seemed to be steadily moving towards banning tipping? Yeah, not so fast on that one.

Back in November 2015, Joe’s Crab Shack announced it was going to be testing out a no-tipping model at 18 select locations. Barely six months in, Joe’s appears to be cutting that experiment short, dropping the number of stores participating in the program to FOUR. Reportedly, both diners and employees were unhappy with the change.

They’re also not the only ones. New York restaurateur Gabe Stulman decided to go to a non-tipping model at the start of 2016 at his restaurant Fedora. He, too, has announced he’s cutting the venture short — not because of employee issues (he claims he hasn’t lost a single staffer), but because customers weren’t buying as much food.

There are a lot of factors at play here. The first (and this largely only applies to customers unhappy with no-tipping models, rather than employees) is an inborn human resistance to change in all its forms — people are used to doing things a certain way, so the immediate reaction of a lot of people is going to be to shout “NO!” like a child who doesn’t want a new blanket, they want the blanket they “accidentally” covered in peanut butter and set on fire. So that’s part of the issue.

The other part is that maybe outright BANNING tips was a stupid move to begin with. Not because servers shouldn’t make a living hourly wage; they absolutely should. But there’s a middle ground between the current exploitative system and an outright tipping ban. It’s almost as if there are other potential solutions to the issue some of us have been shouting about for literally years!

Paying servers a decent wage and lowering expectations of tip percentage works pretty well in a lot of other countries; why, exactly, couldn’t it work here? Does tape not work when you apply it to signs that say “tipping is appreciated but not required?” And don’t feed us some garbage about how restaurants couldn’t survive if they had to pay servers a living wage — there are seven states (states which run the economic and population density gamut from California to Montana) where there is no tip credit through which restaurants are legally allowed to pay servers $2.13/hour, and restaurants in those states do just fine. And despite the bullshit you may have heard, Seattle’s $15 minimum wage is NOT forcing restaurants to close. Besides which, any business that stakes its survival on paying employees less than a living wage doesn’t deserve to survive.

The worry here is that restaurants will see that the system we didn’t think would work didn’t work, and will decide there can’t possibly be a solution to the problem. But just because the binary “ALL THE TIPS OR NONE OF THEM” idea was stupid doesn’t mean there’s nothing to be done.

[Nation’s Restaurant News / Eater NY]

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  • Jay Vaughn

    Part of why it failed might have been that it was Joe’s Crab Shack.

    • SDGeoff


    • memzilla

      I kept telling him to go to the free clinic.

  • I Only Like Cats

    Unless you pay your employees over $20/hr and they have say in the hours they work, I will upend things if a restaurant doesn’t allow tipping.

  • ManchuCandidate
    • Good_Gawd_Yall

      That voice could etch glass! Reminds me of $arah $creeching.

  • Big question, if tipping were banned would there be more receipts with comments about plaid assholes with a tiny penis?

  • Oblios_Cap

    What? A problem with that can’t be solved with an all or nothing approach? Next you’ll telling us everything isn’t a zero-sum game or that that nuance and unexpected consequences exist.

    • Why am I Mr. Pink?

      Oblios_Cap insists USA can’t solve all problems at once w/o consequences! Hates America… SAD!!!

  • Pinkham’s Law

    I’m sure there were no employee complaints. I mean, just because most restaurants that banned tipping made servers turn any tips they did get over to the house, that would seem fair.

  • JMP

    This is bad news for Mr. Pink.

    • Pickwicknext

      Does he ever get good news?

      • JMP

        Well he was the only one not to die, so yeah…

        • Pickwicknext

          I forgot. Haven’t seen that one in a while. Planning to watch Deadpool tonight!

          • Blank Ron

            Watched it this morning. How can something so cartoonishly ultraviolent be so freaking FUNNY?

          • Pickwicknext

            Who cares? Funny is awesome! I am currently watching all the prerelease videos in Deadpool’s sack

        • tomamitai

          Well he was the only one not to die, so yeah…

          If you listen carefully you’ll hear the sounds of gunfire outside after Mr. Pink leaves, so maybe not.

