People always amaze me when they say something like, “well, I tip at fine dining restaurants but not at regular restaurants.”
If you ask what the difference is, normally the reply is something like, “that’s just how it works”. Some people will say that the wait-staff do a lot more at fine dining restaurants. That’s difficult for me to confirm or deny, because despite my claims that my research funding should be extended to cover fine dining the University thinks otherwise. So I can’t really comment on the quality of service in such places, but I expect that the standard of service is indeed considerably higher.
I’m also confident that prices are higher to match.
Furthermore, I suspect that the wait-staff are either specially trained or are just better than average wait-staff and, as such, are probably paid more as a result. Which, of course, is part of what feeds into those higher prices.
So then, why tip in places that are already charging more?
If tipping was really about some sort of social justice, whereby people tip to balance out inequities in the free-market system, then shouldn’t it work the other way around? In such a case, people would surely tip the minimum wage employee at the local pub who brought you your parma and chips.
On the other hand there’s not really a lot of service in that.
But if tipping was about adequately compensating those who have served you, then the higher prices, and commensurate higher wages, should already have taken care of it, making tipping unnecessary.
That is unless one just believes in tipping. Which is fine. But one obviously doesn’t ‘believe’ in tipping if they only do it at expensive restaurants.
Some people seem to insist on, it seems, tipping (or tipping proportionally more) in more expensive restaurants on the grounds that … well … the restaurant is more expensive.
Is it because that’s what the elite do? Do they throw money around to demonstrate their wealth and show their compassion for the little people at the same time?
Perhaps, for those who do not frequent such places so often, they feel that since they are treading on the turf of the privileged they had better play the game or else they’ll be seen as wannabe’s who somehow escaped great unwashed masses to play rich for an evening?
I’m sure people have their reasons for tipping when the restaurant is considered fine dining, but not anywhere else.
I just have no idea what they are.