It has become customary in many countries for diners to leave a tip at a restaurant for the waiting staff who served them. One could even argue that it is automatically expected.
The standard amount for tips varies from country to country, but is nonetheless expected even if the service isn't exceptional, and more is given if the patron feels that the experience has been great.
In countries such as South Africa, waiting staff are often paid a basic amount, and rely on tips to earn a decent living, and this has become an industry norm. Some then either pool their tips so that it can be shared more evenly among the waiters or with other staff members.
But an upscale restaurant in Pittsburgh has been looking into scrapping this altogether as part of their business model change, and plans to do this in April.
Speaking to Kieno Kammies, Bobby Fry, the co-owner of Bar Marco, said that the dining experience goes far beyond the direct interaction with the waiter or waitress, and this needs to be more reflective of the situation.
Fry says he has a background in finance and has found that the system employed by the majority of restaurants is inefficient. He says that there are times when labour is underutilised as restaurants aren't always busy, and that the our meal is often spoiled because a meal wasn't adequately prepared due to someone in the kitchen not coping.
He gave an example of going into popular fast food chains and finding a whole team of staff who are appear to be idle, and says that it's due to them having too much staff during the quiet periods and not enough staff during the busy periods.
He added that he's found that by having a well-trained kitchen staff, they are able to reduce costs as they can simply buy a whole animal carcass and not have to rely on the middleman, the butcher.
Listen to his interview with Kieno Kammies here: