American diners really give it to their servers. In New York City and Los Angeles, tips at independent eateries average 22 percent of the check, a big jump from a generation ago, when 15 percent was the norm, according to restaurateurs. Waiters and bartenders often earn more than $50 an hour.
And that has to stop, say a growing number of restaurant owners. Bottom-line necessity and common sense are uniting small family-owned cafes with the country’s most expensive chef-owned dining rooms in a move to abolish tipping.