The End of Tipping?

I’m not sure what to make of this, but New York restaurateur Danny Meyer contends that ending tipping at his establishments is the right decision:

Big news out of Manhattan: Dining out is about to get turned on its head. Union Square Hospitality Group, the force behind some of New York’s most important restaurants, will announce today that starting in November, it will roll out an across-the-board elimination of tips at every one of its thirteen full-service venues, hand in hand with an across-the-board increase in prices. It’s a radical move — while many individual high-end restaurants have eliminated tipping, this is surely the first time zero-gratuity will be the universal policy for a major American restaurant group — casual restaurants included. Never before have so many diners been faced with such a sea change in how they pay for a full-service meal, and what they are expected to understand a fair price (and a fair wage) to be.


Under the current gratuity system, not everyone at a restaurant is getting a fair shake. Waiters at full-service New York restaurants can expect a full 20 percent tip on most checks, for a yearly income of $40,000 or more on average — some of the city’s top servers easily clear $100,000 annually. But the problem isn’t what waiters make, it’s what cooks make. A mid-level line cook, even in a high-end kitchen, doesn’t have generous patrons padding her paycheck, and as such is, on average, unlikely to make much more than $35,000 a year.

The fact that the people cooking your food often earn less than the people who serve it is a troublesome issue not just for the cooks themselves, but also for their employers — especially in a high cost-of-living city. “We’ve never faced a shortage of talented cooks like we have this year,” Meyer told me. “We’re in a day and age where there are more talented cooks than there ever have been, but fewer of them who want to live in New York to start a fine dining career.”

Curious to see how this turns out…

Via New York Eater.

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