93% of Tipped Workers Say They Prefer Ohio’s Current Tipping System

Activists in Ohio are gathering signatures in support of a ballot measure proposing a $15 minimum wage with full tip credit elimination. Tipped workers are not pushing for this change, but if certified, could be on the ballot before voters in November.

A new survey of nearly 1,000 tipped employees released by the Ohio Restaurant & Hospitality Alliance and CorCom, Inc. finds that most (93%) of Ohio’s servers and bartenders prefer the current tipped wage system in Ohio over a flat $15 minimum wage. These employees agree that the current model, consisting of a base hourly wage of at least $5.25 per hour plus tips, allows them to earn well above the regular minimum wage.

In fact, the survey found that 83% of surveyed tipped employees are currently earning $20 per hour, or even up to $40 per hour or more through their tips.

More results of the survey showed:

  • 93% say they prefer the current base wage plus tips system over a higher hourly wage with less certainty about receiving tips;
  • 91% said they believe they would earn less if the tip credit was eliminated;
  • 85% agreed they could maximize their tips through excellent customer service; and
  • 85% believe customers will not tip on top of any potential service charges.

Read the full survey report at ProtectTipsOhio.com.

Other employees and restaurant operators have voiced their concerns about how the ballot measure would affect tipped employees’ livelihoods:

“We do not want our tips being messed with, our wages being changed…I make over – easily – $30 an hour.” – Lindsay O’Dell, bartender at Submarine House near Dayton

“I don’t think it’s worth the risk.” – Alex Colon, server at The Refectory in Columbus who says he makes up to $60 per hour through tips.

“I don’t necessarily want a situation where the restaurant just puts an automatic 20, 25% service charge on the check…And then give them the authority to do what they want with that money. Because right now, as a tip employee, by law, my tips have to go to me.” – Alex Cohen, bartender in New Albany

“Time and time again, customers say they would visit less often and tip less dollars [due to higher prices needed if the tip credit is eliminated]…If the ballot initiative passes, my guests would pay more, my servers would make less…” – Laurie Torres, owner of Mallorca in Cleveland

Voters should be wary of misguided attempts to upend the restaurant industry and disrupt the livelihoods of thousands of servers and bartenders.