When you eat at a restaurant in Europe, gratuity is included in the menu prices. You don’t tip your server unless you’ve had exceptional service and you want to give them a little extra. Maybe a Euro or two, not 20%. While sitting in a Florentine restaurant we chuckled to each other after we saw the €50 tip that Americans had left behind at a table next to us. A win for the server!No-tipping has recently been in the news as Danny Meyer has announced a no-tipping policy at his 13 famed New York City restaurants like Gramercy Tavern and The Modern at the Museum of Modern Art. At the same time, Thad Vogler of San Francisco’s Bar Agricoleand Trou Normand has announced pulling out of the service-included model and going back to the American tipping model because he has a hard time retaining servers.
We happened upon Bar Agricole while waiting for our dinner reservations close by and were surprised and excited to see “Service Included” on the menu. We are disappointed that they’re going away from that model. We appreciate the European no-tipping experience, and even though it may mean your server isn’t incentivized by the prospect of a large tip, at least you don’t have to think about it and can just enjoy your meal.
According to Talia Ralph, no-tipping policies may help with sexual harassment and provide more equal pay between the front and back of the house staff. Additionally, it’s helping with the chef shortage that’s been an issue in places like San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. It apparently hasn’t worked for Vogler, but it has worked for Bar Marco in Pittsburgh. Even Joe’s Crab Shack has moved to the no-tipping model.
We hope that Meyer will be successful and that it will continue to become a trend for other American restaurants! Have you experienced a restaurant with no-tipping or a hospitality fee? What do you think about the tip debate?
Check out Eater’s “The economics of the tipping debate” video: