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Working for tips in restaurants: problematic aspects of the achievement principle Tavares, Tony 1992

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WORKING FOR TIPS IN RESTAURANTS:PROBLEMATIC ASPECTS OF THE ACHIEVEMENT PRINCIPLEbyTONY TAVARESB.A., Simon Fraser University, 1988A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIALFULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTSFOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of Anthropology and Sociology,University of British ColumbiaWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIANovember 1992©Tony Tavares, 1992In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature)Department of 44'illeo^,;(^ J tC, 1_ 4,-The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate^pc,4 efrir.itc4"' /DE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTIn capitalist economies, wages are rationalized by the achievementprinciple. Managers do the assessing. In restaurants, tips are the mainreward of a server's performance. Customers do the assessing. In bothcases, there are problematic assumptions that there can be just andascriptive-free criteria for assessing performance or "capable" authorities forthose assessments. Tipping makes those assumptions even moreproblematic because of the transfer of the assessing authority to thecustomer.iiCONTENTSABSTRACT^ iiCONTENTS iiiACKNOWLEDGEMENTS^INTRODUCTION 1CHAPTER 1 THE PROBLEMElements of The Achievement Principle^ 3Assessing Work Performance^ 5The Structure of a Server's Income^ 9Tips and The Achievement Principle  10CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW^ 12CHAPTER 3 WHAT DO SERVERS DO?The Restaurant ^  14The Server and The Work^ 16Doing The Cash^ 24Tip Talk^ 26When Things Don't Go So Smoothly^ 27CHAPTER 4 ASSESSMENTS AND THE PERFORMANCE—TIP RELATIONThe Input Elements of Servers' Work^ 33Output Elements of Servers' Work 37Management Assessments^ 39Customer Assessments 44CHAPTER 5 THE PROBLEM OF AUTHORITYManagement Authority and The Function of The HourlyWage^ 50The Peculiar Authority of The Customer^ 53ivAppendix^ 56CHAPTER 6 ASCRIPTIVE CRITERIA AND PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENTSAscriptive Criteria and Management Assessments ^ 58Ascriptive Criteria and Customer Assessments^ 61CONCLUSION^ 63APPENDIX A On Method^ 65REFERENCES^ 67ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI owe much of the completion of this thesis to the patience andunderstanding of Dr. Martin Meissner. His willingness to see me through mystruggles to come to grips with thesis writing is no less than remarkable. Hehas taught me much about sociology and the meaning of scholarship.I would also like to thank Dr. Neil Guppy and Dr. Kenneth Stoddartfor their comments and criticisms as members of my thesis committee.I thank all the servers and managers who were willing to tell me theirconcerns about aspects of their working lives. In many ways, this thesis isalso for them.Much thanks is also due to Mr. P.M. Campbell for his continued moraland financial support in my academic endeavours.Finally, I thank my wife, Roberta, without whom none of my scholasticaspirations could have been realized. Her support is immeasurable.INTRODUCTIONAlthough restaurants have a history dating as far back as the foodstallsof ancient Sumer (Tannihill 1973:62), the origins of restaurants, as weunderstand them to be today, can be historically located in late eighteenth-century France. A Paris decree of June 8, 1786 authorized public rooms toserve meals (Revel 1982: 206). Through the years restaurants have become apart of our lives. Certainly we have all, at one time or another, eaten at arestaurant. We have also, in our restaurant experience, had some encounterwith a server and, at the end of the meal, left that server some form of tip.In that respect, we share the general sense that the tip is a reward for whatwe deem to have been "good" or "bad" service. That assumption alsoimplies that we have assessed, through a set of criteria from our ownexperience, a server's performance and rewarded that performance with atip.This thesis examines the achievement principle as it is applied toservers' work and the tips they make. Such a principle presumes that thereis a "just" way of quantifiably valuating a worker's performance. It alsopresumes that there is an authority capable of making those valuations, andthat those assessments are free of ascriptive criteria, like gender. Theseassumptions are particularly problematic in the case of servers' work and thetips they make where the burden of assessing that performance is shiftedfrom management to the customer. Not only is the server assessed twice (bymanagement, as part of their duties in the overall assessment of a worker'sperformance, and the customer, in determining the tip valuation), but it isalso questionable how "fair" those assessments might be.Chapter 1 lays out the problem within a critique of the theoreticalassumptions of the achievement principle. Chapter 2 reviews some of the1relevant literature. Chapter 3 places the reader in the domain of servers andattempts to convey a sense of what they do, while also raising the questionof what the links are between what they do and the tips they make. Chapter4 deals with the assessment problems that come with those links. Chapter 5analyzes the authority relations in those assessments. Chapter 6 discussesthe problems of gender discrimination as ascriptive assessment criteria.This thesis suggests that there are practical and ideological problemsin the wage arrangements for servers in restaurants. In the main, theseproblems come out of the assumptions of the achievement principle.However, those arrangememts continue to function because all parties, inone way or another, benefit from the system.2CHAPTER 1THE PROBLEMThe purpose of this chapter is to locate the analysis of the wagestructure of restaurant servers within the components of the performance-reward principle. The focus is on the recruitment and income aspects of thefour status dimensions in the sphere of work and production (Offe, 1969:42).Recruitment examines management hiring policies and managementallocation of job functions. Income addresses the problems in the relationbetween individual input and output aspects of work and how wages getdistributed (Offe, 1969:104). These aspects are considered in the particularcontext of the income structure of restaurant servers; hourly wage plus tips.Elements of The Achievement PrincipleAccording to Claus Offe (1969:40-42)), the "achievement principle"underpins work and wages in late capitalist societies. This principlepresumes that social status can be equitably distributed in line withperformance. Perfomance determines wages. Wages act as status markers. Ifwe perform well, we will do well. This principle legitimizes success andfailure, equality and inequality. Performance becomes the "overarching valuecategory in industrial societies" (Offe, 1969:40).Offe descibes the structure of work organization as having four statusdimensions: (1) being hired (recruitment), (2) being paid a wage (incomedistribution), (3) being promoted (status mobility within the organization),and (4) being given the power to supervise other wokers (authority) (Offe,1969:42). Within this structure, the worker is to function by fulfilling astandard of performance based on a set of objective criteria.The achievement principle also claims to fulfill four main functions: a3compensatory function, an equivalence function, a productivity function, andan allocative function (Offe, 1969:43).The compensatory function addresses how workers will becompensated for their efforts and knowledge of the work tasks. Theseinclude the elements of stress in the workplace, energy spent, and requiredskills. These criteria are usually mediated by the standards set by eachorganization. Variances are job specific. These standards are also affected bythe socialization processes particular to that culture. The assumption is thatexpenditures of energy, skills and knowledge, and so on, arecorrespondingly recompensed by those standards.The equivalence function makes the claim that it is possible toprevent discriminatory distribution of income based on ascriptive categorieslike gender, age, race, sexual orientation, physical or mental disabilities andso on. It facilitates equal pay for equal work. It assumes we all start from alevel playing field.The productivity function claims to remove exploitation of the worker.It serves to "justly" distribute the results of labour. Allegedly, it alsofunctions in moderating social conflicts. Based on the wages theory ofecomonics, it is assumed that there is a correlation between wage levels andlabour productivity. It also assumes that everyone has equal access to thelabour market.The allocative function claims to motivate workers to optimum labourproductivity. Supposedly, occupational choice and the labour market willensure the most rational allocation and distribution of productive labour.Everything is subsumed to the "forces" of the market economy.The compensatory and equivalence functions are meant to addressthe subjective costs of work; the individual outlay of the work tasks. The4productivity and allocative functions address the economic yield from work.The former might be considered the input elements of work, the latter, theoutput.The "achievement principle" makes three problematic assumptions.First, there is the belief that there can be a "just" system of objectivelymeasuring and assessing the differential value of work performance.Secondly, that there are authorities capable of making those assessments.And thirdly, that these processes can be free of ascriptive categories(gender, race, age, and so on). Still prevalent, and institutionally protected,these notions are more often a way of justifying inequality. This makes theachievement principle "factually debatable" and "politically and morallyuntenable" (Offe, 1969:137). Two issues require more detailed discussion.First, what are the criteria for assessing the reward for performance?Secondly, who chooses and applies those criteria?Assessing Work PerformanceOffe suggests that in large work organizations we can no longerassess work performance by input and output criteria. Instead, differentialincome distribution is more likely to be explained by "normative" criteria.Input criteria refer to training costs, work stress, expended energy, and soon. Output criteria refer to a measurable quantity of production. Thesetechnical criteria are mediated by "normative" factors such as culturaldefinitions of the prestige of different types of work and their requirements,socialization in the workplace, and pre-job socialization processes. For Offe(1969:114-118), it is "normative" elements that determine the distribution ofwage levels rather than any technical criteria. For instance, pay equitydebates raise the question whether a nurse and a truck driver should have5equal pay based on criteria like skill, effort, responsibility, and workingconditions (Cuneo, 1990:17). Truck drivers often get paid more than nurses.Such a value differential is more the result of normative factors thantechnical ones.Assessment criteria for wage differentials fall into three maincategories: input, output, and normative. Offe considers input criteria asconsisting of stress, responsibility, effort, and training (1969;107-114). All jobshave some element of stress. Some are more stressful than others. Thisincludes those jobs that have factors of physical danger and those thatcreate mental stress. The logger is an example of the former and thecorporate executive, the latter. Reconciling their wage differentials byattaching value to the different types of stress experienced by both groups isa problematic assessment exercise. As with the heirarchy of jobs in capitalistsocieties, the differential values of stress are culturally determined.Responsibility, as an assessing component, presents other problems.Offe suggests that attempts to attach values to varying degrees ofresponsibility results in placing importance on elements of managementskills. These include abilities to forestall problems or make decisions onone's actions; skills usually attributed to managers. This results in a"...tautological measure of wage status in relation to management worktasks" (Offe, 1969:114). Attempts to use responsibility as an assessmentcomponent also reinforce a value system that places importance in the roleelements of dominant groups and positions.Attempts to measure individual effort as a way of assessingperformance remains problematic. Related to the stress component, effort ismediated by elements of technological advancement. For instance, it isdifficult to assess whose effort is worth more, the logger felling the tree or6the worker operating the computerized panel that slices the logs intoplanks. Physical effort is not a clear deciding component. Furthermore,capitalist societies tend to place more importance on mental efforts as ameasure of value differentials in wages. This places emphasis on training andeducation.However, training and education present their own assessmentproblems. It is not totally clear to what extent formal education "...is directlyfunctional for the fulfillment of concrete occupational work tasks " (Offe,1969:108). Therefore, we cannot assume that expenditure on education willbe correspondingly reimbursed. Technical training, and more specializedjobs may show a closer correspondence. However, the value of training andeducation becomes more attached to ideological values. These values areculturally defined in the social system. A hierarchy of jobs is usually theresult.Output may be considered as either physical or economic (Offe,1969:105). Physical output refers to "units" of production attributable toparticular individuals. This assumes that each worker has a measurable "unit"of output. Not all jobs have this characteristic. The economic concept placesemphasis on the price given to the results of a worker's labour when theyreach the marketplace. This process is subject to market influences andpower structures that do not