New York – New York‘s restaurateur and head of the Union Square Hospitality Group, Daniel Meyer, announced that he will adopt a non-tipping policy at the group’s 13 restaurants. This idea aims to create a feasible policy to ensure that restaurant’s workers are not relying on their tips. They want to avoid servers’ income fall and reduce the stretch wage gap between servers who earn tips and kitchen staff who don’t.
Some of the most acclaimed restaurants in New York, such as Gramercy Tavern and the Union Square Cafe, as well as other restaurants in Seattle and Chicago, have jumped into the non-tipping policy wagon. They have announced their new measure to end the practice of tipping in order to equally compensate employees.
Mr. Meyer declared that he plans to pay higher wages to the staff and transfer the cost to customers by increasing prices on menus. The wage gap between customers and staff is only one of the many problems of tipping and this is affecting people who work in important and recognized restaurants.
Why is this important?
The important aspect of Mr. Meyer’s policy resides in how the whole tipping process may be changed, including the legal part, wich has converted tipped work in a way to poverty for most servers.
The executive vice president of policy and government affairs at the National Restaurant Association, Cicely Simpson, explained how America’s restaurant industry is helping and improving the nation’s economy and its opening pathways to success for over 14 million Americans. She further recommended to let the restaurants decide what’s better for those people, who work hard, to keep the industry growing.
“With over 1 million restaurants nationwide, the restaurant industry is filled with unique business models, ownerships and varying concepts. It is vital that restaurants continue to have the freedom to choose what works best for their business and their employees.” Said Simpson to CNN.
Moreover, some people are worried about how this new measure may affect the whole industry, in the case of small bars or restaurants.
“The new model could work in Meyer’s restaurants because he draws a particular type of clientele who are there for a high-end experience. And he clearly trusts his employees and his customers and wants to take care of them both. If his clientele pay $40 for a steak now, they can probably absorb a $50 price tag. The real question is how it would affect the industry […] If restaurants charge more for meals, they’ll pay higher taxes. As restaurants move to higher wages, the benefit costs will be higher, too. As transportation and food costs rise, so does the cost of doing business, which are normally reflected in higher costs on the menu. I’m sure Meyer’s latest move will be a winner, let’s just hope isn’t a recipe for disaster for smaller restaurants.” Said Mel Robbins CNN commentator and legal analyst, in the CNN report.
6 thoughts on “Restaurant industry may eliminate American tipping customs soon”
This can be changed by edict of a self selected few? No. Just like Pluto is still a planet, people will still tip.
I have strong opinions about tipping. If people can’t afford tipping, they should stay home. I usually leave large tips for good service knowing some people are so abusive with their lack of tips. If I have left 12-15% tip, that is an insult. I also reclaim some control on who gets tipped in that what I tip on credit card gets shared accordingly with bartenders, busers, etc but I personally give cash to those I think deserve extra and explain that is all for them as I already tipped everyone else on my credit card. People who travel from other countries legally are required to follow currency exchange rates but think they can get away with not following the business formats adopted in this country and are cheating our labor force. When I travel, I research what are the norms for that area and try to respect that. If you can’t travel respectfully, stay home and if you can’t afford to pay tip, make a bonfire and roast hotdogs. As for restaurants that change pay format, employees will be better protected from being paid poorly on slow nights or from bad tippers but I will still reward people for excellent service above their pay. It is the difference between do I leave 15% tip or do I leave 20-40% tip. I still want to let people know that they have done a great job. Believe me, there have been times that I was scraping pennies to make ends meet. If I could not afford tip I did not go out to eat. How many people would like to do their jobs if the only way you got paid was if the person you were working for felt generous that day.
If you’ve ever eaten in a foreign country where tipping isn’t practiced, you would realize the vast difference between wait service here as opposed to these spots where the server gets paid regardless of the quality of service. I loved living abroad for years but it sure was good to get back home to the US where I could get decent service in a restaurant. Tipping is a traditional American custom and is the essence of free enterprise and capitalism (in it’s rawest form). And to say money can’t be made waiting tables is ludicrous – I made more money in college waiting tables than some of my friends that had graduated and had embarked on their respective careers.
I found that many of the restaurants in Italy, France and England had more professional career servers and a higher quality of service. Here in the US too many of our restaurants hire college kids who no little about the restaurant business and are soon off to their other career.
And they don’t make a fuss about it. In Austria, in small cities you tip about 5%, in Vienna and Salzburg, about 10%. If you have a 40 euro bill, you can hand them 50 euros, say 42 euros, and you will get 8 in change. They’re happy, and you haven’t skimped their wages.
Even in places where they were probably annoyed that we didn’t speak the local language, no one was horrible! They let us eat in peace but did their jobs well, and I don’t think we were ever bothered; we were used to a certain European matter of fact demeanor.
What foreign country did you live in?
I currently reside in a country that doesn’t practice tipping at restaurants and we’ve receive excellent service (95% of the time) no matter what class of establishment we dine at. Something must be working for them because the number of restaurants around here is incredible.
Here, taxi drivers don’t receive tips either. I’ve never encountered more honest taxi drivers anywhere else in the world.
When we return to visit the US, I’m regularly appalled at the poor service at many restaurants. Do I not leave a tip because of the poor service which would be “…essence of free enterprise and capitalism (in it’s rawest form)?” No, of course not. I always leave a tip just because I understand the server’s earning a pathetic salary.
I, too, worked at a restaurant as a waiter during my university days and I often found my tips and salary didn’t add up to the same minimum wage that my friends who were not working at restaurants were making at the time. I had to find another job just to survive as a working student.
There must be something beneficial for restaurants to pay a decent salary to all their employees and I applaud their courage to do so.