        • Celtic_Gnome

          I thought he ran into the cops after he left the warehouse. I’m going to have to watch that again.

    • Thaumaturgist

      But it’s good news for John McCain.

  • natoslug

    If tips are outlawed, where am I supposed to draw the tiny penis on my credit card slip?

    • Msmlg1979

      The bathroom stall door is always an appropriate place to draw a penis.

      • Jonny On Maui

        Forehead of a passed out friend.

        In sharpie…

      • Why am I Mr. Pink?

        * Offer not valid in North Carolina.

        • Msmlg1979

          I live in NC, and I simply ask the hordes of bathroom perverts to wag their dicks at me slowly so I can paint it’s portrait.

    • SnarkOff

      Can I still leave religious tracts?

  • Latverian Diplomat

    “The new chip/pin systems often offer a built in selection of reasonable tip amounts. If we add electric shocks for those who refuse to select from the suggested amounts, problem solved.”

    — B. F. Skinner

    • Vecciojohn LLC

      He a book we used to call BFD.

  • JMP

    How are condescending cheapskate Christians coming from church supposed to trick and stiff poor servers by giving them fake bills inscribed with Bible verses if tipping isn’t the norm?

    • Latverian Diplomat

      Think of the children souls!

  • hollydturner

    If you take math out of the equation (pun totally intended) it works just fine. Said no one EVER! Why is this rocket science to some folks?

    • Latverian Diplomat

      It’s the people leaving imaginary tips that make it a complex problem.

      • hollydturner

        Those people are a pox on humanity!

      • Nockular cavity

        i disagree.

        • Latverian Diplomat

          We need to get to the root of your negativity.

          • Rufus T. Firefly

            You win the Internet!

        • Oblios_Cap

          I don’t speak to imaginary characters. Usually.

      • phoenix00

        Where is my goddamn Pi?

    • JMP

      25% is just so hard to calculate! If you’re an idiot. Or dru- no actually, even when not just drunk but completey wasted that’s still easy.

    • Jennifer R

      Where I went to school (North Carolina) school systems are rated 1 to 5 stars. My system was given two stars (schools of distinction in the system jargon), it was in the mountains so that was expected. I left this public school having learned condoms are 99.996% effective, the civil war was the South’s fault and it was totally about slavery and the economic model that predicated it. Made it to calculus and read Canterbury Tails in English class. What in the blue fucking hell is everyone else’s excuse when a piss failing school in Appalachia outperforms 97% of all schools.

      • marxalot

        Well, hell, that explains why it only got two stars- I never heard such a load of LIE-burrel America-hating Agenda-21 bullshit in my life! It’s a wonder you can think at all!

        • Jennifer R

          I guess they got the second star from all the good old boys wearing big Johnston and original boys in da hood Klan shirts.

      • Msmlg1979

        Appalachian folks. We’re not just illiterate hillbilly stereotypes with no book learnin’ or shoes. Who knew? ;)

        • Jennifer R

          Then again grand dad bootlegged on thunder road.

          • Msmlg1979

            One of mine did, too. The other just drank a lot of it, and my Dad had a still for his own use when he was a hell-raising youth.

          • Jennifer R

            Had to pull out the ruined remains of 60 year old stills when my paternal grandmother died and the property was returned to the family the land was share cropped from.

      • tomamitai

        …read Canterbury Tails in English class

        Did you buy it here?

        • Jennifer R

          It was in one of those Literature books from the 1970s.

      • JustDon’tSayDittos

        I’m guessing you had some good teachers who wanted to live in your area, and accepted a less-than-average wage.

        • Jennifer R

          The greater Asheville area (I was north up in Weaverville and attended school with kids from place known as barnyard’s ville. My US history teacher had been an investment banker until the crash in the late 1980s and he realized his job was pretty much evil. We spent about a month 90 minute classes studying The Jungle.

  • Skwerl King

    Banning the bra did not work, why would they think banning tipping would?

