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NYC Restaurateurs Threaten to Abandon Tipping

Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). Her work focuses on dining trends and the people changing the industry — and scouting the next hot restaurant you need to try on Eater's annual Best New Restaurant list.

A Slate article which calls tipping "repugnant" and "terrible for workers" prompted New York City restaurant owners David Chang, Tom Colicchio, and Danny Meyer to discuss the possibilities of removing tipping in their restaurants over Twitter. Meyer began the conversation tweeting that he "[c]onsidered eliminating tipping years ago, and then servers asked to keep things as they were." Meyer points out what others have also noticed: Servers aren't necessarily interested in changing the status quo tip system.

Colicchio responds, "I'm thinking the same for craft" while Chang writes that he is "more than kicking around the idea" of getting rid of tips. Chang also mentions that the catch is figuring out "how to increase prices ... w/o revolt," suggesting that customers won't take kindly to having costs shift to the menu pricing.

Over at the Bad Deal, Bloomberg critic Ryan Sutton succinctly explains these two major obstacles to removing tipping (namely servers and price hikes): "Eliminating tipping means raising prices, which threatens a revolt from customers, even though they'll really be paying the same when all is said and done. Banning tipping can also involve the prospect of some waiters earning a few dollars less on any given night because they're moving from a tipped income to a salaried income (or perhaps a much higher hourly wage)." Ultimately, however, Sutton suggests that removing the tipping system "simply is the right thing to do."

Even New York Post critic Steve Cuozzo chimed in: "Tipping an evil institution. Owners: set new prices, ignore staff & customers & just abolish practice."

· @dhmeyer [Twitter]
· In the wake of Sushi Yasuda having banned tipping [The Bad Deal]
· All Tips Coverage on Eater [-E-]