Jay Rayner says it as it is about restaurants and tips – @AceFoodNews

#AceFoodNews – April.14: It’s time for restaurants to get rid of tips | Jay Rayner

The system of service charges is crass, inefficient and demeaning. Let’s end it

I am a control freak and as such completely unsuited to my job as a restaurant critic. Every time I visit a restaurant I am, in effect, ceding control of my night out to complete strangers: the waiters who will be looking after me. This makes me antsy. Usually, I know nothing about them. I have no guarantee they will show me a good time. Ah, but it’s OK because they have an incentive to do so: the discretionary tip I may leave at the end of the meal.

As if that really makes a difference. It’s time, I think, to acknowledge that the notion of tipping is a crass, outmoded, dysfunctional and ultimately inefficient system, ill-suited to a service-industry age. We’ve all read stories over the years about high-street chains charging fees to administer tips or using them to top up wages.

Clearly, it’s now so muddled and tainted as to have outlived its usefulness. The restaurant business needs to follow the lead of a few enlightened souls and scrap the concept of tips and service charges altogether.

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