Big Restaurant Chain Starts No-Tipping Policy
When Fishtown restaurant Girard announced a no-tipping policy, it made national headlines — and started a conversation about whether a flat fee for servers could actually become the industry norm. It was even referenced on Saturday Night Live.
Now, a large, national chain has joined the no-tipping movement: Joe’s Crab Shack. Servers in 18 Joe’s restaurants will now earn wages starting at $14 per hour or higher, with better-performing servers earning more, according to the publication Restaurant Business.
“The money to pay the waiters and waitresses is being generated by a price increase of 12 percent to 15 percent, Ignite [Restaurant Group] CEO Ray Blanchette told investors late last week,” Restaurant Business reported.
Joe’s has four locations in the Philadelphia region: King of Prussia, Pa.; Deptford, N.J.; Lawrenceville, N.J. and Wilmington, Del.
It’s the product of a trial period of no tipping that started in August, and Ignite hopes it will decrease server turnover — in a business which typically sees turnover of 100 percent, much higher than any other industry. It’s still in testing mode, and will run through the end of the year.
“We’re really leading in our industry with regards to national brand going out and testing this thing in a meaningful way,” said Blanchette, according to the publication. “So we want to be somewhat cautious.”
Should customers still tip something for exceptional service? Will people tip out of habit and convention? I guess that depends on the customer.
Other restaurant chains to eliminate tipping have been Union Square Hospitality Group, which has 13 New York City restaurants as well as independent eateries like Brand 158 restaurant in Glendale, Calif.; Restaurant Riki in New York; Sushi Yasuda in New York; and Public Option, a brewpub in Washington D.C.
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