Category Archives: Legal / Political

What We All Lose If Tipping Is Eliminated

Updated 9-18-16

~ Prices will go up more than 20% . Trust me, they’ll have to. So customers will pay more at any place that’s even moderately popular.

~ Good servers at most places will make less money as the net wage hike will not cover the lost tips. The majority of servers I know are strongly against getting rid of tips.

~ Operators will lose as higher menu prices will decrease customer visits and spending.  ~ Most sadly, another one of the rare person to person relationships left in our social life will vanish.
~ Based on my past as a tipped server in the past, and my years in many different aspects of the hospitality business, in concepts from low to high end, I think this is a mistake across the board.

~ Everyone will lose if we get rid of tipping.

Here’s a 9-18-16 update from the Chicago Tribune on how the no-tipping experiment is failing.

a tipster not just a hipster tip sign

 

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SURPRISE! Raising Wages = Higher Prices.

Chipotle just raised its prices in San Francisco 14%, exactly the same % as the raise in wages with the new minimum wage in the city. A popular chain like Chipotle has the option to do this, while most Mom and Pop restaurants and less trendy chains typically cannot raise prices.   They (we) just have to take a 14% hit.

There is no willingness of consumers to pay a little more so their fellow citizens who work in food service can make a living wage. Instead, “the dollar store mentality” rules with most customers. The lowest prices for the fattest burritos and self-throat-cutting “deals” drive sales. Thus, small businesses seem likely to lose out and possibly go out of business under the new inflationary scenario where operating costs rise but prices mostly cannot.

One lesson to be learned from Chipotle is great branding and marketing can help a business weather the storm.  Every business needs to give customers a compelling reason to look beyond the lowest prices.   Great marketing and branding can attract a high number of less price sensitive customers.  Volume plus profit margins equals survival in a time of rising costs!  This is something we are happy to say we’ve been able to help with for more than 40 hospitality locations.  Shoot us a note at A-List Marketing for a free consultation on how to beat rising costs and cheap customers.  It’s the only way to cover the ever rising costs in our businesses!

I liked this “Take Part” article about the Chipotle price hikes, as the writer seems shocked at basic economics.

Have a great day and enjoy every burrito! — TTBG

PS – I just want to add since I saw this – if you don’t tip because the minimum wage went up, you are a cheap ass.  You are not doing it on principle, you are a cheap ass.

http://wp.me/p2g9q8-CS

 

On #EqualPayDay : There’s Gender Pay Gap Improvement to Celebrate

~~ Equal Pay Day is an important day for the hospitality business, as our industry has provided more management and ownership opportunity to women than most fields. Recent NRA research found more than 45 percent of today’s restaurant managers are women, compared with 38 percent in other industries. Further, the number of restaurants owned by women increased 50 percent between 1997 and 2007.

~~ Equal Pay Day is the day on which the average woman will make what the average man made in the previous year. So in all of 2014 plus every day of 2015 up to today the average woman’s earnings = the average man’s year 2014 earnings. There are many ways to calculate this and it is no where near an unassailable number or date. Yet the issues of why women lag in earning power are important and fair to debate. Here is a well-documented, balanced analysis from Pew Research Group, which shows improvements to be celebrated as the wage gap closes, yet still areas of opportunity for improvement.
~~ My take is that we have to be very careful not to choose “solutions” that will make things worse for women and the workforce as a whole, such as banning salary negotiation.

~~ To read more on the issue of diversity from the National Restaurant Association here.

 

Be Careful What You Wish For, Anti-Tipping Crowd

A Massachusetts Court ruled a Dunkin Donuts that has prominent signs saying that tips are not accepted can keep any money left on the counters and not give it to employees. Not my style of good morale management, but I can’t fault the court. If there’s “no tipping” than money left on the counter cannot by definition be a tip!
If you don’t like that logic than perhaps we are all better off preserving the personal touch of encouraging tips instead of taking another step toward a society with minimal human interaction.
As someone who earned the money to start out in life as a tipped employee, I say Long Live Tipping!
Read more here in Grub Street about this ruling.

Want help dealing with trends and challenges in restaurant and bar service?  Shoot us a note and have a free consultation!  Or join us on Facebook and Twitter to ask any questions!

The Unlikely Coalition That Helped Determine Our Internet Future

~~ Nothing could be more inspiring to me than to see political groups put aside polarization and the “us vs them” mentality to join in a mission to improve our country for all citizens. Here is the fascinating back story of 2 unlikely allies from the left and right edges of the political spectrum who united to drive the recently successful effort to re-establish Net Neutrality.

~~ “When it comes to protecting Internet freedom, the Christian Coalition and MoveOn respectfully agree,” read the New York Times ad. MoveOn was the largest progressive organization in America, and the Christian Coalition a key group for conservative religious activists. They’d been on the other side of myriad issues, but never teamed up on anything before.

“It’s nice to not always be predictable,” said MoveOn co-founder Joan Blades. “When MoveOn shows up, people expect what we’re going to say. But when MoveOn and the Christian Coalition show up together, people think, ‘If these guys can agree on this, maybe it’s something I should pay attention to.’ You get a totally different response.”

“It was wonderful to make a difference on an issue that not a lot of people are thinking about, but is very big in terms of maintaining a public square that benefits everybody. It was a very happy ending.”

“I think it’s America at its best when you come together like this,” said Michele Combs, Christian Coalition’s communications director. “At the end of the day everyone wants to make a better country for their families, for the future. When we talk basic values, there’s a lot we come together on.” Working with new allies also energized her. “When people on either side of the aisle work with others who feel the same way as they do, there’s often in-fighting and egos. When you work with a group you normally disagree with, you’re coming together without common baggage. You’re both passionate, and you get a lot done. Not that I don’t appreciate the organizations I usually work with, but when a group like ours comes together with MoveOn or the National Wildlife Federation, it shows that we really can find common ground.”

Read here how the Christian Coalition and MoveOn Joined to Help Save Net Neutrality.

~~ CHEERS TO NET NEUTRALITY and  WORKING TOGETHER TO MAKE OUR NATION BETTER!  — Tim

 

Media Hysteria Even Extends to Weather Reports

Of course, MONSTER STORM JUNO turned out to be much less disastrous than the media hyped it up to be. The commercial media and Internet hyping of every problem into a cataclysm continues its downward spiral, making media stories often useless in determining practical courses of action to deal with problems.
Of course it’s good to be prepared for challenges, but from terrorism to partisan politics to snow storms the media sows hype and inaccuracies to gain ratings. Viewers must learn to sort through the panic peddling to find the wise path to take to deal with risks and dangers.  Just like in our businesses, making the right choices requires critical thinking and leaving our comfort zones.
There was a time when the major media held itself back with basic journalistic integrity out of fear of being ridiculed as sensationalistic by the educated public. Once they saw most of the people less concerned with truth than seeking comfort and titillation, it was full speed ahead to hyping everything beyond all reason in news, politics and even the weather.  The good news is that we citizens created the problem, and we can solve it by demanding better from our media.  Start turning on our BS detectors, acknowledging the risks and uncertainties in life, and questioning the fear and hysteria being marketed to us daily.
Stay warm and comfy everyone, but don’t be afraid to stray outside now and then.
Cheers – TimTheBarGuy