Even though it may seem as if “no tipping” policies are sweeping the restaurant world, the CEO behind two of the US’s largest restaurants has come out against the idea. In an article on CNBC, Wyman Roberts, CEO of Brinker International, said he doesn’t see gratuity-free service in the near future for the restaurants his company operates: Chili’s Bar & Grill and Maggiano’s Little Italy – the 2nd and 34th highest grossing full service chains respectively according to 2013 sales numbers.
“Right now, we don't think that's where we need to go — especially on a national basis,” Roberts said. “We like [tipping] from the standpoint of it allows servers to really understand the importance of great service and what's in it for them when they provide great service.”
It’s probably safe to assume he also likes tipping because it represents the status quo. Back in November, when Joe’s Crab Shack announced they planned to experiment with ditching tipping at some of their locations – possibly the largest chain to do so to date – we were talking about brand with about 130 locations. For Chili’s, that number is somewhere closer 1,500, with total sales around the $3.6 billion mark. Changing payroll for that kind of volume is more than just a little tinkering – especially for a publically traded company with a nearly $3 billion market cap.
However, the fact that one of America’s largest full service restaurants even had to address the issue could be considered a major development – one that wouldn’t have happened just a couple years ago. And keep in mind that Chili’s said they were retiring the baby back ribs song, only to bring that back – which is truly proof that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE.