Nothing worse than a bad tipper.
Those in the restaurant industry know all too well that tips can make or break a night, week or month. Living off the kindness of strangers is a reality for waitresses and bartenders. But suppose a restaurant employee’s pay didn’t have to rely on gratuity?
Such is the ethos behind Gratuity Free, a movement that’s changing the way restaurants and their guests consider tipping.
At most restaurants across the country, servers receive much higher payouts than culinary workers in the back of the house, when the tips are divvied up. By including service on the menu and eliminating tipping, the Gratuity Free movement ensures everyone who contributes to the success of a restaurant is compensated.
To showcase this growing New York City trend, SJC Brooklyn’s Hospitality and Tourism Management chair Damien Duchamp hosted an all-star panel of local restaurateurs who support Gratuity Free NYC. Together with an audience of community members, as well as SJC students and staff, in Tuohy Hall, the panel discussed the importance of the movement, and how they hope it will soon be standard practice across the country.
Gratuity Free’s Party of Five
Managing Partner, Huertas
Director of Operations, Union Square Hospitality Group
Owner, Maison May
Among the topics discussed were employee retention and satisfaction, measuring a gratuity-free restaurant’s success, the hard-to-break habit of tipping and the possibility of reverting back to a tip-based system.
The responses were nearly identical across the board. The movement would not have legs if the restaurants the five panelists oversaw were losing customers. A realistic corollary – when guests see higher menu items that offset a 15 percent gratuity without understanding the concept.
The gratuity-free model allows for proper promotion and management, regardless of a good night’s tips. It also ensures those whom the guests never see — dishwashers, prep cooks, etc. — are paid fairly for their important roles.
Look for more restaurants going gratuity free in SJC Brooklyn’s neighborhoods of Clinton Hill and Fort Greene. And check out Gratuity Free to learn more about supporting the move away from tip-based pay.