Eating out has become more complicated.
With the pandemic taking toll on restaurants, servers, back room crews, and worst of all tipping; all of this tosses a very big wet blanket over everything. Causing the hungry and in some cases the ‘food-preparing-inept to’ stop and think twice before eating out.
Because of the pandemic some eateries have closed down. Some restaurants have gone to take out only with a reduced menu. Some, due to a server and cook staff shortage have gone to a slow-down mode. Telling customers without much apology there will be a thirty minute wait or longer. It’s just today’s reality. Get use to it.
But here is my take on eating outside the home. The pandemic aside, there were too many restaurants and fast food businesses to begin with. More eating establishments than could be adequately staffed. Pre-pandemic you would often see Help Wanted signs out front on many fast food establishments. Food venders with high turn-over paying minimum wage. Plus food workers staying home and still in fear of contracting Covid-19. Ending up with a staff shortage. And to exacerbate all that many eaters have discovered how to cook at home. Pass the ketchup please.
Now here is my observation and suggestion. A suggestion that possibly could reduce the number of remaining restaurants by ten or fifteen percent. If restaurateurs want to help the customer while helping the wait staff and backroom staff, pay them all a livable wage. Plus get rid of the tip system. As it is now wait staff are pay by the restaurant owners or managers between $2.50 to $4.50. Expecting the generous customer to make up the difference with a big tip. Then the restaurant owner insisting the wait staff ‘tip-share’ with the cook staff. But anyway the customer is forced to subsidize the restaurateur’s business. A practice which I think is unethical. But resulting in higher prices per meal and in some instances could cause the eatery to shut down. Go out of business. Probably just as well.
Now, one would sometimes see up at the fast-casual order window a “tip jar.” Beckoning the customer to have a heart and tip a person who has nothing to do with the food preparation, clean-up, and delivery. But now these days either the cashier will ask would you like to include a tip or the computer screen left at your table will include a suggested tip amount. Some will even ask you to include a cash donation amount for a local non-profit. All to put the customer on the spot to quickly make a decision in the waiter’s presents. Leaving the customer angry or embarrassed. Giving the customer reason to never come back.
You can take your gratuity and shove it.
In conclusion, get rid of the tip system, pay the wait and cook staff a reasonable wage, and eat out less often. Go buy a frozen pizza or a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup and a box of Ritz crackers. Happy repast.