The No Tipping Trend: Could It Take Off In America’s Restaurants?

In most restaurants throughout the United States, tipping is expected in return for good service. In addition, the practice of tipping is something that greatly helps support wait staff members, many of whom earn an hourly wage well below minimum wage. Sometimes, a tip is even automatically added to a bill, especially for tables that are serving a large number of guests.

However, some forward thinking restaurant owners throughout the country are trying to do what they can to create a worthwhile work environment for employees. One of the ways they’re doing that is by putting no tipping policies in place.

Thankfully, even in those locations where tipping is not expected, the people who work there can still expect to earn enough to live on. That’s because, although the practice of tipping does not apply, employees usually get the benefit of higher wages that compensate for the lack of tipping. In the United States, the federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 per hour. Unfortunately, though, people who work in restaurants as servers can legally be paid as little as $2.13 hourly.

When looking at those numbers, it soon becomes clear up why many service providers in the country rely so heavily on customers who are willing to participate in generous, or at least fair, tipping. However, New York City is one place in the nation where tipping may eventually become a thing of the past. That’s a part of the country known for setting trends, and it’ll be interesting to see whether the same holds true in terms of tipping. On the West Coast, no tipping policies are similarly being established in places like Los Angeles.

Supporters say without having to worry about tipping, waiters and waitresses are protected from fickle customers who otherwise may not be willing to give good tips. However, the possible downside of discouraging tipping is, in order to begin a new approach of not expecting nor requiring tipping, the dining establishments must often make menu items more expensive to compensate for the new tipping rules. When each food or beverage offering is 15 to 20 percent more than it once was back when tipping was the norm, customers may be confused about the sudden jump in price.

However, the price increase associated with serving non-tipping customers doesn’t hold true in all cases. In an article published by CBS News, Los Angeles restaurant owner Gabriel Frem isn’t changing the prices of his menu items to reflect a recently instituted no tipping rule. He also hopes forgoing tipping will discourage competition among employees who may have previously been trying to outdo each other with various practices to encourage tipping and bolster take-home pay.

Since the idea of dining without tipping is still relatively new in the United States, it will probably take some time to discover whether or not it’s a feasible turn for the dining industry. For now though, the fact that some employers are trying to give more financial stability to their staff by not making them dependent on tipping is certainly a step in the right direction.

Would you rather dine in a place where tipping isn’t required?