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Watch a TEDx Talk on the Terrible Side Effects of Tipping

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Does the system of tipping in restaurants play a role in discrimination, industry transience and the marginalization of cooking staff? In a recent TEDx lecture, Canadian restaurateur-turned-University-of-Guelph-professor Bruce McAdams takes on the topic of tipping, a system that he believes needs to be reconsidered — though, notably, he offers no prescriptions on how it could be improved.

Starting off by positing that it makes no economic sense to tip based on the amount of one's check, McAdams also argues that tipping causes discrimination. Servers, he says, are more likely to cater to those who they assume will be better tippers — such as, say, men and people of certain ethnic backgrounds stereotypically thought to be better tippers. He also points out that servers end up making much more than cooks, even with tip sharing, which he argues is part of what causes the transient nature of the restaurant industry. As McAdams concludes, "We have to ask, are we, through tipping, contributing to this marginalization of our cooking staff?" Here, go watch.

Video: Rethink Tipping: Bruce McAdams at TEDxGuelphU 2012

· Rethink Tipping: Bruce McAdams at TEDxGuelphU 2012 [YouTube]
· All Video Interludes on Eater [-E-]

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