have a clear link to the work performance ofthe individual.Normative criteria refer to assessment aspects that are independent oftechnical elements. Consensus on what constitutes "just" wage differentialsis required. Workers tend to accept those differentials as tradition andcustom. In this regard, socialization processes, on and off the job, have themost influence. For instance, the degree to which the performance-rewardprinciple functions well in any system lies in the degree to which we believethat that principle is technically justifiable. In practice, however, it is usuallyarbitrary mechanisms that facilitate those decisions (Offe, 1969:116). Labour-management relations and negotiations are examples of that process. Theseare aspects of authority and control that mediate normative criteria.Offe also argues that because of the complex divisions of labour incapitalist enterprises, management is no longer reliable to make "informed"assessments of a worker's performance (Offe, 1969:23-39). Nonetheless,authorities still rationalize wage differentials by organizing work andproduction around "ideological" forms of the "achievement principle". Asidefrom labour disputes mediated by unions, the results are more oftenarbitrary authority decisions on what constitutes a "fair" wage. Further,formal rules and direct supervisory control can no longer guaranteesuccessful outcomes of work procedures.Using normative criteria to rationalize income distribution alsorequires a concensus of what constitutes a "just" or "fair" wage. Since it isno longer clear that authorities are capable of making these "just" or "fair"assessments, Offe suggests that it leaves room for employees to set theirown criteria for what makes an "acceptable" wage. This increases the loss ofcontrol of authorities. Ongoing disputes between management and labourare examples of the struggle to regain control.These general components of assessing a worker's wage can now beplaced in the context of restaurant servers. It remains to be seen whethersimilar problems apply to that context. This requires a more detailed look atthe "unique" structure of a server's income.8The Structure of a Server's IncomeThere are two main components to a server's income; hourly wageand tips. In restaurants, tips are monies received from customers in additionto the amount spent on food and drink. The terms "pourboire" (French),"Trinkgeld"(German), or "small debt" (Chinese) all suggest that tips aresupplements to a server's wage. Hourly wage is usually also the minimumwage.Tips are, in its most general understanding, reward for "good service".What constitutes "good service" not only varies with the type of restaurantbut is subject to the changing perceptions of each customer. The servicestandards of restaurants may not coincide with those of customers. Aserver's adherence to the service standards of a restaurant may not result ina tip reward. A server's performance on which he/she is evaluated for tips isbased on a set of varying and uncertain criteria because it is the customerthat makes the evaluation. Essentially at the whim of the customer, thosecriteria might include anything from the degree of obsequiousness to theindividual personality of the server. However, servers are also assessed bymanagement. Presumably, that assessment is related to the hourly wage paidto servers. However, that assessment also affects tips. Managers decide whoget what shifts and what sections. These decisions have a significant effecton tips. Therefore, while the two assessments appear to be linked to twoseparate rewards, they are, in fact, interrelated.That being the case, the first problem is to identify which aspects of aserver's input and output are being assessed by the customer and which bymanagement. Since it is possibile that customers and managementemphasize different assessment criteria, it is difficult to assume that therecan be a unifying set of criteria for assessing a server's overall performance.9Applying the performance-reward principle to such a two-tiered incomestructure makes problematic the whole assessment process.In addition, the question of a "capable" authority for thoseassessments becomes even more problematic when it is the customer thathas the authority to decide what tips a server gets. Since tips form the majorpart of a server's income, the shifting of that responsibility frommanagement to customer raises the question about the efficacy of thecustomer as an "informed" authority on the components of servers' work.Tips and the Achievement PrincipleTo understand tip income in the context of the achievement principlewe must attempt to locate the links between tips and the input and outputelements of the job. Those elements constitute the performance. They willbe considered in greater detail later.Hourly wage forms part of the reward. It is important to consider thehourly wage because it shows how the worker is tied to the authority ofmanagement. This authority affects tips indirectly. That link will also showhow the achievement principle still guides management's assessment ofservers' work, especially on how work functions get allocated. This willaddress the "recruitment" dimension.This analysis addresses the relations between tips, what servers do,and management/customer assessments. Are there links between the inputand output elements of servers' work and the assessment criteria used byboth management and customer? Do those criteria have an affectivecorrelation to the tips servers make? To what extent is it possible to use theachievement principle to rationalize tip income? These questions address thecompensatory, productive, and allocative functions of the achievement1 0principle.It is likely that customers and management share some, but not all, ofthe same assessment criteria. However, it is not clear how those criteriacorrelate with the input and output elements of what servers do. In addition,normative assumptions about servers work, by both management andcustomer, may affect the whole assessment process. These might includenotions on the "value" of service work in general, or norms as to whatconstitutes a "good" tip, and so on. Other ascriptive dimensions like gender,race, age, or sexual preference also affect the assessment process. Thisaddresses the claims of the equivalence function of the achievementprinciple.The analysis of the wage system of restaurant servers will attempt tomake two claims. First, that while the achievement principle is present in thewage system of restaurant servers, its efficacy is problematic. Second, thatthe functions of that principle are made even more problematic because tipsare the responsibility of the customer.11CHAPTER 2LITERATURE REVIEWThe literature on servers' work in restaurants is limited. Even less isfound on tips as a form of income. William Whyte's Human Relations in TheRestaurant Industry (1948) and Mars & Nicod's The World of Waiters (1984)seem to be the most significant works done on the subject. However, theirfocus is not on the problematic aspects of tipping. For that analysis, ClausOffe's critique of the achievement principle is more applicable.Whyte gives a very good account of the human relations aspect ofservers' work. His focus on tips is limited to how servers view the practice oftipping; they take a poor tip personally, they regard tipping as a demeaningform of income, and so on. There is little analysis on the structuralcomponents of this type of wage system.Whyte (1955) has also done work on the piece-rate system; the ideathat more units produced have a corresponding increase in reward. In someways, the tipping system makes similar claims; better service equals bettertips. However, Whyte's main interest is in human relations and less in theanalysis of the components of that system.Fred Davis (1959) offers some insights on tipping. His study of thecabdriver locates some of the facets of tipping that also apply to restaurantservers. For instance, restaurant servers have similar typologies of good andbad tippers; women are poor tippers, businessmen are better, and so on.Servers and cabdrivers also use these typologies to identify tip potential.Servers and cabdrivers, in varying degrees, also share a fleeting relation withtheir customers. Davis' account serves as an introduction to raisingproblematic questions about the tipping system. What are the assessmentcriteria and who is the capable assessing authority?12Mars & Nicod give a somewhat scattered account of servers' work.Their focus seems unclear. They drift from descriptive detail of servers' workto their relations to customers to aspects of cheating in the workplace. Theirtreatment of tips seem to only emphasize the server-customer relation;building on some of Whyte's work. Mars & Nicod are also stronglyinfluenced by Goffman (1959) whose ideas about performances in humanbehaviour only lend a tangential relevance to this thesis.Spradley & Mann (1975) offer a good treatment of genderdiscrimination in bars; men hold the important positions (bartenders andmanagers), women are harassed by male customers and male co-workers.Similar types of discrimination can be found in restaurants. However,Spradley & Mann do not offer much in establishing links between genderdiscrimination and the tipping system.For this thesis, Offe's critique of the achievement principle provides amore useful set of conceptual tools. His treatment of the problematicaspects of the assumed functions of that principle helps to analytically focuson the wage structure of servers. It helps to identify the problems ofassessment criteria and capable assessing authorities.13CHAPTER 3WHAT DO SERVERS DO?This chapter describes what servers do. It draws from observations,interviews, and personal experience. A composite dramatization of a"typical" work shift for Tom, our "typical" waiter, is used. I use the exampleof a male server in a semi-formal restaurant. Variations in gender,experience, shifts, and type of operation will be discussed. This descriptiontakes an insider's point of view. The question is raised as to what the linksare between what servers do (their performance) and the tips they make(their reward).The RestaurantThe restaurant is a well-established operation of fifteen years. It dealswith high volume. This means that it attempts to tap the largest share of themarket. To do this it runs on two concepts. The two floors of the buildingallow for two separate types of operations. The bottom floor, referred to asthe Bistro, is designed for casual and lighter fare. The second floor, referredto as the Dining Room, is set up for more formal and fuller fare withoutbeing pretentious. Both floors have windows that overlook a popular beach.The location of this restaurant also accounts for its popularity.The Dining Room seats approximately a hundred and fifty people.Tables line the front windows and overlook the beach. Other tables arelocated in raised areas so that customers seated in these areas can also havea view of the bay. Since the restaurant faces west, it is also known for itsspectacular sunsets. The restaurant is constructed to capture these sunsetsas part of the customer's dining experience. The kitchen and food pick-upareas are visible to customers going to the washrooms. The bar is also visible14to certain tables. The back areas of the restaurant are accessed by opendoorways that are on either side of the stairway that leads down to thewashrooms. In addition, those stairs are also used by all staff members. Prepcooks and bussers bring supplies up from the prep kitchen, dishwasherscarry full garbage bins down to the trash compactor, and staff washroomsare accessed by the same stairs. Those back areas are continually visible tothe public.Dining Room customers first enter the main door at the Bistro level.They are greeted by a hostess at a front desk. They are then directed to theDining Room. Since the Dining Room runs mainly on reservations, the frontdesk serves as a checking-in point for the customers. Two flights of stairslead up to the Dining Room. Once there, customers are greeted by asecond hostess who takes them to their assigned table.The Server and The WorkTom is twenty-eight years old. He is from a white middle-class family.He has worked as a waiter for eight years. He has two years of collegeeducation. He dropped out of college while working as a waiter and, asidefrom brief interludes in sales jobs, he continues doing restaurant work. Helikes the people he works with and he likes the fact that he gets to meetand be around people. Tips have also been good.He arrives for the evening shift dressed in the required uniform. Itconsists of white shirt, black pants and the company-assigned tie. It is fifteenminutes before his shift. There is a rule that servers arrive early to do theirmise-en -place. They are not paid for this work. This work involves checkingtable settings for cleanliness and finding out the necessary instructions fortable arrangements that apply to their sections. Sections are the tables15assigned to each server. They range from six to ten tables depending on thetype of operation. Usually operations that require more extensive service willassign fewer tables per server. Tonight Tom has seven tables in section A.The tables are numbered according to the seating plan. They include one,nine, ten, eleven, twelve, twenty-two, and twenty-three. One, nine, ten, andtwenty-three are tables for two. Eleven and twelve are "fours". Table twenty-two seats six. There are twenty-two seats, or covers, in his section. Twenty-two and twenty-three are smoking tables and the rest are non-smoking.Tonight there are no special table arrangements for his section.However, Tom has a series of tasks to complete for each of his seven tables.He wipes each piece of cutlery with a damp cloth. He makes sure that thecutlery is laid out in the positions according to the standards of therestaurant. Although there are general industry standards, table settings dodiffer with each operation, particularly how many forks (small or large),knives (dinner or butter), or spoons (teaspoons or soup spoons) that have tobe laid out. He also checks each wine glass for water spots and otherresidues. He also checks for dirty napkins and tablecloths. Next, he makessure there are candle holders with candles in them. Tonight the salt andpepper shakers also need wiping. That done, he does a quick scan of hissection and proceeds to light the candles.It is now three minutes to opening. He goes downstairs to the staffwashrooms for some last-minute personal grooming. He puts on arestaurant-supplied apron, checks his hair for tidiness, and adjusts his tie. Healso makes sure he has his working tools. These include an assignedcomputer key to access the ordering system, a wine opener, three pens, apad of paper, and a brush used to pick up bread crumbs on the table clothafter a meal. Returning to his section he finds that four people have been16seated at table twelve. He goes to a computer terminal to "clock" himselfinto the computer. The procedure is necessary for starting the orderingprocess.Table twelve is a non-smoking table at a window. He says to himselfin a stage whisper, "It's show time!", and proceeds to the hostess desk toget four special-sheets and a wine list before he approaches the table. Hehas also noticed that these customers are fairly well-dressed; two whitecouples in their early forties, the men in suits and ties and the women inwhat appears to be cocktail dresses. He feels content because these areusually signs of a good tip potential."Good evening, these are the specials tonight". He hands eachcustomer a special-sheet. As he places the wine list on the edge of the tableby the man in the dark suit, he adds, "May I bring you a drink or cocktailbefore dinner?" The balding man in the grey suit addresses the women. "Ladies, would you like a drink?" The blond woman in the black dress asksfor a Caesar. "I'll have the same," the other woman adds. The man in thedark suit orders a martini on the rocks with a twist. "I'll have the same onlystraight up with an olive." Tom has taken note of these orders mentallywithout writing anything down. "Thank you", he says with a nod andproceeds to the computer terminal to ring in the items.All items have to be ordered through the computer system. Havingworked at that operation for two years, he knows the required look-upnumbers by heart. Look-up numbers are number codes for items needed tobe ordered. For instance, he has to punch in 601 twice for the Caesars thatthe women ordered. New servers have to refer constantly to the booklet oflook-up numbers, kept near the terminals, for the items desired. The systemis set up so that most variations, like whether the martini is on the rocks or17straight up, can be coded into the computer so as to minimize any verbalordering from the bar. Since there are many items available together withtheir variations, also known as modifiers, the booklet is quite extensive. Ofcourse, knowing those numbers well means doing your job faster and moreefficiently. There are five terminals for servers to ring in their items. Theseare located in stategic areas of the restaurant; one by the bar, one by thehot food kitchen, one by the salad kitchen, one at the main coffee station inthe back of the restaurant, and one in an alcove next to table twenty-eightthat also serves as a front coffee station.Having rung in the items he wants, Tom removes his computer keyand the items start to print up at the bar printer. Since his is the first tableof the evening, the bartender is already in the process of making thosedrinks by the time he arrives at the bar. After giving the drinks theirnecessary garnishes, he places them on a tray and delivers them to thetable. "Would you like a few minutes to consider your dinner choices or areyou ready to order?" The balding man tells Tom that they have to catch ashow at eight o'clock so they would like to order right away. As Tom pullsout his writing pad he notices through the corner of his eye that tableeleven is being seated.Both women are having the house salads as starters. The one with theblack dress is having the salmon and the other is having the swordfish asmain courses. The man in the dark suit is having a clam chowder followedby the rack of lamb done medium, and the balding man is having theappetizer prawns and the veal dinner. Tom uses a common numberingsystem for customers at a table. Standing at the head of table twelve, hecounts clockwise, one, two, three, four. Therefore, the man in the dark suitis position one, the lady in the black dress is position two, the other lady is18position three, and the balding man is position four. This system isimportant if he is to communicate the needs of those customers to thebusser that supports his service duties (tonight he shares his busser with theserver that is working the adjacent section D). The system also serves toremind himself of who is having what at each table.Having written the items in that sequence, he asks if they would like abottle of wine with their meals. The balding man orders a bottle of ParducciChardonnay. Tom acknowledges that order and gathers up all the menus onthe table and is about to turn to approach table eleven when he notices thattables nine and ten are also seated. He makes a decision to go to thehostess desk first to get the necessary special sheets and wine lists so thathe can approach all three new tables in one sweep. He goes through thesame routine with each table as he did with table twelve. The four peopleon table eleven are dressed casually. They are four women in their twenties.They want more time to decide on a drink order. Table nine is seated withan elderly couple in their late sixties. They want two glasses of water. Tableten is seated with a couple in their thirties. They are tourists and haveseveral questions about the restaurant and the menu. Tom is beginning toshow signs of being frantic. Normally he would enjoy chatting with thetourists, but he has orders to put in for table twelve. He manages to puttheir questions on hold and takes a cocktail order from them; a bourbonand soda for the woman and a beer for the man. Aside from the dinnerorder on table twelve, he has written nothing else down. He now has toorganize his thoughts and place the orders in a sequence of importance.Knowing the production time of each item on the menu is crucial tothe succcessful organization of a server's section. Tom's experience tells himto ring in both appetizers and main courses together for table twelve19because the Iamb ordered takes at least twenty five minutes to cook. Healso has to ring in the cocktails for table ten. Having done this, he has to tellthe appetizer kitchen to go ahead on the prawns. Even though the orderingsystem is set up to minimize verbal ordering, certain menu items still requireverbal communication. In this case the prawns are quick-cooking and inorder to ensure freshness, Tom has the responsibility to co-ordinate thatitem with his other appetizers so that all items can be served to the table atonce, and with the desired quality.Before he returns to his section to approach table eleven and nine, hetells his busser to bring two glasses of water to table nine. On returning, hefinds that table twenty-two has been seated with six people. Tom'sexperience has helped him to develop a sense of when he is going to be introuble. This could be one of those occasions. However, he also knows thatto panic would be even more disastrous. He continues his original plan totry to get an order from table eleven. In the back of his mind he is alsoaware that his appetizers for table twelve would be ready soon and thedrinks for table ten and the bottle of wine for table twelve are probablywaiting for him at the bar. The women on table eleven order a carafe of thehouse white wine. As he turns away from them, he notices that the elderlycouple on table nine is trying to get his attention.They are ready to order their dinner. It is a simple order; two housesalads and two grilled salmons. He scribbles the order down quickly, clipsthe menus from table nine under his arms, and heads off towards the sixpeople at table twenty-two. "I'll be with you shortly." With that, he leavesthem for the back area. He is now also sorting out in his mind the tasks hehas to do; appetizers to pick up, drinks to ring in and pick up, wine to beopened, appetizers to be ordered, specials and wine list to be brought to20table twenty two. He does not have to worry about bread for table twelveand nine because the bussers will serve bread as soon as they see themenus are no longer on the tables. He rings in the wine and the two housesalads. He collects all his bar orders, including the carafe of wine for tableeleven. He delivers all drinks first and saves the bottle of Parducci to do last.After he opens the wine and performs all the rituals of tasting and serving,he rushes off to the kitchen to find his appetizers for table twelve. Onarriving there he also finds that the two house salads for table nine are alsoready. He delivers the four appetizers for table twelve and returns to thehostess desk to get the menus and wine list for table twenty-two.There are two adult couples and two children about ten years old atthe table. After a hurried greeting and presentation of the menus, he findsthat they have decided on no alcohol and want to order some soft drinks.They want to know what is available. After a brief discussion, which to Tomseemed to go on forever, they order two Shirley Temples for the kids andPerriers for the adults. After ringing in the drinks, he goes to the saladsection and picks up the two house salads and delivers them to table nine.On his return, he notices that table one has been seated with a youngcouple. He is beginning to find it difficult to retain his composure. He doesa scan of his section and goes through the list of tasks he has to accomplishin his head. There are drinks to pick up, food to ring in for table nine,dinners ready for table twelve, orders to be taken for tables one, eleven,and twenty-two, and the hostess seats table twenty-three.Tom's experience has been crucial in maintaining his composure thusfar. He manages to get to all his tables and take and deliver all the itemsordered with little problem. He is thinking to himself how smoothly thingsare going, considering what a busy start it has been. He has had no problem21with the kitchen, the bar, or his busser. He has made no mistakes inordering and has timed his meals perfectly. He even has time to check onhow his customers are enjoying those meals. This is known as the "qualitycheck". It is an important part of his duties as a server. In busy times likethis, it can be difficult to do. During these times just taking the orders anddelivering them is an accomplishment.He has also had very little sociable contact with his customers.Sociable contact with customers is an explicit and implicit requirement forhis job; implicit in the sense that he has to be pleasant to his customers as away of currying favour with them to increase his tip potential, and explicit inthe sense that management and the customers expect it. However, he alsoknows that not all customers are interested in a conversation with him. It isup to him to know with whom to be friendly and with whom to maintain adetached server-customer relationship. In industry parlance this is called"knowing how to read your customers". For example, the couple on tableone are holding hands and staring into each other's eyes --- an obvious cluenot to intrude. The four people on table twelve have been engrossed in apolitical discussion with some evidence of heated exchanges, clues as tohow he should approach them. The tourists on table ten, on the other hand,want to chat incessantly. They have questions about the restaurant, the city,the country, and so on, which Tom is only too happy to answer at this point,because the first round of tasks have been accomplished. In mid-conversation with them, his busser comes up behind him and whispers thattable twelve wants him. He excuses himself from table ten. As heapproaches table twelve, the balding man hands Tom an American Expresscard. This is an obvious indication that he wants to settle his bill. They havejust finished their dinners and the plates have not yet been cleared. "No22dessert tonight?" "I'm afraid we haven't the time." There is an edge ofannoyance in the man's tone of voice. Tom decides to leave it alone and justprocess the credit card. Besides, most of the tables have finished theirdinners and it is time to try to sell some desserts. There are dessert menusto be given to all his tables. This is also when he uses his crumb brush totidy up the table before he presents those menus.He only manages to sell four desserts to the women on table eleven.Most of his other tables are ready for their bill except table one who are stillengaged in their courtship rituals over cups of coffee and snifters of GrandMarnier. The people on table twelve have left. Tom did not have a chance tosay goodnight to them. He picks up the credit card voucher to check that itwas properly filled out. The man had left him a twenty dollar tip on ahundred and twenty dollar bill. Obviously the annoyance in his voice wasnot directed at him.He returns to the back area to prepare the bills for the rest of thetables. This only requires a simple command on the computer and is donefast enough that he prepares the bills for four tables. He returns to hissection and presents the bills to tables nine, ten, twenty-two, and twenty-three. Table twenty-three hands him a Visa card immediately. He turns to goback to process it and notices that table eleven is still eating their dessertsand table one is still holding hands. He takes the back-up coffee thermosand refills the coffee on table one. They order two more Grand Marnier. Ashe leaves table one he notices that the hostess has re-seated table twelve.The cycle begins again.For Tom, the rest of the evening will consist of the repetition of thecycle of tasks as each table gets re-seated. The second seating usually hascustomers that are not in a rush to go. This allows Tom to spend more time23with them and, more importantly, allows him more time to organize thenecessary tasks for his job.Doing The CashWhen the last customer has paid the bill