The practice of tipping in South Africa is well established and until the introduction of minimum wages, was often the only income waitrons earned.
Although tipping recognizes good service, it doesn't benefit all staff.
By comparison, several European countries and some U.S. restaurants have a policy of paying staff a salary with benefits including medical aid and annual leave; tips are not included as part of the package. Although food prices are increased to cover costs, owners believe this is more equitable and improves customer service.
What are the pros and cons for such a system in South Africa?
Before considering a tipless system, it's worth looking at some good and bad points of traditional tipping.
Firstly, tips are not considered part of employees' wages so restaurants must in any case pay the minimum wage. Secondly, waitrons earn the most tips and other staffs don't share in these tips unless tip sharing practices are adopted; if not, tipping creates a disparity that could cause friction.
On the other hand, a skillful and motivated waitron that enhances the dining experience and draws clientele to the restaurant is rewarded for good service through tips.