Why Americans Should Keep Tipping in Restaurants

August 1, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. high-end [HAHY-END] (adj.) – expensive or with great quality
ExampleHigh-end restaurants serve expensive wines.

2. abolish [uh-BOL-ish] (v.) – to remove completely
Example: The manager wants to abolish bad habits among his staff.

3. food attendant [food uh-TEN-duh nt] (n.) – a person who attends to the needs of customers in a restaurant (e.g. getting orders, serving food, etc.)
Example: The food attendant served beef steak with mushroom soup.

4. guilty [GIL-tee] (adj.) – related to the feeling of being responsible for a bad action
Example:  The customer felt guilty for not giving enough tip to the food attendant.

5. perception [per-SEP-shuh n] (n.) – the manner by which a person views something or someone
Example: From a student’s perception, eating out in restaurants is expensive.


Read the text below.
Food and lifestyle writer Tracy Saelinger of Today.com is questioning whether American restaurants should do away with tipping, after a high-end Japanese Restaurant in New York abolished tipping altogether.

The management of the said restaurant, called Sushi Yasuda, decided to include tips to the menu price to give customers an authentic Japanese dining experience. It turns out that in Japan, tipping a food attendant is seen as offensive.

At first, Saelinger thought the idea of not tipping may be good for customers. Without tips, customers do not have to feel guilty about not giving enough. But then Saelinger considers the benefits of tipping not only for food attendants and customers but also for restaurant owners.

One obvious result of removing the tip system is the increase in food prices. Restaurant owners will have to charge extra to cover service fees. However, Mike Lynn, professor at Cornell University, says restaurants that charge service fees are seen as expensive. This perception can be bad for business.

The quality of service also suffers if customers no longer tip attendants. Lynn adds that many restaurants in tourist areas like Miami have poor service because attendants do not have to work hard for tips.

Normally, a food attendant in the US earns an average of $180 for six hours of work. But with tips, that amount can get as high as $200 to $300 on peak days due, making the job appealing to most people.

Overall, Saelinger thinks American restaurants should keep the tip system because it is beneficial to everyone.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think the tipping system should be eliminated? Why or why not?
·         Do you agree that giving tips contribute to the quality of service in restaurants? Please explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         How do you think restaurants can maintain a good quality of service?
·         In your opinion, should customers reward service crews for their good service? Please explain your answer.


August 1, 2013