“There’s a move on to make 25 percent the standard tip in San Francisco restaurants,” says Ed Arnow in the Bay Area’s Contra Costa Times, in a story already picked up and reported on rather hysterically and credulously by NBC and the Daily Mail. “Media sources report that San Francisco restaurant workers are behind it with support from some high-class restaurants,” writes Arnow.
What media sources? What move? What high-class restaurants? SFist blogger Andrew Dalton suggests it’s a load of hooey, blowback from a Michael Bauer column a few weeks back that surmised that a surcharge San Franciscans pay to ensure restaurant workers have health insurance is causing diners to reduce tips. That Bauer column, by the way, was blowback from the annual SF Zagat survey, which named San Franciscans the country’s worst tippers, tied with Seattleites. The tip rate in SF? A measly 18.6 percent.
Um, wait. Isn’t 15 percent standard? If the average SF tip is 18.6 percent, isn’t that actually significantly higher than the standard?
Anyway, nobody’s naming any names as to who exactly would have the cheek to ask for a full quarter of the check dropped on the table. I won’t believe it till I see it. I firmly believe most waiters would be thrilled if you dumped 30, 60, 80 percent into the tip jar, but who’s ballsy enough to actually demand it?