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Sushi Yasuda eliminates tipping.



Very interesting. I actually like the idea because I hate doing math at the end of a nice meal. I hope more restaurants follow this concept.

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  1. I think people will still add some tips for the servers , if they have excellent service. Even in Europe where the tip is included , if the service is excellent some extra is thrown in.
    Many waiters have made enough money from tips to open their own restaurants. It is an interesting idea at Yasuda, I'm not sure how much the waitstaff will like it.

    1. Isn't this just a disguised price hike?

      Yasuda is not forbidding tips (is that even possible?). It's simply folding in an automatic gratuity amount into your bill - a sort of quasi-tax to subsidize a salary bump for the servers.

      This policy translated to English means this: "tips at Yasuda are cash only."

      5 Replies
      1. re: ipsedixit

        The article said they are raising the prices, and that translates into higher salaries and benefits for waitstaff. They didn't add an automatic gratuity, they seemingly took the tips away and more money for the owners. I wonder what the hourly wage of the waiters are now? $10 per hour maybe? I think tips would amount to triple that.

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          I didn't say Yasuda added an automatic gratuity. Rather, they folded in an automatic gratuity as a pretext to disguise a price-hike.

          In any event, tips are still permitted and acceptable. It just has to be in cash.

          1. re: ipsedixit

            How much did prices go up, out of interest? I must say, when they put on the bill "...Therefore gratuities are not accepted" they are certainly heavily discouraging anyone from tipping. As pointed out however, I cant imagine the wait staffs' salaries equal what they used to earn in tips, so the ownership are the ones taking home the extra money. A shame.

            1. re: ipsedixit

              Actually, it looks like they do NOT want tips in cash, at least publicly.

              From the owner:
              "From now on, we’ll count cash left on the table, so that if we do catch a tip being left, we can return it,” he said."


              1. re: lexismore

                Also - "At Sushi Yasuda, the tips were not going to the workers, anyway. The staff received salaries and benefits and the restaurant took the tips, Mr. Rosenberg said."

                If it's the case that the staff was never getting tips to begin with then they're actually being more honest with their customers. Also, as the prices have risen by 15% (as opposed to what would be considered an approrpiate tip for that kind of meal), if anything the diner should ultimately benefit.

                If people still tip/want to tip - that's there own choice.

        2. Per Se did it some time ago and for me works fine, do not have to think about it. Live half the year in Europe and have become delighted over no additions needed. Yes, l round up, yes sometimes l add more, but generally a no brainer and easy.

          1. I was hoping to hear opinions on this policy from both professional service people and customers. I like the concept and have liked the no/small tipping found in may European countries. I am less bothered by the math than by the expectation of a tip regardless of the service provided.

            1. I think this is great. The tipping system is ridiculous. I am there to eat, not to evaluate the server's performance. Do people pay the cashier more money if the cashier scan the purchased goods faster? I think the tipping system is there to deceptively show a lower menu price and for some servers to make enormous amount of money off of people who like to show off. It should be the restaurant owner's responsibility to assure a certain standard.

              1. Perhaps it has an effect on service?

                Andrew Zimmern just wrote a blog post about a bad experience: http://blogs.mspmag.com/chowandagain/...

                Even though the restaurant is not named, it pretty much has to be Yasuda given the mention of no tipping allowed.

                The time limit thing has been in place for as long as I remember, and honestly back when I was a semi-regular there and Yasuda knew me, I still found the maitre d'/host extremely snobby and annoying, so the thing about the reservation and seating does not surprise me at all.

                4 Replies
                1. re: fooder

                  Not that Andrew Zimmernan should be treated differently than regular citizens like me but no staff there recorgnized him?

                  1. re: fooder

                    it does not surprise me either but for the same reason it should not have surprised zimmern...

                    1. re: Yaxpac

                      i don't think he was expecting preferential treatment, i think he was expecting to be treated like he was eating in a restaurant, and not getting a handout from some benevolent despot.

                      1. re: debinqueens

                        I was referring to the time limit...not preferential treatment. He knew that there was a time limit going in and while I do not agree with the whole time limit rule, i do not understand why he was so surprised.

                  2. The tipping policy in the US is ridiculous. Basically, it absolves the restaurants from paying a living wage to their employees!

                    "Come work for us, but our customers will pay you, according to some arbitrary rules: double the tax, 18% post-tax, 20% pre-tax, 30% if they are getting laid that night"


                    1. There's no guarantee that elimination of gratuities for servers will lead to a "living wage".

                      For what it's worth, most servers make quite a nice living. Depending on the restaurant and the hours they work, they can easily take in somewhere between 50-70k/year (net of taxes). And this maybe higher in some places in NYC with lots of turnover and happy hour.

                      Will a place like Yasuda (as an example) pay their servers the equivalent of what their gratuities would've been? And if they do, how do they determine what the gratuities would've been?

                      And what of the diners? Aside from places like Per Se and Yasuda where one expects (generally) exemplary services, what of lower-end places where the servers may be doing double-duty as college students, part-time work, or (ahem) other "adult" work.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: ipsedixit


                        My partner works for a Michelin-starred restaurant here in Manhattan, so we're talking "career" servers, not just college kids. A lot of his income is from tips, which is dispersed on a point system among all staff... While I do hate the variability in his paychecks (some weeks are much better than others), I don't think that he'd make nearly as much if he were salaried. Additionally, he does have health care coverage.

                        I think what Yasuda is doing is great in theory, but I'd be curious to know what this living wage actually is.

                        1. re: loratliff

                          Thanks for chiming in.

                          As an aside, do you have any idea if your partner would provide better/worse/same service if there were no gratuities coming his way at the end of the meal?

                          1. re: ipsedixit

                            Assuming that he made the same amount of money, the service would likely be the same. If he made significantly less money, he'd probably find another job before taking it out on a customer, ha!

                            Honestly, on a tangentially related note, most of the servers I know don't really pay attention to their specific gratuities. Like I said, all of their tips are pooled and then redistributed, which is the norm at most of the city's restaurants. They don't even really look at the tip until they're punching it in to Micros or whatever, unless it's especially generous or stingy (like the family who let their small children run around the restaurant, ordered multiple bottles of champagne and then tipped $7, I think).

                            1. re: loratliff

                              Concur, but don't you think there's something subliminally at work as a server knowing that at the end of it all you *will* be getting something extra for your efforts?

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                Assuming the restaurant takes care of its worker, there's always raises and bonuses and etc. Depending on how the staff is comprised and motivated.

                                1. re: villainx

                                  There are raises and bonuses even with gratuities. The two are not mutually exclusive, and neither is necessarily a perfect substitute for the other.

                      2. It's ironic that Sushi Yasuda eliminated tipping since one of the worst service experiences I received at a restaurant was at theirs.

                        Now I get to pay increased menu prices and have a waiter simultaneously ignore and rush me out...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Pookipichu

                          Maybe that's exactly why they did it. Servers complaining that tips aren't enough to give them a decent wage.

                          The thing I like most about this is that they are upfront about it. There are many restaurants where the staff are paid wages but they don't tell anyone. The customers need to know so that they know where their tip money is going and not be "guilted" into leaving the "standard tip".

                          For example, many hotel restaurants pay decent hourly wages to staff as many hotel workers are unionized.