A popular New York City restaurateur is eliminating tipping in all 13 of his restaurants starting in November in the hopes of changing the American dining experience as a whole, the Atlantic reports. Danny Meyer says he's making the change to offer more competitive wages and even things out for cooks, dishwashers, and others who are legally prohibited from sharing in tips. "We will now have the ability to compensate all of our employees equitably, competitively, and professionally," Meyer said in a press release Wednesday. "And by eliminating tipping, our employees who want to grow financially and professionally will be able to earn those opportunities based on the merit of their work." Eater reports it's the first time no tipping will be the standard policy of a major US restaurant group.
Waiters on average make more than mid-level line cooks despite a lower hourly wage thanks to tipping, especially at the fancier New York restaurants, Eater reports. Meyer says this is partially responsible for a shortage of talented cooks willing to start their careers in expensive New York City. He's hopes eliminating tips and increasing wages will change that. "I hate those Saturday nights where the whole dining room is high-fiving because they just set a record, and they’re counting their shekels, and the kitchen just says, ‘Well boy, did we sweat tonight,'" he tells Eater. In his press release, Meyer says prices at his restaurants won't change "much." But Eater reports an "across-the-board increase in prices" of 21% to 25%. Meyer is banking on diners remembering they would have tipped nearly that much anyway.