Restaurants: Tipping or No Tipping…. Danny Meyer’s Socialist Plot….

I used to manage a jazz nightclub in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood during the Reagan years. Many people tipped us very well as we took good care of ALL of our customers however the “Bluppie” black yuppie clientele were some of the most demanding, stingy, cheap, uncouth, non-polite, unruly bunch as you have ever dealt with. Much like today they thought the rules didn’t apply to them except today it’s much worse! So, don’t count on them to tip you! Danny Meyer’s new idea of no tipping policy is a socialist plot in concert with our corrupt federal government in the opinion of this blogger!

Earlier today, FSR magazine asked readers to share their opinions on Danny Meyer’s announcement that he plans to eliminate tipping in his restaurants and increase menu prices to support higher wages. Reader responses have run the gamut, from enthusiastic support to total disdain, along with insights of how a no-tipping policy might impact the industry both positively and negatively.

“I applaud this decision. I have been threatening to make this move in our restaurant for years. Obviously, I have been met with considerable pushback from staff and so we haven’t made the move. I believe that tipping discourages the very team mentality that creates strong hospitality. I also feel that tipping helps to promote the notion that hospitality is not a career. Our society looks at serving as a position you take when you can’t find a career. I believe that if we offered a guaranteed wage and career path, we could recruit better staff for longer periods. As it is, we get young people just out of school until they get a “Real Job,” or while they attend graduate school. My plan has been to add a service fee and eliminate the opportunity to tip. I feel that the money is there to pay our staff what they currently make and some more. We could provide a much better guest experience because the staff would work together as a team more efficiently. … So, I believe it would be a win-win for staff and guest. But it is hard to go against the tide. I do feel that the push to increase minimum wage and new government regulations will continue to pressure tipping. And sooner [rather] than later we will be able to make the change.”

George Huger, Chef/owner, Southern Inn Restaurant, Lexington, Virginia

“Stupid. Never happen.”

Bruce Taylor, Owner, Taylor’s Steakhouse, Los Angeles

“This seems like a cutting edge move, but with the labor wage increases, you could feel it coming. My biggest concern is that service may slip in places where this new wage occurs, because the server no longer has an investment to provide top-notch service. I’ve always felt that chef/owners or chef/managers provided the best food, due to their longer-term investment. This new policy will require more policing of the service staff [another added cost] as their income is no longer at stake, and hence allow them to be less concerned about the overall guest experience.”

Harvey Singer, Director-Corporate Accounts, CHEF WORKS

“Serving in the hospitality industry has always been one of the purest forms of capitalism and is a great training platform for how to succeed in any career path you choose in life. A different philosophy like [no tipping] would [cause workers] to think much differently about success. This would be a game changer [in a bad way]. … And it’s all in the name of fair wages for all employees in the hospitality world. This works very well in Europe where the majority of society is socialist in nature. At first look, the obvious problems with this philosophy are [that it] dis-incentivizes good service and creates a more complacent, lackluster service platform … It also goes hand-in-hand with the “everybody gets a trophy mentality,” which is downright un-American. … But let’s call it for what it really is: It’s just a giant money grab for the state and federal government. For years, half the tip money that servers make goes completely [untracked] … So this conveniently becomes a way for the government to see every cent of revenue coming to a restaurant, and now they get to tax everyone on everything, so who are the real winners here? The government.”

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