How Does Automatic Tipping Affect Racial Discrimination in Puget Sound Area Restaurants? An evidence-based interview study of waitstaff working in Seattle Metropolitan area restaurants
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Gratuity, or the act of tipping, has been a part of the restaurant industry in the U.S since the mid-1800’s. In this length of time there has never been a policy to regulate the tipping of servers and bartenders, otherwise known as waitstaff, on a federal level. A few Individual states have tried to institute their own gratuity policies, but all have failed thus far. Due to this gap in policy, restaurants across the country are beginning to impose gratuity minimums of their own. Studies have shown that not having tipping policies in the restaurant complex opens the door for institutional racism by way of waitstaff, directed towards the consumer. Scholars call this phenomenon Consumer Racial Profiling, or CRP. The purpose of this study was to find out how Puget Sound area waitstaff feel about automatic gratuity policies and if they believe that these policies would affect the inherent racism engrained in the restaurant industry, whether positively or negatively. Interviews were given to two bartenders working at a restaurant located in an affluent city located in the greater Seattle Metropolitan area. Interviews were transcribed and then an in-depth analysis was conducted. The analysis produced 10 themes that were later broken down into two overall themes in regard to the study’s research questions: Racism in Restaurants and Benefits of Automatic Tipping Policy.
- MA in Policy Studies