When restaurateur Danny Meyer recently announced that he would abolish tipping throughout his Union Square Hospitality Group, he opened the floodgates to questions from loyal customers, industry colleagues and media. To address the many gnawing concerns (bad service! cooks' wages! cost!), he co-hosted a “Hospitality Included” town hall last night with USHG chief cultural officer Erin Moran, chief restaurant officer Sabato Sagaria and chef Abram Bissell of the Modern. (The Modern's three-month trial period kicks off on November 19.) Here, the top five things we took away from the event.
1. Stars will replace tips. Many believe that tipping is the only way to reward good service or punish bad service. In practice, people don’t use tips that way, according to Meyer. “Twenty-percent tippers are twenty-percent tippers,” he said. Still, to satisfy the urge to praise or penalize, he is going to replace the tip line on checks with a 5-star system. In the future, Meyer hopes to implement this rating system into mobile pay technology. The ratings will influence revenue distribution from the night among the front-of-house team, as well as determine who deserves a raise or should be let go.
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2. If diners aren’t happy with service, the bill will reflect that. Instead of docking a server the tip in response to bad service, Meyer recommends talking to a manager who will deduct from the cost off the bill. “It’s the same as if the salmon was overcooked,” he said.