and left, it is time for Tom toreconcile his cash and charges with the printout from the computer. This isalso known as "doing the cash". It is common practice to order yourself adrink before you sit down at a designated area to complete this task. Theseareas also vary with each operation. Table thirty-two is usually available ifnobody is still sitting on tables twenty-eight to thirty-two.Tom feels that he has worked hard tonight and orders himself aHeineken. For most servers this is the first time that they can relax from thepressures of the work shift. It is also their moment of truth. This is whenthey find out exactly how much they made in tips. It should be noted thatservers usually have a sense of how well they did before they do their cashsince they are also responsible for collecting payments for all their tables.Tom is working with a computer system that lists all the charge andcash sales he has made. With his computer key he takes a reading of hissales for the evening. He has sold a little over thirteen hundred dollarstonight. Next, he has to fill out a printed form with all the relevantinformation on the computer printout and list a breakdown of the cash hehas to submit. The exercise is to check the computer information against amanual calculation. Although extemely rare, the computer may have had amalfunction. Furthermore, it is an opportunity to make sure he has enteredall the charge-card information correctly. On the top right hand corner ofthe form, he also has to fill out his sign-out time. As a rule, servers areallowed fifteen minutes to do their cash from the time they collect their last24bill. After he has done his cash he has a hundred and eighty-five dollars leftover. This is his gross tip income. He now has to allot percentages of hisgross sales (not of the tips he actually made) to a tip pool and to his busser.He gives his busser two percent of his sales (twenty-six dollars)directly, and puts another twenty-six dollars and fifty cents in an envelope.On the front of the envelope he has to write out the breakdown of theamounts to be allocated to the kitchen and hostesses, the bartender, andthe D&D fund. The D&D fund is an insurance system, administered byboth servers and management, to cover the event of customers leaving therestaurant without paying (Dine & Dash). The incidence of D&D customers israre in this operation. As a result, there is a yearly ritual of taking a majoramount of the accumulated money in the fund and spend it on anextravagant luncheon for the evening servers; a self-congratulatory practicethat also strengthens their social bonds.The breakdown of the tip-pool is as follows; 1.6 percent goes to thekitchen and hostesses (the actual division of these monies between thesetwo groups is done by management), .4 percent to the bartender, and fiftycents to the D&D fund. Management administers the detailed division of thetip pool. Cheques are issued to workers with their share of the tipsaccumulated weekly. For the kitchen staff and hostesses, amounts arearbitrarily determined by a percentage of the accumulated tip pool for theshift they worked. Detailed records are kept in the office in case of anydisputes about the amounts alloted.Tom puts the tip-pool envelope, his cash remittance (the amount ofcash sales minus tips), the charge vouchers, and the cash summary, into alarger plastic envelope and gives it to the manager. He then clocks himselfout of the computer. His work is done for the evening. Tonight Tom has25cleared a little over ten percent of his gross sales in tips. This is a "good"night. The tips have made tolerable whatever pressures he has enduredduring his shift.Tip TalkWhile Tom has been doing this, other servers have joined him at thetable to do their cash. This is usually the time servers discuss the evening'sstories and disasters. "Doing the cash" is not merely a job function but achance for servers to unwind from the pressures of the evening. Therecounting of stories over drinks are important nightly rituals. How the shiftwent is commonly described as the degree to which one did, or did not,loose control of one's section. Servers often speak of being "in the shit" or"in the juice". The stories boast of how servers, in the face of disasters,manage to save themselves by taking control of the situations and turningthem around in their favour. It requires creativity because each table mayrequire a different approach, the ability to organize the myriad of tasks andto manage efficiently, and what servers describe as "people skills". "Peopleskills" are linked to the above mentioned ability to "read your table". Thoseskills will determine to what extent servers can win over a disgruntledcustomer or cover their own mistakes.The servers' preoccupation with being in control of their section isultimately linked to tips. The story telling eventually comes around to howmuch one made in tips. Losing control has many meanings. Mostimportantly, losing control means endangering the tip potential for theevening. There is also a competitive spirit amongst servers over how muchthey make in tips. Although they may congratulate each other for having a"good" night, there is some envy when someone else has a better night26than yourself. It is a silent competition. The "good" night symbolizes a jobwell done. The "bad" night is somehow reflective of one's inadequacies.Servers also recount stories of how they did everything flawlessly for atable only to receive a poor tip (ten percent and under). The criteria forwhat constitutes a "good" tip will vary with the type of operation and the tippool system. Nonetheless, "tip talk" is often carried on with such detail,fervour, and emotion that one would suspect it has meaning beyondpecuniary gain. Most servers will admit that they will interpret a bad tip asan insult to their perfromance. Because tips are their main source of income,servers equate the amount of tips they make with an evaluation of theirwork."Tip talk" also reveals a love-hate relationship that servers have withtheir customers. On the one hand, servers carry varying degrees ofresentment for being dependent on the customer for tip income and, on theother, they also realize that their contact with the customers is the mostpleasurable part of their job. Servers have to rationalize these aspects oftheir relation to the customers as part of the requirements of the job.When Things Don't Go So SmoothlyThus far we have looked at a fairly uneventful shift. This is more oftenthe exception rather than the norm. There are a series of situations thatoccur regularly in a server's job that cause disruptions to an otherwisesmooth shift. Here are some examples:1.When food and drinks are rung in, or timed, incorrectly.  Ringing in,or timing, food and drinks incorrectly happens most often during busyperiods. One reason may be the inefficiency of the kitchen or bar, or theserver making mistakes in timing. Servers consider this the most disastrous27because it has repercussions not only for the table directly affected, but forall the tables in the section. Finding ways to correct the mistake includes notonly gratifying the customer or the kitchen (traditionally belligerent toservers in general) or the bar, but also locating a manager to correct theerror in the computer, and that takes time that servers do not have whenthey are busy.If Tom had rung in a steak instead of the lamb for table twelve, itwould have been one of these disasters. It would have had a domino effecton the timing of his other tables. First, the cook would have to start cookingthe lamb immediately because it is an item that takes at least twentyminutes. This means that the orders for the rest of the table will have to stayunder the heat lamp and most likely dry out. Second, his other tables stillrequire prompt service while he is trying to rectify the problem. Rectifyingthe problem takes up valuable time.The experienced server will have strategies to recover from thesemishaps. Staying calm is one of these strategies. This is no meanachievement. It is easy to panic in those situations, having only minutes torecover from them. Sometimes one mishap of this nature will ruin the wholeevening for the server.Although rare, a similar problem occurs when the computer crashesand a contingency plan of a written ordering system has to be put in place.A harrowing chaos usually ensues. Orders are lost, and all workers (servers,bussers, cooks, and managers) come under a lot of stress to reorganizethemselves to try to continue functioning. Contingency systems like havingto manuallly add up each customer's bill have to be put in place. Serversmay have to retake the orders from a table, and so on.2.  Slow or incompetent bussers. The duties of a busser vary in each28operation. In our case, the busser has the following support duties:(a) Putting bread on the table when the order is taken by the server. This isindicated by the fact that menus are no longer on the table. The serverusually informs the busser if bread is needed before the customers order.(b) Clearing all dirty dishes and empty glasses from the table as the situationrequires. Changing dirty ashtrays is also part of their jobs.(c) Serving coffee or tea when asked by the server. Bussers are alsoresponsible for refills.(d) Clearing and resetting tables when the customers leave.Bussers also have other duties that indirectly affect the server. They areresponsible for the cleanliness of the restaurant and the maintenance ofsupplies for the restaurant's, or the customer's, needs. These include makingthe coffee, stocking the bread, butter, cutlery and side plates. These otherduties often come into conflict with the immediate needs of the server, aconfict of concern to the server when things are not going smoothly.For example, the server may arrive at a table with appetizers only tofind that the bread has not yet been served, or the busser has forgotten todeliver the coffee for a table. A slow or incompetent busser has a disastrouseffect on a server's timing. The division of labour between server and busseris more defined with restaurants that have more than fifty seats or those thatadopt more formal service procedures.3.  Overly demanding customers. Servers have criteria as to what over-demanding means. These range from substitutions on the menu todemanding constant attention at the table. Most servers understand thattheir mandate is to please the customers as much as possible. However,there are limits to which this can be done. Standards are usually set bymanagement. Managers are called upon to evaluate customer complaints.29This is how the limits are set as what overly demanding means.For instance, in Tom's situation the rule for menu substitutions is fairlyclear. The restaurant will accomodate the customer's needs so long as theingredients, and the people capable of making that item, are there. Becausecustomers pay more than in lower-scale restaurants, they are allowed to bemore demanding. This can be a source of aggravation for the server. In abusy high-volume restaurant, menu variations can significantly affect theserver's timing.Asking for separate bills is another source of aggravation for servers.Although the computer systems used in restaurants allow for this type ofcustomer request, servers, as a rule, regard this as added work to beavoided because it interferes with the overall timing of the other tasks.Although some operations will have policies governing doing separate billsfor customers, that decision is usually at the discretion of the server. This, ineffect, allows the server to assess the customers and the situation beforemaking that decision.For servers, how they choose to accomodate a customer's demandsdepends on certain contingencies. The evaluation of tip potential is basedon dress, the amount of money spent or the types of items ordered(presumably customers who order expensive items are potentially goodtippers), and discernable accents (Australians, Germans, and British arenotoriously bad tippers).Experienced customers believe they know how to get a server toaccomodate them by hinting at a possible increase in the tip at the end ofthe meal. On the other hand, astute and experienced servers know thatthose who hint at these promises are seldom good tippers. Servers believegood tippers do not talk about it, they just leave a good tip.30While these factors will affect how quickly servers respond, orwhether they refuse the demand with a polite excuse, in the end, theservers will make some form of accomodation regardless of how theyevaluated the customers. However, servers may make it appear to thecustomer, in subtle ways, how they are inconvenienced so as to possibly culla better tip from them. On the other hand, the server may be just too busyand might show irritation at having to comply with the demands.4.  An uncooperative kitchen. Experienced servers find ways toingratiate themselves to the key kitchen personnel. They might be grill cooksor sous-chefs who have the power to make things difficult or easy forservers. Ingratiation might take the form of occasionally buying them a drinkafter work, or impressing upon them your ability to do the job efficientlyand show sympathy or understanding of the difficulties that cooks have toendure. This is not dissimilar to the negotiations that servers have with theircustomers. Unlike the negotiations with customers, however, negotiationswith the kitchen can often break down into heated exchanges and evenviolence.There are numerous ways a sous-chef or cook can make thingsdifficult for servers. Here are some examples:(a) Taking your bill from the front of the line and placing it in the back orputting up the meals faster than usual throws a server's timing off.(b) Heating the dinner plate in the oven before the food is placed on it sothat servers burn their hands when they pick it up.(c) Demanding beer for having to do menu variations for customers.5.  