Diners are both nervous and excited about no longer slapping down an additional 20% on top of their checks
This is one tip other restaurants may want to follow.
Brooklyn restaurants Marlow & Sons and Diner, both owned by Andrew Tarlow, are banning tipping on Monday, October 2nd. And Tarlow says he hopes to do away with tipping at all of his ten restaurants in the near future.
To make up for the lost cash flow, one of Marlow & Sons’ most famous dishes, the brick chicken, will increase in price from $30 to $36, and other dishes will experience smaller price increases ranging from about $0.25 increase to $4, Eater reports. And Tarlow will raise wages to make up for tips, with waiters getting $13 per hour, up from $7.25; what’s more, cooks will earn at least $14 per hour, according to Eater.
Tarlow isn’t alone in banning tipping at his restaurants. New York restaurants like Sushi Yasuda and Danny Meyer’s Gramercy Tavern have done away with tipping for some time now, as have other restaurants nationwide, such as Le Pigeon in Portland, Oregon.
Given that standard tipping in the United States entails an additional 15% to 20% gratuity, one could argue that raising prices of dishes artificially by the same factor of 20% could equate to diners paying nearly the same as they would if tipping were still around. Perhaps that’s why many countries around the world don’t see the point of tipping — from China to Estonia to South Korea, it’s considered gauche and unnecessary.
Given all that, it should come as no surprise that many experts are praising the idea. “Why do we need tipping?” asked Columbia Business School professor Nachum Sicherman in an interview with Moneyish. “[Restaurant] tips don’t make any sense; they’re not really incentivizing,” to servers, the economist added.
Or, as Danny Meyer put it: Tipping is “one of the biggest hoaxes ever pulled on an entire culture, the American culture.” Meyer, of Shake Shack fame, has long waged a campaign to eliminate tipping in order to close the gap between waiters’ and chefs’ earnings. And in a bold statement in 2015, he stated: “Tipping started in our country right after the Civil War. The restaurant industry, as well as the Pullman train car industry, successfully petitioned the United States government to make a dispensation for our industries that we would not pay our servers,” Meyer explained in a 2015 podcast. “But it wasn’t considered slavery because we would ask our customers to pay tips and therefore no one could say they were being enslaved.”
Many diners aren’t convinced that abstaining from tipping is such a good idea. “It could definitely disincentivize waiters,” New York University student Gabriella Pino, 22, told Moneyish. “They could feel like there’s no goal to work toward.” Pino should know — she counts hotspots like Tao, Buddakan, and Jean-Georges among her favorite Manhattan haunts, and estimates that she eats out at least five nights at week.
As for whether the grassroots campaign against tipping will gain further momentum, experts say you may have to wait a while (if it ever does, at all). For instance, Chef David Chang’s restaurant Nishi, in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood, opened with a no-tipping policy, before reverting to the traditional tipping model to lower prices of dishes a few months later.
Plus, the budding trend is not picking up steam as quickly as some might have wanted. “I was hoping for it [to catch on] three or four years ago,” when heavy hitters like Meyer announced their early plans, Sicherman said. “I was very disappointed.”
© 2017 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved