Over the past couple years, the fuse on the movement within the restaurant industry to ban the practice of tipping once and for all has been slowly burning. Chefs, including Tom Colicchio, have publicly stated their support for getting rid of tipping (and he dipped his toes in the water in September by eliminating tipping during lunch service at his flagship restaurant, Colicchio & Sons). Chef Amanda Cohen re-opened her popular Dirt Candy in February with a no-tipping policy, but the movement remained more or less stagnant until Danny Meyer dove in head first in October when he announced that he would be doing away with tipping at all of his restaurants by the end of 2016, with the intention of paying his employees a living wage and raising menu prices to make up the difference.
Since then, the slow-burning fuse has been rapidly accelerating. Eleven Madison Park nixed tipping earlier this month, restaurateur Gabe Stulman is ending tipping at his popular New York restaurant Fedora, Andrew Tarlow is banning tipping at his super-popular Brooklyn restaurants, Brooklyn’s Michelin-starred Meadowstreet will be nixing gratuities, and even Joe’s Crab Shack has announced that it will be banning tipping at several of its locations, making it the first chain restaurant to get involved.
So the question is: Does this represent a tipping point for the no-tipping movement (pardon the pun)? Is that slow-burning fuse about to ignite the bomb? Only time will tell, but this trend shows no signs of slowing down.