I’ve blogged about tipping before. Now, a few bold restaurants are beginning to buck the trend.
(Reblogged from The Consumerist)
Note: Sushi Yasuda is the restaurant’s correct name – it appeared in the original article as “Yasada”.
As we’ve discussed here many, many times, restaurant wait staff often rely on tips because their base pay is generally far below the minimum wage level. Since tipping is an anomaly overseas, waiters in most other countries are paid a living wage. Thus, one sushi restaurant in Manhattan, which claims it has always paid its employees well, has recently started telling customers that tips will not be accepted.
On his Price Hike blog, Bloomberg food critic Ryan Sutton writes about the note that was recently added to the bottom of all receipts at Sushi Yasuda in NYC. It reads:
“Following the custom in Japan, Sushi Yasuda’s service staff are fully compensated by their salary. Therefore gratuities are not accepted. Thank you.”
Sutton talked to the restaurant’s owner who says he decided to not go the route of some restaurants who simply add 18-20% service charges on to bills rather than have customer tip. That’s really just the same as the old system; it just saves the diner the hassle of doing basic math.
Instead, Yasuda’s owner raised the menu prices a bit and simply tells customers: Do Not Tip Your Waiter.
“We just take tipping out of the equation,” he explains to Sutton.
The reason more restaurants don’t follow this model is that they are afraid higher menu prices will drive away customers, but this owner maintains that “if you have faith in what you’re serving, and how you’re serving it, you know that when your customers have a good meal and look at their final tally it’s going to be around the same.”
He claims that paying your staff a solid wage that doesn’t fluctuate from day-to-day based on tips is a good way to build stability among your workers.
In spite of this being the standard for most of the world, there are only a very small number of restaurants in the U.S. that don’t accept tips and also don’t tack on service fees.
According to the poll at the bottom of the Consumerist’s page, the question “Should more restaurants do away with tipping?” provided (to me) unsurprising results:
Whereas in my previous posts I’ve stressed that tipping is not optional and that servers depend upon tips for their daily wage, I would be entirely in favor of eliminating tipping at restaurants and paying servers a dependable, living wage. Naturally, if restaurateurs try to take advantage of this trend to their own benefit and to the detriment of their employees, that doesn’t work… but I’d be willing to bet a lot of servers would line up for a regular job where busting their ass for a party of cheapskate douchebags never enters the equation.
Hats off to Sushi Yasuda!
The Old Wolf has spoken.