Servers, restaurants say proposed new tipping law should be shelved

January 08, 2018 06:30 PM

GLENS FALLS - The time-honored way of tipping servers isn't working for some.

Governor Cuomo says the system that allows restaurants and others to pay a lower wage to those who gets tipped means unfairly low wages for some who don't get much gratuity.

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The governor wants to eliminate the so-called tip credit and have employers pay higher wages.

Not so fast say servers and restaurants because they say customers will have to pick up higher tabs.

"Prices are going to go up. Prices are already on the rise because of the last minimum wage increase," said Kevin Dugan, government affairs director for the New York State Restaurant Association.

Servers at Outback in Queensbury, Lauren Harrington and Lynnette Potter came to a  presentation on the governor's state-of-the-state Monday at Crandall Library wearing shirts that read "Gov. Cuomo, Don't Take our Tips."

"We're going to have to increase the prices of all of our products. That's not good for anybody. Our tips are going to go away," said Harrington.

State Senator Betty Little, R - Queensbury, says doing away with the tip credit isn't a done deal.

"When I saw that proposal, I thought, "That's something we're really going to have to look at."

At Davidson Brothers Brewery in Glens Falls, they did away with tipping for about a year, gave servers a raise and added a surcharge to each dinner check. It turned out to be too expensive for the business owner so they went back to the traditional model.

"The customer wants to tip," said Rick Davidson. "They do not want that choice taken away from them."

Davidson says doing away with the tip credit would be another step toward phasing out servers all together.

Davidson said it's becoming increasingly common--almost expected-- for customers to order using kiosks or apps, and for restaurants to use robots to fulfill orders.

"The server function is pretty much on its way out. It's being priced out any way, no matter what," he said.

The state plans to hold public hearings about the elimination of the tip credit.


Mark Mulholland

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