Earlier today, New York restauranteur Danny Meyer, announced that he is ending tipping at all 13 of his restaurants, beginning in November. These venues include the Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern, two of NYC’s most revered eateries.
While some restaurants around the country have instituted various measures to remove tipping, this is the largest, and highest-profile restaurant group to announce such a measure. To provide the extra compensation to the staff, menu prices will be raised. According to Meyer, this will cover the loss of tip income to floor staff, while also providing a income boost to his kitchen workers, whose pay in the past few decades has not risen in step with tipped employees.
“The gap between what the kitchen and dining-room workers make has grown by leaps and bounds,” Mr. Meyer said. During his 30 years in the business, “kitchen income has gone up no more than 25 percent.”
“Meanwhile,” he added, “dining-room pay has gone up 200 percent.”
One of the motivations behind the plan was the culture barrier between American and European diners. Too often, service staff would lose their gratuity simply due to the misunderstanding of foreign visitors who were unaccustomed to adding a tip to the check, when back home the service charges were typically already included.
With such a high-profile move, what will the repercussions be throughout New York City? Will other restaurants follow suit? And can a trend like this extend beyond the dining market, and into bars and live music venues?
While the piano bar and Dueling Pianos markets do not typically face these concerns, and currently do not see a huge percentage of European customers, only time will tell if this venture is a renegade action, or the start of a new dining attitude. Stay tuned!