Read this from Pete Wells:
My reaction to some friends via email when asked for an opinion:
Most owners who cook seem to tend to lean toward a system that has a fairly even handed approach for all restaurant staff - food and service are a composed team effort - and should be awarded that way. But, in all honesty, each restaurant has to make their own decision on approach and value because there are so many different service styles and types. Its impossible to say what works for one will work for many. I agree with Pete Wells that its antiquated and pragmatism is absolutely necessary; whether that is through a service charge or restaurant-wide pooling, nobody can definitively say. I think there are good solutions for each scenario, but the one thing everyone can agree on is that everyone gets screwed when you have the law enforce a methodology that is so fractured.
Even without having read the Wells’ article, I had a discussion with my friend last night who is a day waitress at a busy small SoHo spot. This is what she makes in a 8 hour shift:
$45 in wages – almost $40 in taxes + less that $40 average in pooled (ahem, reported) tips = less than $6 an hour.
Yeah, a lot of it is attributed to the cheap tippers and Europeans who have no concept of tipping, but just so you know, waitresses are not getting the good end of this battle either necessarily.