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Zero-Gratuity Pioneer Danny Meyer Says Tipping Is “Socialist”

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The restaurant tycoon sheds some more light on his anti-tipping stance.

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Danny Meyer created major shockwaves in the restaurant world last October when he announced his plans to eliminate tipping across all 13 of his New York restaurants. The Shake Shack founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group is switching to a European-style service-included system with all-inclusive menu pricing, a policy that will let him raise wages for both front and back of the house staffers.

Now, Meyer has voiced the idea that tipping is a "socialist" enterprise. "In most fine-dining restaurants, tips are pooled. So when you leave your $50 tip, you think that you’re giving it to your server, but that server is actually sharing it with everybody who can receive tips," he tells the New York Times in a new interview.

Meyer's plan to fix this problem, dubbed the "Hospitality Included" plan, involves a hike in menu prices and an elimination of the tip line on bills, among other measures, that will elevate the pay grade of back-of-house to diminish the earning disparity across restaurant positions. Dining room staff, in turn, will receive a higher hourly wage, plus a share of the restaurant's revenue.

Meyer's empire includes 13 restaurants, ranging from fine dining to more casual pizza and barbecue places. The no-tipping rollout began with The Modern (one of his more expensive restaurants) in November and should be complete across all 13 by the end of 2016.

Other New York restaurants have followed suit, including Brooklyn's Andrew Tarlow, who has now proposed the introduction of "tip-free" window stickers to easily identify restaurants that subscribe to the progressive policy.

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