Restaurant tipping — criticized as unfair and archaic — may be obsolete after the pandemic
Ashanti Smith, a server who has worked at the restaurant Big Jones for three years, carries food Feb. 26, 2021. - Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Paul Fehribach, owner of Big Jones in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, has wanted to eliminate tipping at his restaurant for years. He didn’t like having the whims of customers determine how much his waitstaff got paid. Even when tips were generous, it felt wrong that the kitchen staff earned much less in comparison. But relying on customer tips to subsidize servers’ wages underpins the restaurant business model in the U.S. and is embedded in the cultural fabric. Fehribach worried customers and employees would balk if his restaurant was among the first in Chicago to abandon that structure...