Lack of management support. In Tom's restaurant the floormanagers (maitre d's) are required to assist the servers at busy times.Assistance may take the form of opening wine or taking an order from a31table. Managers are also supposed to field all complaints and take thatresponsibility away from the servers, so that the servers' tasks can continueuninterrupted. Minutes saved are vital to a server's timing. This managementsupport is not always there.These are some of the factors that hinder the smooth accomplishmentof a server's tasks. Problems usually arise at busy times, and the pressures ofthe job are concentrated in a very short period during a shift. How theseproblems are handled marks the relative success of what servers do.This chapter gives a general picture of the elements of a server's job.Presumably, those elements have some relation to the reward. Since theachievement principle assumes that there is is clear link betweenperformance and reward, what might those links be? What are the input andoutput aspects of performance? Is there a connection between assessmentcriteria and these aspects? Who are the assessing authorities?32CHAPTER 4ASSESSMENTS AND THE PERFORMANCE-TIP RELATIONThis chapter considers the relation between the input and output ofservers' work and the tips they make. Although tips are the reward givenonly by customers, both managers and customers assess a server'sperformance. Both assessments affect tips. Both use aspects of a server'sinput and output as assessment criteria. However, managers and customersdo not necessarily apply the same criteria. Therefore, locating a unifying setof components to assess a server's tip-worth remains problematic.The Input Elements of Servers' WorkFor analytical purposes, the input elements of servers' work may bedivided into three categories; physical, technical, and people skills.Physical skills are affected by functional definitions of being "able-bodied". They may be influenced by social or cultural biases. In general,servers have to be able to walk, talk, hear, and use both their arms. Theirwork requires dexterity. Servers must balance plates of food and trays ofdrinks while dodging each other getting to their tables. Maladroit servers donot last long on the job. Dexterity also involves manoeuvring between tablesand customers while trying to serve a plate of food, or pour a glass of wine.One server referred to this quality as having the dancing talents of a MikhailBaryshnikov (Shapiro & Wexler, 1990:16-17). While the metaphor may seemexaggerated, it does convey a sense of the type of dexterity required.A server's grooming and appearance are also part of the physicalrequirements. This means presenting oneself in a culturally acceptable way.Standards for this vary with each operation. Dress codes will also vary. Thesemay range from tuxedoes to shorts and T-shirts. As a rule, norms of33cleanliness and appearance apply to all restaurants. Managers and customersdo not usually accept non-conformity and assess a server's performance byappearance.Technical skills refer to service procedures, product knowledge,command of the spoken and written language, basic mathematics, familiaritywith ordering systems that include computers, and organizational abilitiesnot unlike those required of managers.Service procedures may change with the type of operation. Formalrestaurants make more demands on service procedures. These includeproperly presenting and opening a bottle of wine, or positioning the dinnerplate so that the meat or fish sits at six o' clock when it faces the customer,or which side to serve and which side to clear the plates, and so on. Ingeneral, few restaurants strictly adhere to these requirements. Differentrestaurants will emphasize different aspects. The technical components ofservice procedures can usually be learnt by working in different operationsor by taking vocational courses.Product knowledge involves understanding the preparation of food,particularly items offered in that operation. In licensed restaurants, thisincludes knowledge of the preparation of bar drinks and an understandingof how wine is made, including the qualities and tastes of the main grapevarietals ( Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir,and so on). Servers are often asked by customers to recommend items offood and beverage. Product knowledge also gives the server the necessarytools to sell the products of the restaurant. As with service procedures,product knowledge is usually emphasized in more formal operations. Thereappears to be no uniformity in the product knowledge requirementsamongst restaurants. Experienced servers bring with them various degrees of34product knowledge from other operations. Some restaurants will organizetraining sessions to pass on this type of information. In general, it is learnton the job.Since a vital part of a server's job is to communicate with thecustomer, a command of the numerically dominant language of the region,or area, is necessary. Some restaurants might require the knowledge of asecond language. For instance, a French restaurant might also want itsservers to have some proficiency in French. However, as a rule, only acommand of the dominant language is necessary. This includes the ability towrite. Smaller operations may still use a written ordering system. However,most restaurants today use some form of cash register or computer forthese purposes. Whatever the system, the server has to have the languageproficiency to adequately communicate with customers and other workers.Servers are also required to tally up a customer's bill. This means, atleast, a fundamental understanding of arithmetic and a basic knowledge ofpercentages. Larger operations have computer ordering and tallying systems.They are meant to minimize errors and cheating. For instance, computersprocess the orders to the various departments so that there is always arecord of each order. As a rule, the production areas (kitchen and bar) willonly respond to a printed order from their computer terminal. There arevarying degrees of sophistication to these systems. Some still require theserver to have an understanding of basic mathematics. Recall that Tom'scashout procedures required some reconciling of his sales printout withwhat he received from his customers in cash or charges.This also means at least a minimal understanding of how to workcomputerized ordering and tallying systems. It is the responsibility of theserver to learn the use of the system. Some operations will have training35seminars for this purpose. There is no uniformity in training proceduresamongst restaurants. Larger operations have better training programs.By far the most important technical skill required by a server is taskorganization. Recall the way Tom had to organize his tasks so that all hiscustomers got what they wanted in some logical fashion. Recall also howimportant timing was in that organization. The skill required can becompared to management skills; the ability to make quick decisions instressful situations, knowing how to perform the tasks in a logical fashion,being responsible for the smooth functioning of your section.Some organizational skills are tacit. A server usually brings them tothe job. They are seldom found in training seminars. The server either hasthem or must learn them on the job. Not having these skills means notbeing able to accomplish the tasks properly.People skills involve the least tangible aspects of a server's input.Managers have referred to this as the "psychology" of service. This involvesthe personality and character of the server. The necessary traits includehaving some acting ability (showing some flair or panache in the service tothe customer), being sensitive to the different personalities of customersand responding accordingly (degrees of obsequiousness or degrees offriendliness), being patient with demanding customers (under mostcircumstances, servers are not allowed to respond rudely to customers), andgetting along with fellow workers (servers cannot complete their taskssuccessfully without the support of fellow workers).The idea of a performance in interpersonal encounters is not new(Goffman, 1958:17-76). For servers, putting on various "masks" for customersis a required skill. Some are better at it than others. Learning how to actdifferently for each customer is mostly acquired on the job. Developing such36a skill is seldom found in any training manual. While the skill itself is acrucial part of the input, the performance is the output that the customerassesses. This skill is generally left to the server to develop. Since it ispossible that different customers will expect different performances, theserver is required to assess each encounter and act accordingly. Customersoften expect this acting skill and may use it as a way of evaluating a server'stip worth. Other assessment criteria will be discussed later.The skill for performance can mean many things. It means not onlyfulfilling the technical and physical functions of the job but also making surethe customer is kept satisfied. Satisfaction means many things to thecustomer. For instance, some customers demand constant attention whileothers prefer less attentiveness. Some might expect the server to be overtlyfriendly while others find that type of friendliness offensive. A server has tohave the skill to know which "face" to put on for each customer. It is notuncommon for servers to have rehearsed opening lines and responses tocustomers in anticipation of having to suss out the type of customer and theappropriate approach to be used. Experienced servers have amusing or wittyresponses ready for these occasions. It is only by trial and error that serversfind out whether these approaches work. As will be seen later, these aspectsof people skills may often have some, but not a clear, bearing on howcustomers assess a server's tip-worth.Output Elements of Servers' WorkThe concept of output refers to a product, or unit of production, thatis the result of a worker's efforts on the job. What does a server produce?There are two ways of analyzing a server's product; sales (monies generatedthrough the sales of the restaurant's products) and service (customer37satisfaction). Sales are the quantity dimension and service the quality. Bothdo not conform to the common sense notion of a unit of production. Aserver's product has to be understood in less concrete terms. The fullencounter between a server and a table of customers (from the time theyfirst meet to the time the bill is paid) is a way of considering the unit ofproduction.As mentioned earlier, the well-being of the customers at each tablecan be considered the product of the skills of the server. This includes thecreation of appearances (the acting skill of the server) which is itselfproblematic as a quantifiable dimension and, therefore, also problematic tothe quantification assumptions of the achievement principle. Nonetheless,both the quantity and quality dimensions of output are used as assessmentcriteria by managers and customers.Servers can be considered the sales representatives of the restaurantbecause they work on the principle that the more they sell the more tipsthey make. This is because tips are usually given as a percentage of the totalbill (based on current practices, the average is about twelve percent).Customers are concerned with sales only in respect to how much the mealhas cost them. They are not interested in the concept of sales as an outputelement of servers' work. Sales, as output, are only the concern of servers,managers, and co-workers.Managers are mainly preoccupied with two things; generating salesand keeping the customer satisfied. The two are not exclusive of each other.For instance, sales cannot be separated from the input elements discussedabove. All of those input elements, in one way or another, and in varyingdegrees, contribute to sales. However, managers often use sales as a gaugeof a server's performance. This means that they regard sales as the product38of a server's work. However, as will be seen later, managers will use othercriteria to assess a server's performance.Sales might even be considered less problematic as an analytical toolif servers were rewarded a commission by management. Instead, thatcommission comes in the form of tips from customers, whose assessmentcriteria may have nothing to do with sales as an output of servers' work.Instead, it seems more likely that customers will consider service (how theyare treated or accomodated) as a server's unit of production.The idea of service as a unit of production is not unproblematic. Thedefinition of good or bad service may vary with different customers. Degreesof obsequiousness, politeness or rudeness, getting what you want when youwant it, are all possible components of a customer's assessment. Acustomer's mood or temperament, before and during the encounter with aserver, will also affect that assessment. Both the server's and the customer'ssocial, economic, or cultural background may affect that encounter. Inaddition, assessments might be mediated by a customer's bias in ascriptivecategories like race, gender, age, and so on.However, service, as a unit of production, is still a useful way ofrelating the achievement principle to the tip reward. This will becomeclearer when the customer's assessment criteria are analyzed. Theassumption that if there is good service (performance), there will be goodtips (reward) must first be examined in relation to management assessments.Management AssessmentsRestaurant managers have usually come up through the ranks. Mosthave, at one time or another, worked as a server. This gives them somemeasure of reliability as an authority to recruit servers and assess their39performances. Recruitment involves finding servers who can fulfill most, orpart, of the input and output requirements. However, it is not clear thatmanagers share a uniform set of recruitment criteria.Aside from differing emphases on a server's input and output,managers may also draw from other factors. Their experience as a server, oras a manager, will decide which aspects they emphasize. Managers also usefirst impressions of the recruit's personality and appearance. Managers speakof developing the instinct to pick out the right person. Some managers willconduct second and third interviews to comfirm these instincts.In the interview, appearance is usually the first criterion