A Powerhouse Manhattan Restaurant Group is Eliminating Tipping Across the Board

Dining out could soon change as you know it.

That’s because the whole tipping part could be removed from the equation, should the idea catch on.

(If you’re still someone who needs helps in the tipping department, check out this handy chart.)

It’s already happening in Manhattan. Starting next month, Union Square Hospitality Group, the powerhouse behind some of New York’s most important restaurants, will roll out an across-the-board elimination of tips at every one of its 13 establishments.

Naturally, this coincides with an increase in price (the meals will typically be 20 per cent higher) as the hourly wage for servers will now factored into the tab.

Eliminating tipping is nothing new when it comes to certain, individual high-end restaurants, but this move marks the first time that zero-gratuity will become an overarching policy for a major North American restaurant group. Furthermore, it’s not limited to only high-end places.

As someone who waitressed her way through university and post-grad, I’m not sure how I feel about this.

On one hand, it eliminates that horrible feeling on the part of the server when you’ve gone above and beyond for a customer (seriously, you may as well be a paid performer sometimes) and you’re left with a 10 per cent tip. It also makes those “dead nights,” where you barely make enough to cover your cab and staff meal, a little more bearable. But if you’re good at what you do, I know servers who would rack in at least $90-100K annually.

Meaning, as long as servers are still allowed to accept tips, it’s pretty ideal for them.

For the diners, it eliminates the math, along with that awkward feeling you get when one of your fellow diners – who is known to be the world’s worse tipper – offers to pick up the tab.

For the American restaurant owners, it may take time to determine whether the move makes sense from a profit standpoint. It should be noted that establishments that pay servers a straight salary give up a pretty significant tax credit on tipped income – as do the servers, for that matter. The Union Square Hospitality Group expects to lose from $1 million to $1.5 million of hard cash on the tax credit alone.

At any rate, the move has been met with largely positive feedback. As Danny Meyer, CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group told the New York Times, he’s had zero pushback from his staff. Whether other restaurant groups jump on board will remain to be seen.

If you’re in NYC, you can check it out for yourself;  The Modern, inside the Museum of Modern Art, will begin the shift starting next month.