How one restaurant is addressing bad tippers

If you’ve ever worked in food service, you know the unique struggle of taking on a table full of teens. They can be rowdy, they always ask for meal modifications and at the end of it all, it’s common for them to under-tip you for your troubles. 

Some of the annoyance is just “youths.” Teenagers are teenagers regardless of generation and the adults need to accept that. They’re going to be loud and annoying, but they generally aren’t harming anyone. The real issue for a server is that zero sum tip. It begs the question: do they even know that they need to tip? 

A diner in New Jersey is looking to teach kids a lesson (and stand up for servers) by adding an 18 per cent gratuity charge to the bills of teenagers. Parents, however, are outraged at the charge and have decided to boycott the restaurant in protest. The diner’s owner told them that this new policy is because kids often run out without tipping or don’t know that they need to. 

To put this mandatory tip in perspective: there is no set minimum wage for tipped servers in New Jersey. That means that minimum wage servers make the national minimum wage which is $2.13 an hour. Servers in the U.S. rely heavily on tips to make even close to a livable wage. If whole groups are coming in, racking up huge bills and then not tipping, that really hurts servers. That’s a lot of time and energy to invest in a table when the only payment you’ll receive is less than the cost of a KitKat. 

Is a charge like this understandable or discriminatory and problematic? Should we just be making sure that our kids know they need to tip service staff? 
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