New York Times critic Pete Wells has jumped into the national debate about tipping and has come out against the practice. In his article on the subject, Wells suggests that tipping does not guarantee better service as is its intended purpose. Rather, he says tipping is "irrational, outdated, ineffective, confusing, prone to abuse and sometimes discriminatory." Wells looks at restaurants without tipping policies including Sushi Yasuda in New York and Coi in San Francisco, and speculates whether these models will spread.
Earlier this Summer, NYC restaurateurs including Danny Meyer, Tom Colicchio, and David Chang threatened to abandon tipping entirely. (According to Chang's lawyer, quoted by Wells, the numbers didn't make sense for Momofuku to get rid of tips.) Wells also questions whether the American public's faith in tips has been "corroded" by lawsuits (like those regarding La Fuente and Wolfgang Puck's catering company) which show that restaurants sometimes play "fast and loose with the laws on tips." Ultimately, Wells is uncertain whether American diners are ready for tip-free models, but he hopes they will be soon: "Tipping doesn't work, and it doesn't feel very good anymore, either."