If you sat at my table for an hour and didn't tip, I got paid less than $2.83 (due to taxes) for the service I provided you.
To expand upon that for those who don't know this...Wait staff have to pay income tax on the tip you are expected to receive, even if you left no tip. So they have to pay to wait on you.
I think this is the dumbest system possible but it's not the solution to make the wait staff pay to wait on me. These are generally people low or at the bottom of the economic scale. It's not like you're affecting a rich person whose life doesn't change one iota if you tip or not. These people need it for food, gas and rent.
Making them pay does nothing to change the system--it punishes the victims of it (not the right word but I can't think of another word). I have options to change the system, such as lobbying my legislators or refusing to patronize such establishments. Once I walk through the restaurant door I have accepted the terms of their business and will tip them unless they do a bad job.
On the subject of foreigners...I live a few hrs the border of Canada. We used to often get busloads full of Canadians, unannounced, between meals when there was a skeleton crew on. I was supposed to be scrubbing the kitchen at that time so I'd have to stay late. They would leave 1 "loonie" which was worth $.75, not enough to reimburse me for my cost of waiting on them. Sometimes the bus driver would leave the "loonie" and tell the rest of the tables he covered the tip!
And to top it off, those coins cannot be spent here exchanged in US banks--paper money only. So I'd have to drive to Canada to even spend them.
Wait staff have to deal with hideous customer behavior, do backbreaking work, sometimes pay ancillary staff and reimburse employers for nonpaying customers, and pay to wait on people. For me it was a deep hole of poverty I couldn't get out of. I'd have some good days but they barely balanced out the bad days.
Some times of the year I made more and the winters were brutal. Sometimes I'd go home with $7 in winter, having been paid $2.12 per hour for 6 hours. So I worked through the busy season then quit.
It is my position that such jobs are nearly slavery.