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Sushi Yasuda’s Restaurant Tip Ban Prompts New Tipping Debate

A New York City sushi joint’s restaurant tip ban has sparked what is sure to be another internet tipping debate, as one of America’s most hated social customs is examined in light of the restaurant’s ban on tips.

The restaurant tip ban was enacted at Sushi Yasuda in Manhattan, a swank Midtown eatery with moderate NYC prices and one notable exception.

While the restaurant’s ban on tips is unusual, so too is its treatment of employees. Most servers across the US are paid a stunningly low server wage with the expectation of gratuities making up the difference.

As anyone who has ever waited tables knows, this isn’t always the case. And while the restaurant’s tip ban means no math for diners during their meals out, the workers also benefit in the form of health insurance, paid time off, and a steady salary that ensures no one is working at a loss on slow days.

Sushi Yasuda’s co-founder Scott Rosenberg said of the restaurant’s tip ban that diner satisfaction and ease of experience was really the driving factor. Explaining that a one price covers all tab is a simpler way to enjoy dinner, Rosenberg tells ABC:

“The diner doesn’t [have to] think about how much to leave and make calculations [after] a contemplative and special meal … We’re really sort of just staying connected to that classical approach [of fine Japanese dining].”

Daisy Chung is executive director for Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York, a group that advocates for often underpaid and overworked restaurant staffers.

Stripper tips

Chung says Sushi Yasuda’s ban on tips and the resultant conditions for workers is a “good idea,” and she adds that other NYC restaurants should consider a tip ban:

“It started a good conversation about tips and restaurant compensation … We definitely feel there shouldn’t be a separate system where tip workers rely on tips to subsidize their wage. Workers should be fully compensated.”

While the restaurant’s ban on tips is good for workers, sushi fans are also pleased. Rosenberg recalls one excited sushi diner who pledged he was “going to eat 20 percent more sushi.”

Would you prefer all restaurants have a ban on tips and just charge a little bit more to pay servers consistently?