There is no reason for this bs tips process. I've worked in the service industry before and at my company tips for employees was banned. That didn't have an effect on service at all. Under my management, the service was excellent. Employees were motivated without tips. Its not the customers job to motivate employees to do their job.
My blog: www.12knowmore.com
"You can ignore reality, but you can't ignore the consequences of ignoring reality." -- Ayn Rand
That's so funny that you are fine with expelicit rules, like the ones Congress passes all the time, and yet a free market-oriented service and payment does not earn your respect. Why is this, might I ask? What's so wrong with the implicit expectation that the employee's services are good enough to earn a tip? The ONLY reason we have tips is to provide a performance-oriented incentive for the employees, not as charity. It's a part of the job, not just some whim of good will you have occasionally.
I'm sure you do tip and that it's because you know it's expected of you because to not tip would be to imply that the wait staff's services were worthless. However, you like to hide your obligation to tip under the facade of altruism. Regardless, tips are payment for a service as I have clearly demonstrated because it is there for the specific reason of giving incentive, not just for generosity. If this is the case, why don't they do that at other jobs?
"If you study science deep enough and long enough, it will force you to believe in God." ~Lord Kelvin
My 2 cents on tipping...
I was a waitress for 6 years making 2.13/hr. And I made fabulous tips (average $15/hr) because I did a fantastic job for my customers. I had customers come in and ask specifically for me because they knew I would make their dining experience better. Then you'd have the non-tippers come in and as soon as you saw them you'd pray to God they weren't sat in your section because they also tended to be the most needy customers who ran your butt everywhere. I always treated all my customers the same though I would silently curse the non-tippers for ordering an insane amount of food, needing 50 refills, plus this then that then this again for nothing and interfering with the service I was trying to give to my good tippers. We had to report a percentage of our total sales as tips whether we made it or not and that was then taxed, so a group of 4 that ends up ordering $100 worth of food (at Bob Evans mind you) and then stiffed me was indirectly costing me money as I was taxed for what they were supposed to give me. On a couple occasions that $100 table (as they came in once or twice a week) gave me a dollar or two. One guy with missing fingers used to wave my dollar tip at me and make me grasp for it while he'd pull it away. Sure I'd laugh along, but all the while seething because Mr. 20-freaking refills of rootbeer was toying with me for a buck. lol Fortunately I had a 70-something guy come in 3 times a week, sit only in my section, and leave me $20 everytime. So it all balanced out. But some customers were just whacked out. HAHA
As far as paying the servers more, when minimum wage went up in Ohio (and server wages went to 3-something), the result was the firing of busboys. The servers then had the work of cleaning the tables added to their duties. If you paid them minimum wage 1. Who knows what other work they would add? and 2. There'd probably be fewer servers because the restaurant couldn't afford them. Both of which would take away from the dining experience. Service would be abysmal. Also, who the hell would wait tables only to end up making minimum wage? Who would work for $2-3/hr with no tips? I liked the competitiveness of waitressing. I loved when we counted tips at the end of the night and seeing that I made more than the grouchy sucky servers. I prided myself on great service and liked the tips I had to show for it. That's the free market. You market yourself and see what you get. I was a good marketer.
I taught my daughters very early in life that there are many ways to gauge a person's character, one of which is how they treat/view servers at a restaurant. Those who reckon everything by the letter of the law -- and rights, duties and forced obligations only, do indeed have the right to be assholes in a free society. Even obnoxious assholes. There's nothing special about them, but that is their right, and I wouldn't do anything to change that.
For server staff in a "tipping culture", like ours, restaurants are privately controlled sandboxes as far as free markets go (and I don't mean places like Starbucks or a doughnut shop, where bandwagon morons take Sharpies and dress up plastic cups borrowed from homeless people to put on their counter, and join in on the tipping bandwagon, as they try to guilt people into tipping for just taking an order).
Servers in restaurants can't refuse service to the dreaded known non-tippers (on that basis alone), who, like our Reservoir Dog, Mr. Pink, believes that the cost of the server is (or should be) already fully included in the price of the food and drinks. So what. Big deal, life's full of assholes. And, like LBennet76 said, that can be more than compensated for by great service to other customers who do tip. That's not to the credit of the cheapskate, or the restaurant, but it is the reality.
In a truly free market, a server could choose to simply not wait on a table of known non-tippers, or those who dangle a single dollar bill as if it was some kind of juicy plum. They really could just go screw themselves, as the non-tipper would deserve whatever sub-standard service or non-service they get -- assuming they're locals, or not foreigners, and do understand the customs, whether or not they agree with them. But again, it's not a free market. It's the restaurant's private market place, and the restaurant (rightly) holds a monopoly on who can serve on its behalf. And their concern is not with tips, but the sale of food and drinks - and those prices, unlike gratuity, are more than set, agreed to, and enforced.
The irony here: If everyone was a Mr. Pink, and tipping stopped altogether - restaurants would not be able to attract decent help without being forced to make up the difference in the prices - itemized as mandatory gratuities - thus forcing ALL customers, including the Mr. Pinks of the world, into being "tippers". Just like what happens in Beijing, Shanghai and other places that have a majority of non-tippers as customers. The price simply goes up for everyone.
The downside yin to that yang: erstwhile big tippers would pay less, while erstwhile cheapskates would be forced to pay more. Sounds good to some on paper, but that also means that good servers might not earn $15 an hour either, as few customers would tip more, knowing in advance that a gratuity was mandatory. In addition, the restaurant would now control more of what the servers made, with no rule that says that a 15% gratuity automatically goes to the server. So in the end it's a wash, which is partly why I have no normative "ought" position on the subject.