    • Sardonicuss

      “…but ..but..we were making progress!” – Thousands of Standing Cows

    • Thaumaturgist

      Banning the bra worked for a while.

      • marxalot

        Only for b-cup and below: bras are annoying, but back pain is for life.

        Waiting for top surgery

        • Pickwicknext

          Agreed! Preach sister!

        • Serai 1

          Back pain is EXACTLY why I can’t wear a bra, so that theory goes out the window.

  • Vincent Ricola

    I’m always tipping servers. I don’t care if they raise their wages to $50 an hour and tell me I’m getting put in restaurant jail if I give up extra money.

    If you make sure my water is always full or drive 20 minutes to bring me my subpar pizza, I pay you for your kindness. That’s the rule my mom taught me and I’m sticking to it.

    • Pickwicknext

      I tipped my dinner delivery driver super well last night because of all the stupid construction around my office. Yay detours!

    • Jen_Baker_VA

      We’ve been conditioned to not only pay for goods and services, which pay wages, but to also augment said wages because they do not get paid enough to live on, and we know it. Imma keep tipping too, just not cows, because they don’t like it so good.

  • Msgr_Moment

    As long as it’s just the tip, I’m okay. Wait, what?

  • marxalot

    …any business that stakes its survival on paying employees less than a living wage doesn’t deserve to survive


    • SnarkOff

      Your move, Arianna Huffington.

    • Amy!

      But enough about Walmart ….

  • memzilla

    Palindromically speaking, spit on no tips!

    • Oblios_Cap


    • OddMan

      Wonder if Sununu’s fired now.
      One of my favorite palindromes about the first Bush’s White House Chief of Staff John Sununu who got into lots of problems and resigned back in 1990.

      • Villago Delenda Est

        Remember when he used a government limo to drive up to New York to peruse some collectable postage stamps?

  • memzilla

    This no-tipping policy was heavily lobbied against by the powerful Fake $20 Bibble Verse lobby, because dickheads gotta dick.

    • Rick Hill

      Since they are leaving this as what is usually something legal tender is accepted, I wonder if they are passing counterfeit money by doing this.

      • Peripatetic Poltroon

        It’s not legal to make facsimiles of currency, even bad facsimiles. Thankfully, I’m not a lawyer, but that thing looks illegal. Throwing a smug, cheap-ass douchenozzle in the clink for forgery would be oh so karmic.

        • FigaroPho

          Sadly, it’s not illegal. A stash of tracts were confiscated by the Treasury Department back in 2006 on suspicion of counterfeiting. In 2010, the judge in the case ruled that the tracts were not counterfeit and thus legal since they were fake looking enough to not fool any reasonable person into believing it to be legal tender after a passing glance. Counterfeit money is intended to deceive long enough spend the fake money and thus defraud the retailer and the bank.

          • Alexander Disner

            If you can leave them as cash on the table and point to it as “here’s the payment”, it is counterfeit. The objective of the fake note is to pretend to be money, to get attention, and to avoid a monetary retribution known as “tip”. Fuck that judge, I will jump to appeal it faster than lightning.

  • Vecciojohn LLC

    If tips are outlawed, only outlaws …..
    No, wait.
    They’ll take my tip when they pry …

    Ah, shit.

  • witsended

    If 10% is good enough for jesus, what gives you bunch of heathens the right to ask for more?

  • Belasaurius

    but I can still leave Chick tracts, yes?

    • Frank Underboob

      If you like ingesting them in suppository form, sure.

  • witsended

    Cop Doughnuts, Doughnuts Cop. Bubba Doughnuts.

    The small-town cops who saved a doughnut shop are building an empire.

    CLARE, MI — When a group of police officers from Clare came together seven years ago to save the town’s historic bakery from closing, they figured the parody of cops making doughnuts would create enough buzz to save the century-old business from the stranglehold of an economic recession.

    No one ever told them they had a multi-million dollar idea that would go on to gain international recognition.

