Yet, Meyer wasn’t the only restaurateur making news on this front. The foodie news outlet, Eater, reported two Bay Area restaurants would be returning to a traditional tip-based model - citing stiff competition for quality servers – after experimenting with a tipless system.
So is tip-free dining on the way out of vogue in the Bay Area? A new article argues the tipless model is actually beginning to trickle down from fine dining establishments to more casual restaurants, and a number of newly opened restaurants in San Francisco have launched without tips.
At Zazie in Cole Valley, owner Jennifer Piallat eliminated tipping in favor of 25 percent increase to menu prices and giving a portion of sales to her staff in the form of a salary. While Piallat reports her servers weren’t initially thrilled at the idea of paying more in taxes, her transparent system has led to a growing acceptance.
Everyone sees what everyone else makes. There’s no shadiness about it.
In Bernal Heights the owners of the Old Bus Tavern launched with a menu that already includes service and tax in the prices with the hope of creating a more equitable distribution of wages at their restaurant.
The back of the house is traditionally underpaid. This is an opportunity to balances things and ensure they’re being fairly compensated.
Finally, Sessions at the Presidio recently opened using a tip-free model. For partners Evin Gelleri and Michael Bilger, the decision was based on a goal of addressing what they see as the restaurant industry’s “two-class system.”
This is something we really believe in as a matter of principle. And not just in terms of protecting our employees; we also really feel it’s the most fair thing for our guests.
While all three restaurants reported some required finessing with staff and customers, it seems likely more and more restaurant owners will continue to experiment with finding an alternative way to fairly compensate both the front and back of the house employees.