applied bymanagers. Aside from basic able-bodied needs, a manager might considerwhat is physically appealing or acceptable to customers, to the requirementsof the restaurant, or to his/her own standards. The recruit's personality mightbe considered as linked to the acting ability discussed above. Outgoing, self-confident, and gregarious individuals are preferred; qualities apparentlynecessary for good performances (sales as output are not yet considered).Experience is the next criterion. The recruit's experience will usuallytell the manager to what extent facets of input and output might be fulfilled.This is because most of a server's input requirements are learnt fromexperience. Training programs are scarce.Recruitment is also affected by the politics of the workplace. Thisusually concerns questions about being assessed fairly, or objectively, orabout how to curry favour with managers and deal with nepotism.Since most restaurants are non-union, fair treatment depends oncompany policy. Because so much depends on management discretion,restaurants may have questionable recruitment and assessment practices.While the concept of fair treatment might be embraced, its practice is40usually unstructured. This affects servers to the degree that they are subjectto recruitment and assessment practices that have varying notions of whatfairness means. This would appear to fly in the face of the assumptions ofthe equivalence and productivity functions of the achievement principle.Because fairness is often questionable, currying favour with schedulemanagers is necessary in order to acquire good shifts and sections.Therefore, servers must put in the effort to know and understand thepersonalities of those managers. However, just to "brown-nose" does notguarantee success. Managers might also consider high sales or seniority asfactors for shift and section assignment.Some servers regard currying favour with managers similar to curryingfavour with customers for tips. Both affect a server's income. While it maybe difficult to make a direct connection between aspects of "brown-nosing"and aspects of a manager's assessment or recruitment, it is a connection thatcannot be totally dismissed.Nepotism is also fairly common in restaurants. There is direct andindirect nepotism; direct when workers are hired because they are sons anddaughters of owners and managers, and indirect when they are hiredbecause they are friends of owners and managers. These factors add to thecomplexity of the recruitment process and to questions of fairness. Theyhave a part in the assessment and recruitment process because they maytemper the judgements of managers.In most cases, management recruitment criteria are the same as thoseused for assessments. Assessments are meant to rationalize the performace-reward relation of the achievement principle. This is problematic whenapplied to a server's wage structure.To contextualize management assessments within the achievement41principle, it is necessary to consider first how managers rationalize a server'sreward; the hourly wage plus tips. Managers emphasize sales with the logicthat higher sales benefit both the server and the restaurant. This seemscongruent with the productivity function of the achievement principle. It is afunction ideologically associated with the piece-rate system."The piece-rate system is geared to an acquisitive, competitive,individualistic worker" (Whyte, 1955:13). These are qualities that serversapparently have to have if they are to be successful at culling tips.Acquisitive because it is assumed that servers do their job because theywant to make money (managers also ecourage an entrepreneurial attitude inservers by suggesting they consider their sections their own restaurants inmicrocosm). Competitive because the principle that high sales equal hightips is advocated (sales contests amongst servers are also encouraged bymanagers). And individualistic because it is up to each server to developthose talents necessary for culling tips. Supposedly, those can be met bydeveloping, and properly applying, input requirements.Since tips form the bulk of a server's income, the hourly wage iscomparatively insignificant. Hourly wage is the formal link to the authority ofmanagement assessments. It allows managers the authority to rationalize theallocation of shifts and sections. It also allows managers to rationalize themore problematic aspects of a server's wage structure. This will becomeclearer in the discussion on authority in chapter five.Managers regard a server's performance as twofold; one done for therestaurant and the other for the customer. The one for the restaurant fulfillsthe functional needs of the operation. The one for the customer is not onlylinked to the needs of the customer and the restaurant, but has the addedbenefit of tips for the server. In that way, managers suggest that the42restaurant, the customers, and servers share similar interests. Those links arenot explicitly clear.On the surface, tips are the result of a server's performance at a tableof customers. That performance is also linked to input; aspects that are partof a manager's assessment. But, since tips are not paid by the restaurant,managers embrace the claimed functions of the achievement principle inorder to rationalize the problematic aspects of that income. They argue forthe efficacy of the achievement principle because that principle serves asway to establish their authority to assess a server's performance.Emphasizing the productivity function, managers argue that the fact that therestaurant provides the server the opportunity to make those tips; theopportunity to work in the restaurant becomes part of the reward. Therehave been extreme cases where the server was required to pay to work atthe restaurant because tips were decidedly, and consistently, significant.Such arguments suggest attempts to support the assumedcompensatory, equivalence, productive, and allocative functions of theachievement principle. First, the cost of input elements (physical, technical,and people skills) is assumed to be compensated accordingly. Second, everyserver has the opportunity to make tips without being affected by ascriptivecategories; so long as those input elements are applied properly, thecustomer will reward you fairly. Third, servers will be justly rewarded fortheir output or productive labour because more sales equal more tips and agood performance for the customer means a good reward. Finally, the ideathat more sales mean more tips fulfills the allocative function because itserves as the motivation for optimal labour productivity. This is the samelogic used to rationalize tip-pool systems. Since all workers contribute insome way to a server's production (sales and performance for the43customer), they should all share in the tip reward.Managers use the achievement principle to rationalize the wagestructure of servers. It is a way of accounting for a wage system where thecustomer assesses the tip. In practice, the process is more problematic.Managers have to assess a server's performance as part of administrativeduties. This means that the assessments have to meet a relatively uniformand rational set of criteria. Hiring, firing, and wages, are all rationalizedthrough these criteria. These criteria are essentially the same as those usedfor recruitment. However, uniformity is difficult because of the variablesmentioned above. This is why managers attempt to maintain the ideologicalaspects of the achievement principle. The principle allows them torationalize incongruities in the wage system, especially the issue of theallocation of tips by the customer.Customer AssessmentsTips are the reward of the customer's assessments of a server'sperformance. That performance takes place in an encounter between aserver and a customer. It is unlikely that a customer will use the samecriteria managers use for assessing a server's performance, becausecustomers have less interest in the input aspects of servers' work. It isunlikely customers will consider the details of how their requests getprocessed, produced, and delivered to them in the fashion they expect.For customers, service is the most important aspect of a server's work.What service means for customers will influence the criteria used forassessments. Those assessments can be analyzed by three main categories;(1) getting what you want when you want it, (2) the personality of the server,and (3) good or bad food. These categories can be affected by ascriptive44aspects like race, age, gender, or sexual preference. They can be affected byencounters with other workers, notably hostesses and managers who greetand seat the customers. They can be affected by a customer's concept oftipping.A customer's assessment criteria may emphasize different aspects. Ingeneral, they are based on the compensatory function of the achievementprinciple. The assumption is that if servers fulfill the requirements of theassessment categories, they will be rewarded accordingly. In practice, this isnot clear.Getting what you want when you want it means different things todifferent customers. However, it is safe to assume that most customers havecertain expectations about receiving what they requested. This aspectinvolves the server's skill to "read" the customer. This means assessing thetype of customer in order to apply the right approach in service. Forinstance, not all customers will tell a server whether they want relaxed orhurried service. It is up to the server to decide which course to take.Customers may complain of service as being too slow or too fast. In general,it is reasonable to assume that all customers want to be made comfortable.Giving them what they want when they want it is one way of accomplishingthat. This includes doing extras like accomodating requests for better tables,menu substitutions, dietary needs, and so on. The assumption is that acomfortable customer will render a favourable assessment. However, thatfavourable assessment may already be affected by a negative encounter witha hostess or manager. This places the server in a situation where theassessment begins on a negative note. In these cases, it becomes contingenton the server to bring that customer back to feeling comfortable again; theapplication of people skills. Experience marks the relative success of those45applications.Customers also consider the personality of the server as a measure ofperformance. Customers may want an overtly friendly server or one that ismore reserved. Customers may want obsequiousnes or be offended by it.This usually calls for the acting ability of the server. It is likely that mostcustomers want some form of acting from a server. This means the servermust give the right performance. The problem is knowing whichperformance to give. It is mostly experience that helps a server in thisdecision. This type of interpersonal encounter is a central feature of theassessment process. To some degree, its uncertainty may have negativeimpacts on tips. On the other hand, the tip could be decided by othercriteria.Although good or bad food is not the responsibility of the server, itwill affect assessments and tips. Since the server has the most contact withthe customer, compliments and complaints on food are directed to theserver first. Customers have been known to give a poor tip for poor food.This makes the connection to food production an added assessmentcriterion outside the immediate performance of the server.While it may not be difficult to make the claim that good food equalsgood assessments, good assessments do not necessarily equal good tips.The fact that the server has fulfilled all the necessary requirements of acustomer's assessment categories is not a guarantee of a good tip. This isbecause other factors affect that process. These include norms of tipping ora customer's concept of tipping, and the application of ascriptive criteria.Applying the achievement principle to the concept of tipping presentsits own problems. According to the compensatory and productivity functionsof that principle, service is the product and tips are the reward. However,46since the product cannot be easily defined, it makes problematic anyattempt to allot it an appropriate reward. It is likely that the percentagesystem came out of a need to resolve this problem. In addition, tippingpractices may be socially and culturally determined and have less of aconnection to a server's input or output. For instance, in Canada and theUnited States the range for tipping is between ten to twenty percent of thetotal bill. Supposedly, customers tip below and above this range accordingto what they deem good or bad service. However, some customers mayconsider an arbitrarily fixed amount, higher or lower than the norm, andregardless of the total bill, as appropriate. By contrast, in Australia, tippingitself is discouraged. Supposedly, restaurants pay a sufficiently higher wage.In some European countries, a service charge is added to the bill. If serviceis exceptional you leave something extra.The general assumption in these systems is that tipping is part of aserver's wage. However, they differ in the extent to which tips form thatwage or how that wage gets determined. While the assessment criteriabecome questionable because of the unpredictability of each customer'sapplication, each system has structures that determine the norms ofpractice. These norms serve as guidelines for applying assessment criteria. Inmost cases, the customer still has the choice to follow these norms or toapply their own.The fact that the customer decides the tip brings into considerationbiased criteria for assessments. It challenges the assumptions of theequivalence function of the achievement principle. While it is difficult toascertain to what degree ascriptive categories affect customer assessments, itis reasonable to assume customers bring their personal biases and opinionsabout tipping with them to the restaurant. Those biases and opinions have a47bearing on their assessment. For instance, a customer may consider a waiteras worthy of a better tip than a waitress; a gender bias that is alsosystemically perpetuated in the hiring practices of restaurants. Women aregiven the coffee-shop and casual service jobs while men get the moreformal ones which also happen to have the better tip potential. It is alsounreasonable to assume that customers will take the time to make acomprehensive assessment of service. The encounter with the server isrelatively brief. It is more likely that those assessments are made onunstructured criteria, influenced by biases, and loosely based on the normsof a system of a percentage of the total bill.The problem with a customer's assessment of a server's work liesmainly in the customer's perception of what aspects of input and outputmatter in that assessment. Most customers focus only on a particular aspectof output; service. Inputs are seldom considered even though they areconnected to service. Furthermore, the definition of good service isproblematic because of the many variables discussed above. Nonetheless,tips are rewarded based on these criteria with the assumption that thecompensatory and productivity functions of the achievement principle aremet.It is likely that managers can make the most comprehensiveassessments of a server's work and reward it accordingly. This would beunproblematic if the income structure of servers were solely in the hands ofmanagers. However, tips, the bulk of a server's income, come fromcustomers. Tips are the result of a fleeting relationship between a server anda customer. That fleeting relation does not allow for comprehensiveassessments. Assessments become focused on a particular aspect of a48server's output; service. However, service itself is subject to a set ofvariables that makes problematic the whole assessment process. So, whilethe functions of the achievement principle are applied ideologically, bymanagers and customers, their efficacy is questionable in relation to the tipreward.49CHAPTER 5THE PROBLEM OF AUTHORITYThe achievement principle assumes that there is an authority capableof assessing a worker's performance. Managers usually serve that function.In restaurants, servers are subject to two types of authority; managementand customer. The authority of the customer is linked to tips. The authorityof management is linked to an hourly wage but indirectly affecting tipsthrough the assignment of shifts and sections. This chapter analyzes theimplications of this type of arrangement.Management Authority and The Function of The Hourly WageClaus Offe suggests that one of the features of work in late capitalistsocieties is the movement from task continuous status organization to taskdiscontinuous status organization. Offe gives the examples of the continuoustype as the master/journeymen/apprentice relation and the discontinuoustype as the foreman/chargehand/production worker relation (1969:25). Theformer has more explicit status links to technical knowledge and skills, thelatter less. The discontinuous type "...brings heterogeneous qualificationsand work functions into an order of vertical rank" (Offe, 1969:26). The resultis a movement from full to fragmentary control over certain decisions of thelower-ranked worker. Fragmentary control means that managers may nothave full knowledge of the required skills of lower-ranked workers.Therefore, it becomes questionable whether managers can make capableperformance assessments.However, restaurants are typified by the continuous type in themanager/server/busser relation. This appears congruent with Offe's model ofmaster/journeyman/apprentice. In fact, in Europe, restaurant service training50emphasizes this type of model. Although less explicitly adhered to in NorthAmerica, that type of status link is still apparent.In the preceding chapter, it was suggested that managers were themost likely authority capable of assessing a server's performance.Recruitment and assessment criteria coincided well with the input andoutput aspects of servers' work. Most managers have also worked as serversand bussers. In the day-to-day running of restaurants, managers are calledupon to do the work of servers and bussers. It is not uncommon formanagers to buss a table, open wine, or serve food and drinks. This isbecause it is often difficult to consistently anticipate the volume of business.This may result in problems of understaffing. On these occasions, themanager has to take over the functions of the server and the busser. Havingthose skills adds to establishing the capablity of a manager's assessingauthority. However, assessing the reward is more problematic. This isbecause of the twofold structure of a server's wage.Tips have historically been supplements to a server's income. Today,depending on the type of restaurant, tips represent more than double thehourly wage (a few unionized restaurants are possible exceptions).The hourly wage is the functional tie to management authority. Whenworkers are hired, they enter into an employment contract with thatorganization. That contract has two significant implications. First, workershave to fulfill the requirements of the job, and secondly, they have torecognize, and comply with, the authority located in the managementpositions of that company. This establishes the manager-worker relation.Wages are the reward for this contract. In restaurants, the hourly wageserves this function.However, because of tips, the hourly wage serves more as a symbolic51part of the contract. Both managers and servers speak of the hourly wage asinsignificant to the total income. The hourly wage gives managers the officialauthority to assign shifts and sections; assignments based on assessingcriteria discussed in chapter four. They influence tips indirectly.On the other hand, the practice of tipping has also affected the hourlywage. It keeps the wage low (servers are usually paid minimum wage), andincrements rare. Because of the significance of tips, managers argue that theminimum wage is sufficient because servers do not depend on it forsubsistence. Servers are commissioned salespeople and tips are the result ofsales. Most servers accept this as a characteristic of the job.For managers, the minimum wage helps to control labour costs. Tippools serve the same function. Tip pools are a way of redistributing incomeat minimal administrative cost. Managers argue that tips should be sharedwith co-workers (bussers, hostesses, cooks, and dishwashers) becauseeveryone contributes to the production of satisfaction for the customer. Thisargument appears to originate from the compensatory and productivefunctions of the achievement principle. Everyone's contribution is theproduct and tips are the compensation. This type of tip pool arrangementadds to the problematic aspects of the achievement principle. It assumesthat there is a link between the work of co-workers and the tips serversmake. The connection is not clear. Since customers seldom tip by assessingall aspects of a server's input and output, it is even less likely they wouldconsider those of co-workers.The authority of managers affects tips through shift and sectionassignments and tip pool arrangements. Since tips are the responsibility ofcustomers, management authority only indirectly affects tip assessment. Thisraises the issue of the capable assessing authority of customers. The irony is52that while task continuous status organization typifies the manager-serverrelation, it is the task discontinuous status organization of the server-customer relation that determines the tip.The Peculiar Authority of The CustomerServers are subject to the authority of both managers and customers.Tipping assumes the assessing authority of the customer. It is a peculiarauthority because customers do not occupy positions of authority in theorganization, and only assess a particular performance (service) with varyingcriteria that may have little connection to management assessments.Management assessments are more comprehensive. It is unlikely thatcustomers have a detailed understanding of servers' work. This makes theserver-customer relation one of task discontinuous status organization. Whilethe assessing authority of management is important for sustaining a server'sjob, it is the assessing authority of the customer that determines the mainincome.Servers enter into an odd contractual arrangement with customers. Inits simplest form, it is a contract where the server complies with therequests of the customer in return for a tip. Those requests representinterests and expectations customers have of restaurants; food, beverage,and service. Compliance signifies a recognition of customer authority. Thecontrol of the tip congeals that authority.It differs from the server-manager contract because managers have along-term interest in a server's performance and productivity. Server-customer relations are fleeting. In general, a customer's interest in a server'sperformance only lasts the duration of the stay at the restaurant. Whilecustomers do not hold positions of authority in the organization, they53control the vital part of a server's income.In the preceding chapter, it was suggested that customers are, by andlarge, capricious in their assessments of a server's tip-worth. Thoseassessments are guided by a set of varying and changing criteria that areinfluenced by norms, culture, temperament, and personality. Customerscontrol tips to the extent that they deem their demands and expectationsare met. It is a limited authority (managers control and affect the careers ofservers while customers may only affect those careers indirectly throughcomplaints about service). When servers attempt to fulfill the demands andexpectations of customers, they are recognizing, and responding to, thatpeculiar authority over their performance. It is a specious authority that mayexist only because of this type of reward system. The unpredictability of acustomer's tip potential is a facet of this arrangement.However, there is a second irony to this arrangement. While it is likelythat customers have varying tip-assessment criteria for a server'sperformance, they also exercise this authority within socially structuredtipping practices, like the percentage-of-total-bill system. Therefore, whilethe assessing authority of the customer might be questionable orunpredictable, the percentage system acts as a balance in the distribution oftips. Most servers will attest that good and bad tips even out in the long run.The evening-out effect of the percentage system may account for the failureof attempts to take that peculiar authority away from the customer by usingservice-charge systems or eliminating tipping altogether.Two other reasons might account for those failures; the growth of theindustry, and the continued belief in the achievement principle. The growthof the industry has made the volume of sales an important dimension in tipincome; more sales equal more tips. Growth has also made the job more54attractive because of the relatively tax-free charcacter of tips. Servers seldomdeclare all their tips. Growth may also account for perpetuating thesetipping practices. Tips are now generally accepted as an added cost of eatingat a restaurant.It would also appear that managers, customers, and servers shareacceptance of the achievement principle. This seems to allow the system tocontinue functioning. Managers use that principle to rationalize theirauthority over the server; assessing a server's performance by input andoutput criteria. They also support a customer's tip assessing authority foradministrative reasons. Labour costs are kept low by paying minimum wagebecause tips are more significant. The fact that managers are not responsiblefor tips allows them to argue that the onus is on the server to develop thosenecessary tip-culling skills.Customers appear to use the achievement principle in deciding aserver's tip. If demands and expectations are met, the server will becompensated accordingly. This appears congruent with the assumptions ofthe productivity and compensatory functions. The achievement principle alsoappeals because of the equivalence function. The tipping system takes placein a market economy. A market economy functions on the claims of theachievement principle. It is an ideology that presumes workers can beobjectively assessed and rewarded for their performances; therefore, free ofascriptive criteria. It is likely that customers follow the same logic. Customersare also likely to rationalize the maintenance of their assessing authority inorder to keep some measure of control over the cost of eating at arestaurant. The functions of the achievement principle provide thearguments for this rationalization.Servers often speak of their own performances in terms of being55worth certain percentages of the total bill. Most realize that their ownassessment criteria may not be the same as the customer's. Servers oftenuse a measure of stress as a gauge of their own tip-worth. Stress can meananything from dealing with an overdemanding customer to theorganizational problems of their sections. Although there are no systematiccriteria with which they measure this stress, servers will attempt to equatethe amount of tips made with the amount of stress experienced. This is howservers rationalize the contradictions of the achievement principle.Problematic or otherwise, the assumed functions of the achievementprinciple seem well-entrenched in the reward assessment relations betweenmanager and server, server and customer. This is why the customerauthority to assess a server's performance will likely continue unchanged.The system functions as all parties believe in the achievement principle. Itappears that managers, customers, and servers all use aspects of theassumed functions of that principle to rationalize their relations with eachother. Task continuous status organization establishes the generalassessment authority of managers. However, the main reward comes fromthe task discontinuous status organization of the server-customer relation.This characterizes the customer's peculiar authority over a server's tip worth.AppendixTo further illustrate the peculiarity of that customer authority, I willtake a reflexive look at how I, as an experienced insider knowledgeable ofdetailed assessment criteria, behave as a customer. As a