Kevin Reddy Has a ‘No Tip’ Policy at Noodles & Co.By: Erika Watts - March 20, 2014
Are you tired of going to fast food or casual dining restaurants (or other businesses that don’t have waiters who only get paid around $2 per hour) and being expected to leave something in the tip jar next to the register? We often hear of people complaining about being expected to tip in such situations, and sometimes these people say they’re treated rudely if they don’t fork over part of the change they get back. If you find seeing a tip jar next to every register annoying, you’re not alone, and at least one restaurant CEO is listening.
While some establishments such as Starbucks are trying to make it easier for you to tip by offering the option to tip digitally, Noodles & Company CEO Kevin Reddy has decided to take tipping out of the equation. Reddy expects his employees to treat customers respectfully because they came to Noodles & Co., not because they want a tip.
“Respect doesn’t cost you anything,” Reddy said. “Being nice doesn’t cost you anything, and we don’t really feel that folks should have to pay something additional for us to appreciate that they’re choosing us over another restaurant.” Reddy further says, “Either you enjoy people, and you treat them right, or you don’t.”
The workers at Noodles and Co., a chain based out of Colorado that has more than 300 locations, probably do more than your average fast food/casual dining restaurant worker. While you’re responsible for filling your own drinks and taking your food to your table at other establishments (and are expected to leave a tip after merely handing over cash at the register), the workers at Noodles and Co. do bring the food out to you. Despite this, Reddy doesn’t believe these workers should expect tips and also thinks that taking away the tip jar from the register will make customers feel like Noodles & Co. outdoes similar restaurants.
“We don’t want our guests to feel we’re trying to upsell them,” Reddy added. “We’d rather have them feel we’d rather upserve them than upsell them.”
Does this mean that the workers at Noodles & Co. will suffer since they aren’t allowed to take tips anymore? Not according to Reddy. While Reddy didn’t divulge what his employees make per hour on average, he does say they make over minimum wage and that he believes in paying them what they’re worth.
Now you’re probably wondering what will happen if you do go to a Noodles & Co. and feel like an employee has gone above and beyond with their service and want to tip. While Reddy’s interview with CNBC says employees would be allowed to keep the tip, he says the employee would have to give it back in an interview he gave to Market Watch. “We would probably talk to them, and say, “This is what we heard. Did it happen? This is why we’d like you to give it back.’”
Regardless of what would happen in a situation where you insisted that an employee take a tip, many consumers will probably be relieved that there is one less fast food/casual restaurant that doesn’t have a tip jar on the counter.
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