I heard about this on Boing Boing and then a month later on Marketplace: a sushi restaurant in New York that has eliminated tipping. Sushi Yasuda decided that instead of making people sit there at the end of the meal and agonize over how much to give the wait staff, they’ll just pay them the right amount and not charge the patrons tip. This means that they had to raise prices accordingly, approximately 18%, but I’m quite supportive of that. If there’s one thing I’ve come to hate, especially as money has become more tight since the baby was born, it’s that the true price of eating out is hidden from me. I don’t want to have to take out my calculator and do a bunch of math (sum everyone’s entree and add 18%) to know the true cost of the meal. I want to have a reasonable idea as I order how much money I’m going to spend. This also gets around the issue that comes up everywhere from Reservoir Dogs to any time tipping is brought up on the Internet: how much is the right amount to tip and is it ever ok not to tip? Everyone has crazy different rationals on this and I think just including the tip in the price and paying a living wage gets around that. Really, the only people who benefit from the current system are the credit card companies and restaurants who see us ordering more than we can actually afford because the prices aren’t higher. If a federal living wage law were passed, everyone’s prices would go up at once and restaurants wouldn’t have to worry about being at a competitive disadvantage for raising prices. Then again, maybe it’s not a bad thing to be a first mover while people still think of tipping as customary:
How have customers reacted? After a bit of initial surprise among regular guests, “they don’t think twice about it,” says Rosenberg, who’s seen no change in customer volumes since the changeover. One gentleman, per Rosenberg, quipped that he’d now order 20% more sushi now that tipping is no longer required. –The Price Hike
So some people see it as free money in their pockets because of the way human psychology works. I’d love to see a lot m0re restaurants adopt this practice. It protects the workers from a-holes and it means diners know up front how much they’re going to be paying.