Tipping — giving a waiter or waitress an extra 10, 15 or 20 percent of the check when dining out — is an American custom that baffles many visitors to the United States, but it may be changing.
The popular Union Square Hospitality Group of restaurants in New York is eliminating the practice, saying that it will instead give a fair wage to its employees so that they are no longer dependent on tips for their income.
Chief Executive Officer Danny Meyer said all 13 of his restaurants would phase out tipping over the next year. The practice isn't fair to all employees, he said.
"We believe hospitality is a team sport, and that it takes an entire team to provide you with the experiences you have come to expect from us," he said in an announcement.
'Aren't able to share'
"Unfortunately, many of our colleagues — our cooks, reservationists and dishwashers, to name a few — aren't able to share in our guests' generosity, even though their contributions are just as vital to the outcome of your experience at one of our restaurants," Meyer added.
Meyer is not the first to eliminate tipping, with some higher-end restaurants having already abolished the policy. But the fact that such a large and prominent group would do away with tipping may lead the way for more restaurants to do the same, analysts said.
Food workers around the country have been seeking a higher minimum wage, and the state of New York plans to phase in a $15-an-hour minimum wage.