Over the past few years the topic of tipping has been heating up. High end restaurants like Sushi Yasuda, Per Se, French Laundry, Chez Panisse and Alinea have long abandoned the system in favor of paying staff a fairer base wage. And Danny Meyer announced last month that he would be abolishing tipping in all of the restaurants in his USHG, beginning with The Modern this month.
This week Joe’s Crab Shack became perhaps the first full service chain to experiment with the no tipping model. At 18 locations through the end of the year, servers have been switched to a wage of at least $14 an hour (up from $2.13) and customers have been alerted that they are no longer expected to tip. The money to pay the staff the higher wage is being generated by a price increase of 12 percent to 15 percent.