customer, myrelation to the server depends on a set of criteria not unlike those of othercustomers. For instance, I prefer a minimal amount of contact with the56server. Obsequiuousness offends me. I am impressed with efficiency. I amimpressed if a server takes charge and guides my restaurant experience.Therefore, if all, or part, of these criteria are met, I will reward the servergenerously. Although I may be aware of the possible behind-the-scenesaspects that affect a server's performance, I seldom use them as criteria forassessing performance. My concerns are usually with the company I am withat the restaurant. This could be said of all customers.In talking with other servers and managers, I also had the sense thatthey behaved like other customers. As customers, some servers andmanagers seemed more concerned with food quality. They may be moreknowledgeable of the foibles and talents of servers, but, like othercustomers, their assessments could also be influenced by norms,temperament, and personality. While it is likely that they are moresympathetic to a server's problems, the opposite can happen. They can bemore critical, and less tolerant, of a server's performance. In general, serversand managers do tip well, but, as customers, they do not necessarily use amore comprehensive set of assessment criteria. To be concerned with allthose aspects means taking some measure of enjoyment away from therestaurant experience. In short, they behave much like other customers.57CHAPTER 6ASCRIPTIVE CRITERIA AND PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENTSThe equivalence function of the achievement principle assumes thatassessments can be free of ascriptive criteria like gender, race, age, sexualpreference, disability, and so on. Discriminatory practices based on suchcriteria can be found in most work organizations. Restaurants are noexception. For the purposes of this thesis, the discussion will focus on thegender aspect. Restaurants have systemic gender biases that affectrecruitment and assessments. Customers may share similar biases. Thischapter examines those implications.Ascriptive Criteria and Management AssessmentsManagers rationalize recruitment and assessment practices throughthe achievement principle. Ascriptive criteria affect those practices. Genderis the most common. Despite some evidence of change, genderdiscrimination is a systemic problem in restaurants.Most servers are familiar with gender discrimination in restaurants.Most accept them as organizational norms. Managers continue to followcompany policies that exclude women from jobs with good tip potential;policies based on assumptions that men make better dining-room servers.Women are usually relegated to coffee shops or other casual types ofservice. This is a well-entrenched assumption. One waitress evencommented that she preferred to be served by a waiter in a dining roombecause she felt that it was the way it should be.Managers recruit and assess with similar assumptions. They rationalizegender-biased practices as marketing strategies. The premise is that sex sells.Marketing lunch trade to businessmen is an example.58Many restaurants only hire women for lunch shifts. The logic is tocater to the sexual fantasies of businessmen. Presumably, being able to flirtwith good-looking waitresses is an important requisite for a businessman'schoice of restaurants. Most waitresses who work these shifts are aware ofthis. When managers recruit, this aspect is sometimes made clear to theapplicant. This requires that recruits meet certain appearance criteria; normsas to what is sexually appealing.Experienced managers also look for recruits with cocktail serviceexperience. This is because cocktail waitresses are familiar with these typesof marketing strategies. They encounter them routinely in bars and lounges.They are also aware that flirtation with male customers is part of tip-culling.They also have some experience in how to control the extent of acustomer's sexual advances. Controlled promiscuity is an added aspect of awaitress' input. It forms part of the assessment criteria of managers andbusinessmen. Recruits who are uncomfortable with this arrangement, or donot meet those requirements, find employment elsewhere.This type of marketing strategy echoes other gender-biased practices.The allocation of shifts and sections is an example. Managers are supposedto allot shifts and sections according to a server's performance. In Tom'srestaurant, there is a seniority and performance system. While it is notexplicitly laid out, those with the longest tenure, and the most consistenthigh sales, get the better shifts and sections. However, this appears to applyonly to waiters. The few waitresses hired to do the same job are seldomassigned good shifts and sections. Unfortunately, few stay long enough totest the extent to which managers comply with those assessment criteria. Inthe end, most accept the futility of challenging those inequities and moveon to other jobs.59Managers rationalize this type of inequity by aspects of performance;usually based on what they believe to be the capabilities of waitresses.Sexist assumptions include: (1) women do not provide the correct image fordining-room service, (2) women do not project professionalism, (3)customers prefer to be served by waiters. While the merit of theseassumptions is dubious, they significantly influence managementassessments. Managers emphasize certain criteria over others in order torationalize gender inequities. The assumed neutrality of the achievementprinciple is only selectively used.One other example further illustrates the embeddedness of genderinequality in restaurants; the role of women in kitchen work. It seems ironicthat while women are usually the preparers of food in the home, in therestaurant, it is mainly the work of men. It is likely rooted in androcentricnotions of a woman's capablity to organize and handle stress. There aremale managers that still believe this. Until recently, men totally dominatedchef positions. Traditionally, women were relegated to preparation (washingand cutting vegetables, portioning orders, and so on) or the garde-mangersection of production (salads, desserts, and other cold items). Cooks havebeen known to be quite open about not wanting to work with women.These biases are seldom challenged.These biases also establish the social ambience of the workplace. Theyhave an effect on the way workers get assessed because, by and large,managers and workers share these attitudes. While there is somerepresentation of women in both management and chef positions, thepolicy-making people are still men. Although most managers claimobjectivity in performance assessments, it is likely that a restaurant'ssystemic gender inequities, and a manager's personal gender biases, will60influence those assessments.Ascriptive Criteria and Customer AssessmentsServers are assessed by customers. The server-customer relation istypified by a task discontinuous status organization. Since customers havelittle knowledge of the details of a server's input, it is more likely thatascriptive criteria influence assessments. In addition, since genderdiscrimination is systemic in restaurants, it is likely that customers will acceptthose practices as norms before they would question their inequities.It is difficult to tell to what extent customers use gender-biasedcriteria to assess a server's tip-worth. It is beyond the scope of this thesis.The control of the tip allows customers to use whatever criteria they choose.They do not have to explain their choices. It is part of the peculiar authoritygiven them in the odd contractual arrangement between server andcustomer.In addition, observations, and reports from servers, suggest customersdo carry certain stereotypical notions of waiters and waitresses. The gum-chewing coffee-shop waitress, the promiscuous cocktail waitress, or thecondescending waiter, are examples of these stereotypes. It is likely thatbecause of the gender-biased recruitment and assessment practices ofrestaurant managers, these stereotypes are reinforced in customerperceptions of restaurant workers. This may have an effect on theassessments of servers.How managers assess servers is likely influenced by ascriptive criterialike gender. Despite some changes, discrimination appears systemic. Thisreinforces stereotypical images of servers that may, in turn, influence61customer-assessments. Customers are also unlikely to objectively assess aserver's performance, allowing for the use of ascriptive criteria. This makesmore questionable the assumptions of the equivalence function of theachievement principle.62CONCLUSIONThis thesis has been an analytic look at the wage structure ofrestaurant servers. It is framed by the theoretical assumptions of theachievement principle. It focuses on the assumptions that: (1) it is possibleto objectively measure and assess the differential value of workperformance, (2) there are authorities capable of making those assessments,and (3) these processes can be free of ascriptive criteria like gender. Theanalysis serves to illustrate these problematic aspects.In varying ways, these concepts inform the assessment criteria ofmanagers and customers. In general, it is problematic to try to objectivelymeasure aspects of input and output and reward the appropriate wages ortips. Furthermore, managers and customers do not necessarily share thesame assessment criteria. Managers use more comprehensive ones. This isbecause the manager-server relation is typified by a task-continuous statusorganization while the customer-server relation represents a discontinuousone. The former offers minimum wage and shifts as a reward, the latter, tips.The former is a contractual agreement between a worker and an authorityposition, the latter is a peculiar arrangement that gives customers the non-contractual authority to control the major part of a server's income. Thesetwo types of authority make problematic the assumed functions of theachievement principle.Management authority affects tips indirectly through shift and sectionassignments. Their assessments are not free of ascriptive criteria, likegender, because of systemic discrimination. While they appear to be morecapable of assessing a server's tip-worth, they do not. Customers do the tipassessments. Customers do not have a clear understanding of a server'sinput and output. It is also likely that ascriptive criteria will influence those63assessments. Yet, it is this peculiar authority that has the greatest impact ona server's income.By and large, the system continues to function with relatively littleresistance. The inconsistencies of applying the achievement principle to thesystem seem of little interest to the parties concerned. This is because, inone way or another, all parties benefit from it. Managers have a way ofrationalizing low wages. Customers have some measure of control over thecost of eating at a restaurant. Servers enjoy relatively tax-free income.64APPENDIX AOn MethodThis thesis has relied on three sources of information; my experienceas a server and a manager, my observations on the job, and interviews withservers and managers. Since my purpose was to examine the problematicaspects of the tipping system, it is a project more analytic thanethnographic. The descriptive aspects of chapter three served to present ageneral picture of some of the components of the job.The interviews were also less informative. They were a way of gettingfeed-back on some of my analytic concepts, particularly those of theproblems of assessment criteria and assessing authority. They helped toshow some differing views on tipping between managers and servers. Irelied more on personal experience and observations.This had drawbacks. My experiemce as a server and a manager gaveme a wealth of information. It was not necessary to do extensive field work.However, there were problems distancing myself from that information. Thiswas evident in my initial attempts to focus on a thesis problem. I inundatedmyself with an array of research questions and attempted to answer all ofthem. I had missed the point. Furthermore, my writing took on anauthoritative tone that lacked objectivity. The struggle for objectivity resultedin drafts of chapters that were unconnected and unsociological.My next task became one of refocusing the thesis in a sociologicalmanner. I reread Offe (1969) and extracted what I deemed the relevant partsof his analysis. I placed those parts in the context of servers' work andbegan to assemble those work elements that fit that analysis. This broughttogether my restaurant experience in a more cohesive, and sociological,fashion. The analysis of the tipping system began to take shape. I began to65make the connections between a server's work components and assessmentand authority problems. The thesis congealed when I assembled thoseanalytic components in a more logical fashion.The project has been one of discovery and frustration, enlightenmentand disappointment. I am sure that these are facets of research that mostsociologists experience. I am hopeful it will be a contribution to the field ofoccupational sociology, and be useful for those who continue this type ofresearch.66REFERENCESCuneo, Carl J. 1990 Pay Equity. Toronto: Oxford UniversityPress.Davis, Fred 1970. "The Cabdriver and His Fare: Facets in aFleeting Relationship" pp 556-567 in Bennis et al(eds.) Interpersonal Dynamics. Georgetown,Ontario: Dorsey.Goffman, Erving 1959. The Presentation of Self in EverydayLife. New York: Doubleday Anchor Books.Mars, Gerald & Nicod, Michael 1984. The World of Waiters.London: Allen & Unwin.Offe, Claus 1969. Industry and Inequality. Edward Arnold.Revel, Jean-Francois 1982 Culture and Cuisine. New York:Dacopo.Shapiro S. & Wexler P. 1990. The Art of ProfessionalServing. San Diego: Resource Publishing Group.Spradley, J.P. & Mann, B.J. 1976. The Cocktail Waitress.New York: Wiley.Tannahill, Reay 1973. Food in History. New York: Stein &Day Publishers.Whyte, William Foote 1948. Human Relations in TheRestaurant Industry. New York: Wiley.^ 1955. Money and Motivation. New York: Harper.67


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