    “All we wanted to do was save this old bakery,” said Al “Bubba” White, vice president and one of the founding nine members of Cops and Doughnuts, the now-popular bakery, diner and retail store at 521 N. McEwan St. in downtown Clare.

  • Bitter Scribe

    I agree with most of the sentiments here but not the premise. If I saw a sign that said “Tipping Is Appreciated But Not Required,” I would be confused and irritated. Am I expected to tip or not?

    Of course, the older I get the more irritated and confused I am, so there’s that.

    • mardam422

      Get off my lawn!1

      • Oblios_Cap

        I smell an onion.

        • Land Shark

          “Belt check, please!”

      • Ikimizi

        I just mowed your lawn. Where’s my money?

    • Roadstergal

      We went to a pizza restaurant over the weekend in NorCal. It had a little table tent explaining that the wait-staff was paid a living wage, and the credit card receipt did not have a TIP: line.

      Nothing to stop anyone from leaving a few bills on the table if they wanted, of course.

    • cleos_mom

      I’d say “appreciated but not required” makes it clear.

    • Frank Underboob

      How is that unclear? It’s how it’s done in the rest of the world: you don’t have to tip, but you can if you really like (or feel sorry for) the server for whatever reason. The important point is that your server doesn’t need a tip from you to keep a roof over their head, so there’s no need to feel guilty if you don’t tip.

      • Bitter Scribe

        For one thing, it’s unclear because tipping is not “required” now. Sure, they’ll think you’re an asshat if you don’t tip, but it’s not like skipping out on your bill. Legally, you’re within your rights not to tip.

        If the sign said something like “Our servers appreciate tips but don’t require them to pay the bills because we pay them well enough already,” that would be a little better IMO.

  • Good_Gawd_Yall

    Does anyone know how tipping started in the first place? Seems to me like an idea that might have come out of, say, the Depression. Or it was intended all along to solve a problem that didn’t exist – a business that can’t afford to pay its employees closes, period. There’s no need to subsidize the business owner’s profits, which is basically what tipping does. If it’s based on the idea of service, i.e., I’m giving you a bonus because you helped me out, then why doesn’t it apply to everyone? Why don’t we tip our nurses? Or is it connected to food? Then why don’t we tip the counter kids at Taco Bell? And how does that explain tipping hairstylists or room service? GAAAAHHHH!!! I feel like a wingnut trying to understand that Medicare is government-funded.

    • Iam Reading

      I believe post-slavery, but my memory of the issue is hazy

    • Lark_in_the_AM

      Here. It ain’t pretty.

      • Good_Gawd_Yall

        Thanks – and you’re right. It’s not pretty at all.

  • Jan_in_the_pan

    The worker-owned Hippie restaurant and bodega in Athens,OH has been tip-free for about 5 years now. Prices went up a little bit on food and drinks, and the workers were compensated in their paychecks where tips used to reside. All tips left by patrons go to a local organization the employees pick to fund every week. I guess this may be on of the few examples where no tipping works.

    • Iam Reading

      Bunch of OU hippies! I love it

      • Jan_in_the_pan

        Yeah… Like many, I came down for my undergrad and never left :)

        • Iam Reading

          Understandable. Beautiful country around there. I would infiltrate every Halloween from Miami U. Those parties were nuts.

  • Angela Ruzzo

    I feel compelled to point out that, due entirely to the blogs I have read on Wonkette about the shitty treatment waitpersons get both from customers and employers, which I was not aware of since I am a decent person who was raised to treat people decently, I have started adding a 20% tip to bills I get for buffet service. I used to leave 10%. I know all the waitperson does at a buffet is bring me water and clear the table after I leave, but if they get treated so badly they deserve to be treated well. When the day comes that I can’t afford a $2 tip for a $10 lunch buffet, I shouldn’t be eating out.

    • The Witch of Endor

      And now I feel like scum. I’ve always been good about tipping 20% for carry out but it never occurred to me that I needed to be tipping for the buffet.

      • zanzibar_buckbuck_mcfate

        Ughhh now I’M feeling guilty about this, too!

      • Angela Ruzzo

        You are not alone. Most of my friends don’t tip at buffets. But my father always left $1 or $2, depending on how many in the party, which is where I learned to do it. He liked to be acknowledged as a generous man and impress people by doing it. I just do it because it seems fair.

      • Shibusa

        Buffets kind of blow for servers. You work for a few hours (at $2.13/hour) to set up the buffet, before diners arrive, but they don’t know or care about that. They just see you bringing refills and clearing plates.

        • Angela Ruzzo

          I suppose the single advantage is there is less opportunity for negative interactions with really rude customers at a buffet? But they are still on their feet for hours and underpaid, so they deserve tips. The staff at a local Indian buffet are so cheerful, and so good at refilling water and coffee and asking if we are happy and need anything, that I wish there were more wait persons like them.

    • Henri205

      I even tip 20% at takeout

      • Angela Ruzzo

        I think that’s great. The only place I ever went for takeout was a local Chinese buffet, and I must admit I didn’t tip there because I filled up the containers myself. I never even thought to tip for that, thanks for the alert.

    • handyhippie65

      i always tip at the chinese buffet. as long as my drink is full, and my table is empty, they did a good job, and deserve it.

      • Angela Ruzzo

        I wish my obsessively miserly Mid-western friends shared this practice. I think some of them choose to go to a buffet specifically because they think tipping is not required. Then they load up with twice as much food as they can eat and ask for a doggie bag. If I don’t eat all MY food, they want to take my uneaten food home too, which I think is rude. If there is something that comes with my meal that I don’t want, they ask the waitress if they can have the bit I don’t want, which is sometimes also rude. I have finally stopped going out to eat with these misers.

        • Serai 1

          Good for you. Few things are as irritating as people who ruin a meal.

        • handyhippie65

          a doggie bag from a buffet?!? that right there should be a clue to their dickishness.

  • brbr2424

    My daughter works as a server in a multi-cultural part of the country. Some people didn’t get the message that tipping was expected. She has to tip out the food runners and bussers a little over 4% of her sales. When a group has a $500 meal and they leave no tip, she ends up paying over $20 for the pleasure of serving an often needy group. Tipping means that some diners aren’t pulling their weight and other diners are picking up the slack. There are 0% tippers and 25% tippers. Perhaps a required tip of a more reasonable amount would be fair.

    • Shibusa

      I waited tables in Vegas. You’d get people from all over the world, many of whom didn’t tip, leaving servers to lose money on those tables (after tipping out bussers, bartenders, and runners…) Uncle Sam also assumed that you’re making at least 15% so when you make less that costs you too.

    • House0fTheBlueLights

      I routinely tip 25% because of this. #pullyourweight

    • Serai 1

      A good living wage would make all of that irrelevant. What tips there were could be used to pay out to the bussers, etc., without fear of the server getting shafted.

  • Henri205

    I always just assume that the servers are underpaid, so unless I’m insulted or otherwise offended, automatic 20% tip on the check. If the food delivery is a bit slow, it never hurts to nicely ask your server if it’s a busy day or if something’s going on. I’ve found you’ll usually hear the truth, usually quite softly. These people work their asses off and if the minimum wage laws screw them, well, it’s our job as customers to look after them if their management won’t.

    If the food is awful (it’s happened to me a few times), again, it’s not the server’s fault. Bring it up, the chef may be clueless but still TIP your server.

    Oh and leave cash tips if you have it on you, or if you know you’re going out to eat bring cash for a tip. These people work hard and make a point of letting them know you appreciate it. Management usually doesn’t. OK I’m done ranting now.

    • Serai 1

      Pretty much me, too. In the rare times that I’ve been flush, I’ve left bigger tips, like 35%-40%. Just made me feel good to spread the wealth. (Not that I had wealth, I just had more than usual.) Honestly, since I’ve always seen tipping as at least partly reward for good service, I’d probably tip even if wages went way up to a living level. I just wouldn’t tip as much.

    • AB316

      I usually go about 18-20%
      18 is most often my bare minimum unless I am particularly poor, then it’ll go down to 15% but no less. I’ll also go higher when I have a little extra capital or the service was exemplary.

      I always give the server the benefit of the doubt if the food is taking a little longer or there’s a minor mistake on my order, and even when they are less than friendly. Odds are their short on staff, their boss is being a dick, they’re nearing the end of some absurdly long shift or a combination thereof. Empathy is a hell of a thing.

  • Shibusa
    • enfilmigult

      Ha. Fair is fair!

  • xy

    society only wants one extreme or the other. middle ground, sensible solutions are no longer tolerated because for decades people have been told compromise is wrong and makes you weak. we are all doomed.

    • cleos_mom

      It’s the disastrous human recipe of irrationality mixed with resistance to change. The reaction of WV voters to the dreaded specter of clean energy is the most recent high-profile example.

  • I don’t know – nuanced thought from a restaurant owner? You crazy dreamers *sheesh*

  • HazooToo

    After my Mom died, I ordered an entire tray of baklava from my favorite place. 18 triangles. Comfort food. Didn’t realize it was sleeting in a pretty steady way until the delivery driver arrived. Tipped him $20 for risking his neck because I was feeling sad. A ban on tipping is fucking stupid.

  • Last Hussar

    Fuck tipping. Pay properly.

    • Serai 1

      Tipping is fine if people want to do it. Pay properly.

  • Nezrite

    I read a fascinating article a few years back that mentioned that white male diners are the most opposed to a tipping ban, because it took perceived power away from them. Their money could buy them better service and a greater reluctance to rebuff sexual innuendo (and worse). It was an EXTREMELY long read and I’m not doing it justice here but it was eye-opening. Link to first part:

  • Left Coast Tom

    (states which run the economic and population density gamut from California to Montana)

    California, by itself, runs the economic and population density gamut from California to Montana. You’d be amazed at how sparsely populated places like Siskiyou and Modoc counties (CA) are.

  • Serai 1

    any business that stakes its survival on paying employees less than a living wage doesn’t deserve to survive.


    I do not understand how so many people don’t get this Simple Fact Of Life.

    • cleos_mom

      Bookend: in the meantime, if you can’t afford to leave a decent tip, you can’t afford to eat there. That seems to be a common rationalization.

  • kareemachan

    Can restaurants ban customers leaving stupid-ass Xtian pamphlets disguised as $20 bills instead?

    • jmk


  • scottnsanfran

    Joe’s has a real need for Gordon Ramsey.
    The solution is a living wage and 15 to 20% of sales given to servers by the owners.
    Its not brain surgery no sorry rocket science.

  • Rasilom

    I spent 10 years heer in Juneau AK driving pizzas for a certain pizzas chain whos name is associted with a certain game… It was a franchise store and not a corperate one. The owner started ALL employees at state minumum wage. BUT, he gave regular raises, paid federal milage rate in cash at the end of EACH shift, and you walked with your sweet sweet tips along with the gas money EACH night. It was rare to go home with less than 50 or 60 bucks cash in pocket EACH night you worked. Funny thing, 20 years later he still has 80% of the crew I used to worked with on staff. Its almost like if you actually treat your employees well they might stick around because they like their job. As for as the owner goes he has done very well. He made enough in the first 8 years or so he was open to move from a rented trailor to buying a water side home with a totally bad ass view. Not a cheap place in this town. Her did this by respecting his employees, treating his staff well and generally beinng a total bad ass. He actually loaned me 1k$ to buy a new used car so I could keep working. 0 Interest and a year to pay him back. He gets It. Treat your staff well, dont dick them over and PROFIT!! Btw he still, 30 years after first opening, is in the store 5 days a week with a smile and a sence of humor. Why is It so hard for other resterauntours to figure thing shit out???!!!???

  • Docrailgun

    It’s not stupid. It works just fine. People are just assholes.

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