Americans May Not Be Ready to Ban Tipping

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By F&W Editors Posted January 27, 2016

As restaurants increasingly move toward the no-tip policy, a new study shows that diners have reservations. 

As restaurants increasingly move toward no-tipping policies—a trend that has become increasingly prevalent since restaurateur Danny Meyer, of the formidable Shake Shack empire, implemented the rule at his restaurants last year—a new study shows that American diners may not be quite ready to fully embrace the idea. 

According to a study by Horizon Media, 81 percent of restaurant-going adults oppose the idea of abolishing tips; they say tipping helps hold restaurant staffs accountable, and that replacing tips with a built-in surcharge will remove servers' incentives for providing good service. 

Younger diners appear to be somewhat more open to the idea. Among those polled, 18-34 year-olds were much more likely to support the tipping ban, with 29 percent supporting it; meanwhile, only 13 percent of respondents between the ages of 50-64 were in favor. 

But it may not matter how Americans feel about the policy. Late last year, Joe's Crab Shack became the first major U.S. chain to abolish tipping, signaling the start of what could be a nationwide trend for restaurants. Meanwhile, Seattle chef Renee Erickson argues that, in addition to better compensating restaurant servers, there's another upside to no-tip policy: It reduces racism and sexism in the workplace. 

“Being a woman and serving people can be uncomfortable at times. And there’s comments [that] can be made that remind you that you’re working for a tip, which can be really inappropriate and difficult and not fair and not part of your job,” she told Seattle's KUOW in a radio interview last November. "Nobody should have to work under that cloud of feeling like they’re not the right ‘fill in the blank’ to this person who’s controlling their income.”  

[h/t Eater]

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