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No servers, no tipping at Zoe Ma Ma in Denver — but an optional fee.
No servers, no tipping at Zoe Ma Ma in Denver — but an optional fee.
Danielle Lirette

Reader: People Tip Poorly Because They Can

Unlike at the original Boulder location, the Denver outpost of Zoe Ma Ma, a downhome Chinese-food concept that Gretchen Kurtz just reviewed, includes an optional 15 percent "Sustainability Initiative Fee" on all tabs. Owner Edwin Zoe says the fee helps him pay his employees a living wage. But the concept has been fodder for plenty of comments, including this from Chris: 

I am a 20 percent tipper, so for me I save money. I also have worked in the service industry for twenty years, and can tell you first-hand that even with excellent service, attitude and product, people still tip poorly because they can.

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Would you tip — or pay a "Sustainability Initiative Fee" — at a restaurant like Zoe Ma Ma, that does not have servers? What percentage do you generally tip? Do you think most people tip below what they should?

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