Will the $15-an-hour wage make people scrimp on tips?

  • By Jon Bauer Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, June 18, 2014 4:03pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

Pity the owners of restaurants in Seattle.

Not so much because they’ll have to pay their workers $15 an hour, but because they have to wade through a morass of conditions and exceptions to figure out when they’ll have to pay their workers $15 an hour.

Employers in Seattle will pay the wage increase under the following conditions:

Those employing more than 500 employees nationwide have three years to reach the $15-an-hour mark, unless they offer health care benefits, in which case they have four years;

“Small” businesses have seven years;

Those businesses that offer health care and whose employees collect tips can count that money toward the $15 an hour and have until 2019 to figure out that formula.

This is what happens when Oberto makes sausage and public officials make law.

So what does it mean for the diner? Do we continue to tip? Where, when and how much?

Tipping is a personal decision. I’m not going to tell you what you ought to do, but I’ll let you in on my thinking.

As the son of a one-time waitress, I tip about 20 percent for most meals; at least $3 to $5 for bills under $20.

Seattle’s law, whether I’m in or outside of Seattle, isn’t going to change that custom for me.

Many will change how they tip because of the increased pay. If the employer has to make up the difference between tips and the mandated wage, why bother? Some diners, citing increases on the menu caused by perceived increases in labor costs, also are not going to be inclined to tip or will tip a smaller amount.

So why continue to tip 20 percent?

For me it’s fair play. If I can afford to go out to eat, I can afford to tip. I tip to show my appreciation to the person providing the service. On rare occasions I can even use a reduced tip to signal that something with that service wasn’t right.

Lawmakers’ attempts to improve things, whether you agree with them or not, shouldn’t keep us from the customs that are part of our community and our own practices.

New restaurant in Smokey Point

The Cellar has opened at the Medallion Hotel in Smokey Point, 16710 Smokey Point Blvd., Arlington.

The hotel’s restaurant has reopened under management of cousins Danny Pickering and Paul Pickering and executive chef David Peterson, who run the Stanwood Grill in Stanwood and Max Dale’s Steak &Chop House in Mount Vernon.

Danny Pickering sees The Cellar as filling a need in the area.

“There are a lot of chain-style restaurants close by, but not a lot of organic-driven food,” he said.

The menu features familiar ingredients in new combination, including coconut breaded cod with a chili lime sauce, bulgogi-marinated rib steak with house-made kimchi, prime rib, a candied bacon and pineapple burger and pulled pork sliders with green apple slaw.

Know about a new restaurant in Snohomish or Island counties? Send an email to features@heraldnet.com.

More in Life

The “Hamilton” marquee at The Paramount in Seattle. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
Seattle’s ‘Hamilton’ is everything it’s hyped to be and more

The blockbuster musical at The Paramount in Seattle runs through March 18.

Andrea Rosen, mother of two, quit eating sugar more than 1,000 days ago. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
How kicking her sugar habit changed a Mill Creek mom’s life

Andrea Rosen quit eating sweets 3 years ago, lost weight, felt better and her family also benefited.

Beer of the Week: Hazy IPA, 4-Ways

Four Snohomish breweries decided to brew a single malt hazy IPA made with four different hops.

Tiny book “Tonic” packed with with homeopathic remedies

Tanita de Ruijt’s recipes help support your body’s natural defences and heighten your state of mind.

Exceptional eggplant: 4 recipes with the funny-shaped veggie

By Daniel Neman / St. Louis Post-Dispatch Let’s face it, eggplant is… Continue reading

How to roast Brussels sprouts to crispy goodness

Toss these compact cabbages with toss with homemade sweet and sour vinaigrette.

Ambiguity of ‘The Invisibility Cloak’ by Ge Fei is tantalizing

The story of a man offered to build an incredible sound system delves into odd turns and noir.

These tasty enchiladas take only 5 minutes in the microwave

Serve this Mexican-inspired turkey and refried bean dish with fried corn on the side.

Peanut butter helps West African-style stew find the ‘sweet spot’

This recipe is a colorful medley of sweet potatoes, tomato, bell pepper and collard greens.

Most Read