Listen to the Story on All Things Considered:
In mid-November, diners at the New York restaurants Gramercy Tavern and The Modern may notice something new on their menus: higher prices, across the board.
Why? Because the man in charge of those and 11 other celebrated eateries is doing away with tipping. Danny Meyer, the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group (he also founded Shake Shack), says tipping is actually a big problem for his industry.
"I think that restaurant patrons have unwittingly believed that they could, if they wanted to, use their tip to punish bad service, and/or to praise great service," Meyer tells All Things Considered's Kelly McEvers. "What that's done over the years has actually been quite the opposite, because the average American restaurant-goer leaves the exact same tip, irrespective of the service they receive. And unfortunately, none of those tips that you leave in a restaurant may be shared with the full team, i.e. the cooks, the dishwashers, the prep cooks, the butchers, etc."
But it might not be easy to bridge that gap between what the servers make and what the dishwashers make. Meyer says that since he started in the restaurant business 30 years ago, he's seen "something fascinating and completely unfair: Waiters' income in a fine-dining restaurant has gone up well over 200 percent."