Waiters, waitresses, and their tips in Western Europe before World War I

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In nineteenth-century restaurants and cafés, customers’ tips provided the income of an increasing number of waiters and waitresses. Not only did employers refrain from paying serving staff a fixed wage, but the latter had to share their employers’ general expenses, while some even had to pay a fee for the privilege of working. Exploring newspapers, pamphlets, reports and union sources the article discusses how and why these practices were deployed in Amsterdam, Brussels, Vienna, London, and French and German cities. As a result of the overcrowding of the labour market in hospitality, hiring workers became not only a cost-free transaction, but it even developed into a source of income. Serving staff paid for the opportunity to collect tips, even if their increasing number reduced individual income. However, as a result of the tipping system, such staff often managed to secure higher “wages” than they would normally have earned.
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)349-378
Aantal pagina's30
TijdschriftInternational Review of Social History
StatusPublished - 2015


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