- Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty
Shake Shack founder Danny Meyer has decided to eliminate tipping at all of his restaurants, Eater reports.
The ban will affect some of New York’s most well-known restaurants, including Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, and Union Square Cafe.
The restaurants will raise menu prices to offset the change in tipping policy, according to Eater.
All 13 restaurants owned by Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group will be impacted. Shake Shack restaurants will not be affected.
The move comes 10 months after a Pittsburgh restaurant called Bar Marco won widespread praise for banishing tips and offering employees a base salary of $35,000 in exchange.
Bar Marco also offered its employees health benefits, paid vacation, and shares in the company – all with a minimal increase to menu prices that was largely offset by the no-tipping policy.
The restaurant industry pays notoriously low wages.
Full-time salaries are rare in the industry, and the minimum wage for tipped workers is meager. In Pennsylvania, the tipped minimum wage is $2.83, while in New York, it’s much higher, at $7.50 per hour.
When Meyers’ restaurants implement the no-tipping policy, cooks will start earning at least $14 an hour, and servers will earn $9 an hour, according to Eater. Servers will also have the opportunity to participate in a revenue sharing program.
Eater points out that Danny Meyer has long supported banishing tips.
In 1994, Meyer wrote in Union Square Cafe’s newsletter that the US should switch to a European-style system that doesn’t involve tipping. “Because our country has a longstanding tradition where a server’s income is determined by guests’ tips rather than a weekly salary set by the restaurant,” he wrote, “we are at a disadvantage when it comes to recognizing and promoting outstanding service.”
“The American system of tipping is awkward for all parties involved: restaurant patrons are expected to have the expertise to motivate and properly remunerate service professionals; servers are expected to please up to 1,000 different employers (for most of us, one boss is enough!); and restaurateurs surrender their use of compensation as an appropriate tool to reward merit and promote excellence … Imagine, if to prompt better service from your shoe salesman, you had to tip on the cost of your shoes, factoring in your perception of his shoe knowledge and the number of trips he took to the stockroom in search of your size. As a customer, isn’t it less complicated that the service he performs is included in the price of your shoes?”