Restaurant Bans Tipping — What They Do Instead is Amazing

Newport, Kentucky restaurant Packhouse Meats bans tipping in favor of paying their servers an automatic 20 percent of each bill
Packhouse Meats

If you're a server at this restaurant you won't have to worry about getting stiffed when the bill comes.

All restaurant servers know that it’s pretty much a crapshoot whether a customer will give you a generous 20 percent tip, a stingy five percent, or worse — stiff you entirely. Packhouse Meats, a new meatball-centric restaurant that opened in Newport, Kentucky this January, is looking to change that. The restaurant has completely banned tipping, and instead gives each server a livable wage of $10 per hour, or 20 percent of each bill, whichever is larger. Initially the policy got raked over the coals on Yelp, but as Packhouse Meats owner Bob Conway told, they did this to protect their servers.

"I've heard the horror stories — $3 left on a $100 tab," he said. "How much a server makes has nothing to do with how hard they work. Servers had quit because they couldn't make ends meet."

At Packhouse, you’ll find “No Tipping” signs placed throughout the restaurant, and there’s no tip line on the checks. Servers do have to meet certain sales goals to make sure that they are doing their job well before they make that 20 percent, but the result, said Conway, is a fair living wage, which (most likely) won’t leave them sniffing for another job or struggling to pay the bills.

The no-tipping policy is commonplace internationally. In both China and Japan, tipping is not accepted, and in Japan it can even be considered offensive. The unwritten rule throughout most of Europe is that tipping is unnecessary, like in France and Germany. In Italy, tips are only given for exceptional service.

Curious how to tip when you're traveling? Check out The Daily Meal's guide to How to Tip or Not Tip While Traveling (Slideshow)

Perhaps Packhouse Meats will lead the way for a new American anti-tipping trend.

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Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor with The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi