The ‘Tip’ of the Iceberg?

It was the biggest restaurant news story of 2015: Danny Meyer would eliminate tipping at his Manhattan restaurants. It wasn’t just an excuse to raise prices; no-tipping policies seek to equalize pay for front-of-house workers and the staff in the kitchen. (The New York Department of Labor prohibits waitstaff sharing tips with workers in the kitchen.) According to Meyer, waiters in fine-dining restaurants have seen a 350 percent increase in pay over the last three decades, while salaries for kitchen workers have only seen a 35 percent increase. 

A year after his announcement, Meyer has eliminated tipping in four of his Manhattan restaurants, resulting in increased revenue and better retention rates for kitchen workers (which leads to less inconsistency in your food). 

So what does it mean for diners? Expect higher menu prices (roughly the same as you’d expect to pay if you were tipping 20 percent), but don’t expect it to affect service. “Have you ever had bad service in your life? Invariably, the answer is ‘Yes,’” says Meyer. “And did they have tipping in the restaurant? Of course. Tipping doesn’t prevent mistakes.”

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