Looks like chef Zach Pollack's (Alimento, LA) idea to add an additional tipping line for the kitchen staff on all receipts is working. Pollack made headlines when he announced his new policy. He told Eater earlier this month that the move was inspired by two great line cooks who left because he couldn't afford to pay them more than he was. He weighed the options of raising menu prices, and eliminating tipping altogether but decided that adding a line would be a "fairly easy method to adopt."
So far no one has ever tipped just the kitchen, even though a photo is floating around on Facebook of a receipt indicating that a chef from another restaurant did just that. A manager for the restaurant confirms that while the chef did only leave a tip for the kitchen, the person he was dining with left an equivalent tip for the front of house staff. Pollack admitted to Eater earlier this month that it was too soon to tell what customers thought about the move.
However, a manager told Eater today that people have started to embrace the kitchen tipping line. While some still only tip the front of house, the restaurant is starting to see an increase in people also adding a tip for the kitchen staff.
Perhaps Alimento's success will convince other restaurants to adopt a similar measure. After all, as Pollack pointed out, the tipping line is very similar to the way other restaurants suggest on their menus that customers buy the kitchen a round of beers. Though, he added regarding his staff, "I'm sure they'd rather have the cash."