Restaurant Tip Ban: Sushi Servers Go On SalaryBy: Amanda Crum - June 11, 2013
One New York City restaurant has chosen to forgo the tip route in favor of giving the customer a better dining experience, and many are pretty happy about it.
Sushi Yasuda co-founder Scott Rosenberg says it was a decision that had a lot of thought put into it, and in the end he feels it was a good one.
“The diner doesn’t [have to] think about how much to leave and make calculations [after] a contemplative and special meal,” he said. “We’re really sort of just staying connected to that classical approach [of fine Japanese dining].”
Aside from the benefits for customers, the decision also comes as good news for servers, who are now on salary and receive paid vacations and sick leave. In order to do that, the prices had to be raised slightly…but for a high-end sushi restaurant where the menu often goes well past $100, a little spike in price isn’t likely to affect the demand. While the business model isn’t ideal for everyone, more and more restaurants are taking to the idea of sacrificing tips in order to provide better wages for their employees.
“Whether or not this is a culinary trend, this is something we’re seeing more of,” Andrew Moesel, spokesman for the New York State Restaurant Association, said.
The subject of tipping has been a delicate one in recent years as the economy took an ever-increasing hit and servers struggled to survive on a restaurant job alone. In February, an Applebee’s employee was fired after she posted a customer’s receipt to Reddit showing that the woman had written “I give God 10%, why do you get 18%?” The post brought both backlash and support for the waitress and put a spotlight on the restaurant industry.
For now, it seems customers at Sushi Yasuda are thrilled with the change.
“One [young guy] said, ‘I’m going to eat 20 percent more sushi,” Rosenberg said.
Image: Sushi Yasuda