Published June 11, 2013
Here’s a tip: no tipping allowed.
A sushi restaurant in Midtown Manhattan has eliminated tipping from the fine dining experience. Instead, the 14-year old Japanese restaurant, Sushi Yasuda, has opted to pay its workers a set salary and increase the price of menu items by 15 percent to compensate for employee wages.
The move is closer to the European dining system, in which patrons do not tip, but are accustomed to paying an extra 18 to 20 on dinner bills to compensate for wait staff salaries.
At Sushi Yasuda, there is no tip line on the bill. Instead, there is a line of text to inform customers that "Sushi Yasuda's service staff are fully compensated by their salary."
The starting pay for most New York waiters is a rate of $2.25 per hour, with the assumption that the waiter will make an additional wage via tips. The minimum wage for restaurant workers who are not assumed to receive gratuity is $7.25 per hour.
The pay model at Sushi Yasuda replaces voluntary tipping with a set 15 percent service charge on all purchased items. The owner, Scott Rosenberg, says it will simplify the dining experience.
“I’ve always dreamed,” he told the blog The Price Hike. “Wouldn’t it be great not to have to worry about tipping? Look at your bill, make sure that it’s correct and sign the check if you’re good, and you won’t have think and calculate and do a math equation at the table.”
While it may be slightly off-putting for patrons to pay a little more up front and not leave a tip behind, Rosenberg says he has not seen any change in the volume of customers. He says the move to a no tipping system will help foster stability in his workforce, who receive vacation time and paid sick leave.
Whether the restaurant's no tipping strategy will be successful long term has to be determined, as the policy was only introduced last month. But for now it seems to be working fine, despite the occasional confused gratuity-giving patron.