Waiters Are Still Waiting

waiterYesterday I read in the New York Times: “In the late, lamented boom, waiters at luxury restaurants (in Las Vegas) could make $150,000 a year and more thanks to the electrifying arrival of high rollers renowned as “‘the whales.”

This astonishing fact led me to wonder why a waiter would consider waiting as a temporary job; as something to do while praying for the opportunity to become an impoverished actor.

A while ago, Cornell undertook a fascinating year-long analysis of tipping. The objective was to discover whether it might actually be preferably to treat waiting as a real job for grown ups. While waiters may rant, this report seemed to imply that waiting is an honorable career and one to be rewarded with a regular salary, paid vacations and benefits.

The results were surprising:

  • Waiters almost unanimously declared they wanted to keep the tipping system.
  • Restaurant owners wanted to maintain the status quo because they feared guests would be (Casablanca shocked) to receive the huge check when it included the gratuity.
  • Guests wanted to things to stay as they were because they wanted to have the option to “reward” good service.

All very interesting…except it turns out there is virtually no difference in the amount of the tip that it is given by guests. They customarily provide the same amount whether the service was great, mediocre or g-d awful.

So the United States remains one of the few countries in the universe that opts to treat waiters as servers…