Why People Are Tipping 100% at Restaurants

The #TipTheBill social media challenge encourages restaurant diners to tip the amount of their entire bill.

Have you ever left an 100% tip on your restaurant bill? As a reaction to low service industry wages and an enlivened debate on restaurant tipping, people around the world are doing just that. The #TipTheBill social media challenge encourages restaurant diners to tip the amount of their entire bill, as a gesture of goodwill and support towards restaurant workers.

Over the past week, more and more people have been posting photos of their checks to social media with the #TipTheBill (or #TipTheBillChallenge) hashtag. The timing makes sense, as the conversation surrounding restaurant worker wages, and the complicated role of tipping, intensifies.

As Eater points out, the hashtag dates back to March, though it's gained momentum in the past week.

Many waiters in America rely on a "tipped minimum wage," which is lower than the regular minimum wage, because it is assumed they will make up the rest of that money in tips. There is currently a movement in the industry to eliminate this lowered wage for tipped workers, setting one standard minimum wage among all employees, whether or not they receive tips. (In New York, the minimum wage for tipped workers is $8.75, while for non-tipped workers, the minimum wage is $15.)

While many restaurateurs and chefs have made their restaurants tip-free—raising the hourly salaries of their employees to account for gratuity—tipping a lot at restaurants where tips are allowed is a very nice thing to do, even if you think the whole system of tipping is messed up. Because tipping poorly, or not tipping at all, at restaurants where workers rely on tips won't change the system; it simply hurts the victims of said system.

So while #TipTheBill isn't a long-term solution to a broken system, it's a powerful gesture, and a good use of social media. Some servers are tweeting that they've received multiple checks with 100% tips.

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