TIPPING POINT

Finally, a large US restaurant chain is trying to get rid of tipping

The tipping wars just tipped a bit more in favor of no tipping.

Following in the lauded footsteps of chef and restauranteur Danny Meyer, whose Union Square Hospitality Group announced last month that it would end tipping at its restaurants, Joe’s Crab Shack says it will give this no tipping thing a try, too, Nation’s Restaurant News has reported. The seafood chain said it’s testing the policy at 18 of its 131 restaurants.

Last week, CEO Ron Blanchette told analysts that they’re already using the no-tip model at some restaurants and are upping the total to 18 based on the other stores’ success. “What makes us optimistic is the restaurant that has been in test the longest is gaining the most traction,” Blanchette said, noting customers are beginning to understand the changed policy better. Plus, he said, service improves sometimes, too. For example, with large parties, which the chain often hosts, servers who aren’t looking for a big tip at the end of the meal are more likely to help each other out.

He called tipping an “antiquated model” and said that while there would be no additional service charge, menu prices would go up as staff wages increased. Blanchette hopes that higher wages for staff members will also mean lower turnover rates at his restaurants.

“It’s very different to quit a job where you make, say, $14 an hour than it is to quit a job where you are making $2.25,” he said.

Opponents of tipping argue that it disproportionately benefits servers over the kitchen staff and does not lead to better service. Many say ditching the model has led to better restaurant performance, both in terms of service and revenue.

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