Is the U.S. tradition of restaurant tipping fair (or unfair) to restaurant workers and consumers?

The issue has been getting attention recently and is the subject of The Case for Tipping and Unrestricted Tip-Pooling by law profs Samuel Estreicher and Jonathan Remy Nash. 14876811184_13e3d44153_kHere is the abstract:

Going against the well-established tipping norm in the United States, a growing number of restaurant owners are moving to ban tipping, and instead raise prices, in their restaurants. They argue that existing law precludes them from sharing tips with “back-of-the-house” employees (like chefs and dishwashers), and thus makes it hard to compensate those employees fairly. We argue that the movement against tipping is ill-advised. Tipping is a valuable social institution that allows customers to monitor service where management cannot. The better answer is to remove legal restrictions on tip-pooling. Pooling tips among a broad swath of employees (other than management-level employees) is in keeping with the cooperative effort that underlies the provision of service in settings like restaurants.

Read Scott's interesting post on the topic from last October.

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