A new restaurant movement, officially titled “Hospitality Included”, has begun, and its leader is Chief Founder of the Union Square Hospitality Group, Danny Meyer. Union Square Hospitality is the company behind 13 of New York City’s most popular restaurants, including Blue Smoke, and Union Square Café. Starting in November Meyer will begin eliminating tips and raising wages for the entire restaurant staff. In order for Meyer to maintain a profitable business, the dining experience for guests will have to be more expensive. To inform guests of the change the menu will have a small note about the new policy, and in addition on the check there will be just a line for the diner’s signature but no place for a tip.
In 1990 Meyer recognized the wage gap between the front and back of house staff, in the restaurant industry. This is when he first attempted to implement a no tipping policy but to his surprise faced resistance from servers who preferred to work on commission. Today Meyer is more passionate than ever about this movement and is determined to create more meaningful career opportunities and advancement for his restaurant’s employees. Meyer believes that it takes every member of the restaurant to ensure every guest has a positive experience. Although running a restaurant is a team sport, cooks, reservationists and dishwashers aren’t able to share in their guests’ generosity, even though their positions are just as vital to the outcome of the experience at the restaurant.
Meyer will use his restaurant The Modern as a trial run, and if the change is successful he will implement the no-tipping policy in all of his restaurants by the end of next year. Meyer has accepted the risk that he may scare away customers and servers, but according to NY Eater, “he relishes the opportunity to challenge the fundamental way that things are done, and hopefully to make things better in a sustainable way.”