Sushi Yasuda is regarded as one of New York City’s finest dining establishments. And with its recent decision to ban gratuities, the posh restaurant is taking its customers’ dining experience to the next level.
The owners of Sushi Yasuda have decided to raise employee wages and do away with tipping. The idea is that by banning gratuities, they can now offer customers a more relaxing experience.
“There’s no tipping in Japan,” CNN explains. “So Sushi Yasuda says it shouldn’t be done here.”
“Our customers get to enjoy this beautiful meditative, contemplative meal. And at the end of the meal, they don’t have to take out their calculator, think about what percentage [do I owe]. None of that,” said co-owner Scott Rosenberg.
And although gratuities are off the menu, guests can still show appreciation for exceptional service by letting the manager know the service was excellent:
But will the trend catch on? Will other restaurants do away with tipping? One Esquire writer argues it’d be the smart thing to do.
“Why should a server's pay depend upon the generosity — not to mention dubious arithmetic skills — of people like me?” Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn asks.
She goes on to offer several reasons why restaurants should abolish the tipping system altogether.
First, people “don’t even understand what a tip is,” she argues.
“If you are of the belief that a tip is an optional kindness you’re doing for your server, you might be surprised to hear that you are not in France. Here in America, the practice is voluntary only in the legal sense of the word,” she adds.
It’s true. Tipping, though technically “voluntary,” isn’t exactly done out of the kindness of one’s heart. Most people do it because they realize the server depends on it and because it’s a cultural norm.
Second, it’s arbitrary. As Gunnison Dunn notes, why do we tip the bartender but not the line cook?
Third, as it turns out, better service doesn’t actually affect how much a server is tipped.
“Michael Lynn, a professor at Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, has spent his career researching tipping behaviors, and found that perceived service quality only accounts for two percent of the variation between tips,” Esquire notes.
“Two percent! It's probably not even enough to be picked up on by the server, much less cause a significant change in behavior,” it adds.
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