More Restaurants Adopting No-Tipping Policy

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CBS News – Are we headed for the end of restaurant tipping? Yet another eatery is opening up to great fanfare, mostly because it has decided to do away with tips.

The Brand 158 restaurant in Glendale, Calif., has adopted the no-tipping policy because owner Gabriel Frem said he wanted to discourage competition between his employees. And he isn’t including a service charge or upping his prices to make up for it, either.

Frem’s theory is that tips disrupt the working environment and leave workers unsure of their take-home pay from week to week. “We think that if we stabilize the lives of our employees, they can then focus on the customer,” he told The Los Angeles Times.

No-tip restaurants are by no means common, but the idea is starting to take hold across the country. In New York, a Japanese-style pub called Restaurant Riki has banned the practice because it’s more in line with Japanese customs. It’s raised prices to compensate.

Another restaurant, Sushi Yasuda, even goes so far as to chase down customers who left in order to return their tips. According to owner Scott Rosenberg, diners are tired of having to rate their servers and then doing the tip math based on the performance.

A new brewpub scheduled to open this fall in Washington, D.C. will also do away with tipping. The founder of the restaurant, Public Option, plans to pay workers at least $15 an hour. Any money left on the tables will go to charity.

The CEO of Noodles & Co. (NDLS) recently went on CNBC to say he doesn’t want tipping at his restaurants either. “We don’t really feel that folks should have to pay something additional for us to appreciate that they’re choosing us over another restaurant,” Kevin Reddy said.

Noodles’ employees probably wouldn’t see big tips anyway, since customers line up at a counter to order. But Reddy said that he pays his workers enough to make sure missing tips are not a problem.

Some of the most famous restaurants in the country, including Per Se in New York and California restaurants French Laundry and Chez Panisse, also discourage tipping in favor of a service charge.

And it seems that Americans themselves are becoming less inclined to tip. A recent survey from consumer research firm says that 46 percent of Americans are tipping less now than five years ago.

One of the big problems with tipping is that it’s blatantly unfair, and savvy servers have figured out how to game the system. Researchers have even studied the psychological tactics servers use to get more money out of diners. According to New Republic, here are the things that work:

Touching customers. The shoulder pat is pretty effective, but what really works is touching diners’ hands.

Crouching at the table. Getting eye level with diners increased tips by as much as 25 percent, researchers found.

Drawing smiley faces on checks. This only works for female servers, though. Diners actually reduced their tips when men drew faces.

Being a blonde. Blondes get more tips than women with any other hair color.

Wearing a flower in the hair. Again, probably something that only works with women servers.

Wearing red. Men especially left larger tips for waitresses in red.

It all goes to show that tipping as a practice is inherently flawed. But many restaurants running on razor-thin margins depend on customer tips to make up for the incredibly low compensation they give workers.

Until restaurant owners pay a living wage — a policy many say they can’t afford — tipping will be there to pick up the slack. But diners are increasingly getting opportunities to voice their opinions about tipping.

As more no-tip restaurants open, customers can decide where to spend their money and whether to reward an eatery that encourages tipping over one that bans it. Depending on how diners vote, we could see more no-tip restaurants in the future.


  • Robin

    I dont see why they cannot pay them a decent wage. For one thing cut down on portion sizes. I waste tons of food, majority of restaurants give way too large portions. When I do take out chinese, I am set for the next three to four dinners, depending on how tired I get of eating the same thing.Also I had a IHOP breakfast one day, and had three breakfasts.

  • connie quick

    Yes they need to pay waitress a decent price and they could cut down on potions sizes,its bad one gets better tip others dont get much,not fair,also the prices are so high for food who can afford to leave a big tip unless your making big money,too if you take a job and agree for so much a hour,thats what you get,dont gripe cause somebody dont leave a big tip that does good to pay for the meal.

  • Jones

    I think its a stupid idea.. I’m a waitress an sum weeks I depend on my tips to just get by it helps with my gas an food.. an the idea of it bn a competition us dumb getting good tips means your a good waitress.. sum of the ones not agreeing are probably the ones not waitressing maybe you need to try it an seem it’s not an easy job.. especially when you have alot at one table. an they leave a big mess.. I have alot if respect for the waitress an waiters like i said it’s not as easy as you think..

    • atc8824

      I agree my daughter is a waitress and she depends on her tips to help her through the two week pay period.I also agree that good waitresses get better tips because they are good waitresses. Who would leave a bad waitress a good tip for bad service?Not me but I will tip a good waitress pretty good.

  • a volunteer

    If a person can’t afford to leave a tip then they probably can’t afford to be dining out. Stay home, raise garden veggies, smart shop, and cook your meals.

  • Annoyed

    I’ve always wondered why waiters got tipped for their serve yet people like CNAs work long hard hours without breaks for min wage and NO tips yet they help save lives.

  • jon blue

    So can someone explain to me how servers are supposed to make any money to support their families, children, etc.? I personally work in a restaurant, and servers, no matter what tips they make in a night, whether it be $150 or $15, still get paid roughly $2.15 an hour. If, at some point, all restaurants ban tipping, are server wages going to be raised to a legal state minimum wage or higher? Because if not, hundreds, if not thousands of servers will put in their two-week notice and restaurants will fail. As long as server minimum wage is raised to a state minimum and hopefully higher, then I completely agree with a ban on tipping. If not, this seems like it could put many families on the streets.

    • E.K. Jackson

      even with tips most waitresses don’t make minimum wages–I have been there–and I don’t tip bad service–I also don’t eat out if I have no money for the tip–in Arkansas the unemployment office or Arkansas laws have a special catagory for waitresses wages–keep them low

  • Jonellaa

    I’ve had real jobs and worked at the bottom, so I know what it is like.

    Just the other night I was eating at Golden Corral with 5 of my coworkers.

    The service was down right horrible and the other girls at my table grabbed the waiter’s card and said they were going to complain on him.

    I said not so fast, I said look at him, he is the only staff member on this whole side and he is running his tail off and he is having to clean the carpet and sweep.

    The kid finally ran over to our table and filled our drinks and took the dirty plates.

    The other girls that I was eating with simply didn’t care, or understand. They had all grown up in rich homes and had that sense of entitlement. They could care less about the fact that the kids boss was too tight to schedule more staff.

    None of the girls tipped, but I left a $20.00.

    I talked to the manager as we were walking out and went face to face with her. She said that she had sent two home due to it being slow, but admitted that she should have called them back. I told her that poor boy was busting his rear end and how can you expect a kid to carry 15 tables+ clean the floors+ everything else.

    The girls were personally mad at “Devon”, but I don’t think anyone could have done a better job under the circumstances.

    I wish people would open your eyes before getting mad at service workers.

    I see some stupid rich little girl walk up to the sub way counter and bark out her order before the employee is even ready and bark out 9 things really fast and then get pissef off when the worker ask again about the toppings.

    Just like truck drivers will get over in the fast lane as he is coming up to a series of like 12 on ramps and the traffic is busy. This is for safety as sometimes traffic quickly comes to a stop in the right lane as some slow cars are trying to merge on.
    Then we are just going past the last on ram and before the trucker can even get his blinker on all the mad cars are flooring it and passing him on the right. It is always the same stupid rich white entitled class. I am white myself and fairly well off now, but I will never forget being on the bottom and how hard those entitled people make your day.

    Truly the poor tip better and are nicer because they understand.

    We are so self centered and pricks in our society to the service class.
    We should be ashamed.

    • atc8824

      I agree a working person breaks a nail keeps on working, a rich girl breaks a nail pouts until Daddy pays $20 to fix her nail but looks down on wait staff like peasants.

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