Listened to this freakonomics podcast recently http://freakonomics.
Tipping (extreme tipping rather) was one of two things that struck me as very odd in on my first trip to the US. The other was taxes not being added to price tags, you end up paying more than you expect - that's a whole other story!
So restaurants get away with paying their wait staff way (way) below minimum wages and we get to foot the bill. Just does not make any sense. And they keep putting out blogs and articles so the 'recommended' tip keeps going up. 10% to 15% to now 20%...
Essentially - right now - wait staff are not the Restaurant's employees, but ours. It's a catch 22 - we can't stop tipping coz it's someone's livelihood and restaurants won't pay good wages till we do.
It's good to see some top end restaurants (listen to the podcast) start paying employees well and add the wages to the food bill. Hopefully the trend catches on.