A midtown Manhattan restaurant called Sushi Yasuda no longer accepts tips. They claim this gives the dining experience a more authentic and relaxed feeling to mimic restaurants in Japan. Customers can enjoy their food and don’t have to do math and calculations at the end of the their meal. Instead of gratuity, the co-owner explains that they have increased the price of the items on their menu by 15%, essentially building the cost into the food which allows them to pay their waitstaff a higher salary than other restaurants do.
When patrons receive their final bill, it reads near the bottom “Following the custom in Japan, Sushi Yasuda’s service staff are fully compensated by their salary. Therefore gratuities are not accepted.” The waitstaff gets paid a salary from day one and even receive a generous benefits package including vacation and paid sick days, which is apparently pretty rare in the food services industry 😀 Reducing the reliance on tips to provide the employees with a living wage is common practice not just in Japan, but in other parts of the world as well. However would restaurants lose business if they add a price premium to their food? The final amount that the customer pays shouldn’t change but maybe it’s a psychological thing. I’ve never worked in a restaurant before so if I were a waiter I’m not sure if I would prefer this compensation method or the traditional North American way of tipping. I’ve heard that in Europe they round up to the nearest Euro. I think every culture is different 🙂
Here are what some people on the internet had to say about the story:
“Concerning compensation in Japan, serving is considered respectable employment and deserving of fair compensation. The issue is not with the tipping, but with the social attitudes around the service industry in North America.”
“As a former server I applaud this. If the service sector were uniformly unionized, all servers would have this kind of stability.”
“What if the service sucks? I like having the choice to pay more for attentive waiters and less for a poor service.”
“This is how every restaurant in NZ is…I love it! It frees up waiters to attend to ANY table – not just the ones in their section”
Random Useless Fact: According to some studies, boys on average are more expensive to raise than girls.
I know these aren’t your comments, but I feel like getting into an argument with nobody 🙂
Regarding this: “Concerning compensation in Japan, serving is considered respectable employment and deserving of fair compensation. The issue is not with the tipping, but with the social attitudes around the service industry in North America.” Maybe, but to what extent has our tipping system *contributed* to this attitude? Anyone that forces me to do math and makes my food more expensive than what’s printed on the menu might lose some respect in my eyes, regardless of what they did for a living.
Regarding this: “What if the service sucks? I like having the choice to pay more for attentive waiters and less for a poor service.” Why is it only with food? Do you not pay your cable bill in full because service sucked this month?
Good points 🙂 I wonder what the original commentators have to say about that.
I like the concept because tipping has gotten way out hand in the U.S. Everyone has their hand out whether deserve it or not.
I like this concept too. Maybe it will catch on 🙂
To be fair, they have their hand out because their employer expects them to get tipped and thus lowers their wage accordingly.
I love this idea! Better for the customers (no worrying and calculating), better for the employees.
Yeah after a meal, I don’t really want to be deciding if I should tip 15% or 17%. If they treat all customers the same, which I think is important for any business to do, then it’s sometimes hard to make these payment decisions.
I wish all restaurants did this! It is a good idea.
It would make paying for food easier on the customers 🙂 I don’t want to be part of the invoicing procedure. That should be up to the restaurant to decide how much I pay and where the money goes to.
i think i tend to agree that restaurants would lose business by tacking the premium onto their food prices. even if the end price is the same, the price on the menu is what will stick in customers memories. additionally, lower menu prices drive higher actual spending. even though menu A (tip after) and menu B’s (tip included) final price is the same, if menu A is lower, consumers will be more likely to spend more when dining there.
alternatively just move to Markham. food is cheap, and you dont have to tip much, b/c they’re all asian places, and ppl that work there dont even expect you to tip, like how it is in China lol. if standard tip in western place is 15%, the standard tip in asian place is under 10%
Markham sounds like a great place to dine then 🙂 That’s interesting how the standard tip in Asian restaurants there is under 10% and some don’t even expect tips. I think it’s a positive reflection on how multicultural our country is 🙂
Very interesting concept and if it can result in better pay for servers then that is a good thing in my opinion. On a different note, is it really that difficult to figure out 15 or 20% of a bill? 😉
Yup, servers have pretty tough jobs and don’t get paid a lot according to my friends who work at restaurants. Some people aren’t really good with math. 2n plus 2n just sounds 4n to them 😀 The good thing is many POS devices can now calculate tips.
I’d be just fine with this policy. If you know your waitress is fairly compensated, you don’t feel guilty about not tipping enough.
I despise tips in general. Even though I get tipped on my services, it still feels somewhat wrong.
Makes sense to me. What’s sometimes confusing about tipping is the customers don’t know where their tips are going to. People who work in the back of the restaurant may get a share of the tips. If my waiter did a great job but the food was poorly prepared I would feel bad about my waiter not getting tipped enough. Same is true vise versa. If my food was put together very well but the service left me feeling upset should I still tip normally? Some places share tips other don’t so for customers who like to know where their money is going to, it can sometimes be a tough decision. But by having customers all pay a little higher on the menu, and giving staff members a predictable salary I don’t have to feel bad about my waiter, or the host, or even the bus boy not getting their fair share of the compensation 🙂
I like this idea. I don’t see why a restaurant’s employees have to rely on the goodwill of customers in order to make a living wage.
I like this idea too. Another thing other restaurants are trying out is adding a mandatory gratuity charge on every bill, even for individuals and small groups. It’s sort of the same thing as raising the food prices on the menu because customers still pay a little more on their final bill, but the calculation is done differently. I wouldn’t mind something like that either.
As a former server, I like the concept. Some people don’t tip right no matter how good the service and this would alleviate the issue.
That’s too bad some people don’t tip. It’s not as bad here in Canada because most waiters make over $10/hr for their wage, and they make tips on top of that. But I know in the US it can be a lot harder for servers because there’s some special rule imposed by the US department of labor that allows restaurants to pay their tipped employees only a few dollars per hour, depending on the State.
Horrible, horrible, horrible, just takes away incentive for people in the service industry to give you great service to get a better tip. I live 2 minutes away from a casino on the Canadian side of the border and 5 minutes away from a casino on the American side of the border. the American dealers get to keep their own tips and the Canadian dealers have to split their tips between all the dealers. What a HUGE difference in service between the two !!! Ask around, a large of number of workers on the Canadian side will bluntly tell you there is no point in giving that extra great service because they don’t get to keep the tip. A dealer friend of mine told me to go out of his way to get an extra $10 tip would result in less than $0.01 going in his pocket. Same thing goes for the restaurants in the casino, if you want mediocre service, go somewhere where the employes tips are capped no matter what they do or are all split up between employees. On a side note, went to a restaurant last week where our bill was $74.55, left $100 for the… Read more »
Great point 😀 If all the servers were getting paid the same then there would be less incentive for them to go the extra mile. Not giving people the opportunity to earn a higher compensation even if they are willing to work harder can lead a business to mediocrity. It would be interesting to see how this restaurant in New York is doing after a couple years with its new policy.
I am on the fence on this one. I like the idea of a living wage, but I am also a fan of people getting paid when they do the job right.
I’ve had some seriously bad waiters in my life. SERIOUSLY BAD. So bad, I left no tip at all they were so awful.
Then I’ve had awesome waiters. So awesome, I left 30%.
But that’s 1% in all my times of eating out (in those extremes) so… maybe I could just suck it up? Hard to say.
One thing about tipping that confuses some people is how subjective the guidelines are. For a while I thought you didn’t have to tip for buffets, but then I found out you SHOULD tip because seating people and putting food out on the counter is still a service. But what I’m still not sure about is should I still tip like a normal restaurant or less. I have seen lists of tipping etiquette describing what kinds of services expect tips, which don’t, and how much to tip for different industries, and I don’t want to get it wrong and underpay someone or overpay for something else. I like the idea of a living wage too. I want to tip someone for their services and help them support their family, but I don’t want to tip too much for mediocre service because that might send the wrong message.
I know a few servers who hate this idea. Of course they work in high end restaurants so they don’t get stiffed very often. They enjoy getting their cash tips since they don’t report it all to the IRS (even though they are supposed to).
Personally I am fine either way, I would just like it to be uniform so I don’t accidentally forget to tip someone when I should. Besides if you thought the service was great beyond what the bill said you can always leave them a little something extra.
That’s true, not everyone reports all their tips which is a big loss of tax revenue considering people in the US tip something like $40 billion a year.
I see some strong logic in this. With better pay and benefits, the restaurant can likely attract and keep the better caliber of servers!
I hope that’s the case for that particular restaurant. A lot of people value predictable compensation and security rather than not knowing what kind of money they’ll be making from one week to the next.
Freakonomics did just a podcast on tipping here:
Apparently there’s a restaurant in California that rejects tips as well!
Thanks, I like finding out about new podcasts 🙂 Some interesting comments on that page lol. Tipping seems to be a common topic in many social circles, but it’s not a very political one.
I pay for the food. Most waiters just take your order and bring out your food. Its pretty standard service and ask how is your food. Most of the time you are left alone to eat your food… Its like any job. Why do I need to give extra money out of own pocket to fill the waiters pocket. How come people don’t tip at fast food restaurant? Tipping is over rated. Waiters make more than what you think in a night. Thanks to all you generous tippers.
I’ve sometimes wondered why those nice people who help you take your groceries out to your car don’t get tipped. I think in the US, depending on which State, the minimum wage for servers can be as low as $2 or $3 per hour but in Canada, at least in BC, servers have to make at least $9 per hour by law. But Canadians supposedly tip just as much as Americans so if I were a waiter, I’d definitely want to work in Canada :0)