...is it really rooted in the basic fear of restaurant owners not wanting to raise prices?
Yesterday as I was standing at the cash register at a big box store, waiting for the master card receipt to finish printing, this question, I couldn't answer, popped into my head.
I had just been served very well by the customer service representatives in the store who helped my find a solution to a plumbing problem i was having. And here at the check out stand there was no expectation of me having to pay a tip for the employees doing what their employer hired them to do - provide excellent customer service.
Yet in the restaurant industry today, it would appear that restaurant owners hire staff and pay them a small base salary but expect their customers to pay the wait staff for them. This just struck me as odd!
How did this one segment of the retail sector develop such different expectations?
I'd be interested in hearing how and or why this tipping expectation got started and why restauarants in particular, off load to the customer, their responsibilities to pay their employees a fair salary for the work done.
Does it have anything to do with confidence in the value they provide to the customer,... are they really that afraid of raising prices enough to not only cover their costs but also provide a decent profit? If they paid their staff a fair salary and had systems in place to ensure they provide great service to all customers, the customers would gladly pay the bill and the industry would be on their way to making better profits because all customers would be contributing to the real cost of wait staff wages instead of leaving that burden to the small percentage of us that do tip, even when the service is bad?
A similar case of being afraid of rasing prices, can be found in the independent hair stylist, who owns their own shop. They are completly free to set their own prices, and yet when the customers come in, asks how much for a hair cut, and pays only what they are told it would cost, they are made to feel cheap if they don't tip the hairdresser. What's up with that? If you wanted more money for the haircut, why didnt' they just ask for more before they started? After all they do set their own prices!