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Tipping: Yea or Nay?

I’m admittedly not great at math, but I’m typically pretty quick with tipping at a restaurant — I guess I prefer practical arithmetic to theoretical algebra.
But I always find it interesting to see how different people tip. Some folks are always incredibly generous — often, they’re the ones who have worked in food service and they understand what the server is dealing with. Other times, I find myself with someone who I know to be generous and caring … but you might not know it from the amount they leave in that tip line. And yet another friend of mine told me recently that he always, always tips in cash so that the server or delivery person can take that straight home, no taxes paid on it. (Does it really work that way? I have no idea — I lasted part way into my second shift as a truly incompetent waitress before handed in my apron and headed home … completely and deservedly tipless.)
Well, it could all be a moot point in the near future if Danny Meyer has his way, according to New York Eater. He’s eliminating tipping at his Union Square Hospitality Group restaurants (there will also a significant price increase on all food items, as servers will be compensated by their bosses rather than the customers in this new system). While that might seem novel (or even a little crazy) to some of us, it’s not unheard of — no tipping is standard in Europe, and it’s becoming more popular among high-end restaurants, but Meyer’s decision to remove the option to tip (even removing the tip line from the receipts) in more casual restaurants in the U.S. is certainly new.
After reading a bit about his reasons (really, you should check it all out here), I have to say it sounds like a pretty great plan. I do like having the option to reward truly excellent service with a tip that goes over the norm, but I also love the idea of having no stress or complication at the end of a meal — the price is the price is the price, and if the service is particularly good (or bad), you can always talk to a manager, just like you would in any other service industry, right?
What do you think? Are you in favor of eliminating tipping? Or do you think restaurants should keep things they same as they’ve always been? —Kristen

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