The shameful state of the salaries of restaurant workers, who often earn a poverty-level $2.13 an hour before gratuities, is a topic that’s hotter than the biscuits in Paula Deen’s kitchen these days.
But while politicians argue about the minimum wage and lobbyists push to keep workers’ salaries artificially low, I have an unconventional recipe for righting this obvious wrong: Tip more.
Yes, some industry-watchers believe it’s time to freeze the tipping tradition. Withhold your gratuity and a fundamentally flawed and unfair system will crumble, they say. They’ll get no disagreement on the flawed and unfair part from me, but unless the cost of the gratuity is baked into menu prices, pulling your tips will just hurt the people it’s trying to help.
In a related development, a survey released by the U.S. Travel Association this morning found 8 in 10 people said they support a trusted traveler program that would provide alternative screening measures for Americans who submit to a background check and meet other risk criteria. I wonder if that would include a trip to the salad bar?
Respondents also said they would take an average of two to three more trips per year if the hassle involved in flying could be reduced without compromising security. Those additional trips would add $84.6 billion in travel spending and support 888,000 additional jobs, according to the survey. Read more “Coming soon: full-body scanners at salad bars?”