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Chef Tom Colicchio won’t have tipping during lunch service at Craft, his flagship restaurant in New York City.
He told Eater that he’ll raise wages for service staff and hike food prices to cover the cost. If all goes well he’ll also eliminate tipping at dinner by the end of the year.
"It’s time for a change. It’s time to pay the servers a salary," he said.
Colicchio has been one of several prominent chefs pushing for American restaurants to adopt the "service included" policy that’s popular in Europe. In February, he told Crains, "I suspect that 10 years from now, no one will know what a tip is."
This move is significant because many of the New York restaurants that have eliminated tipping are fine dining establishments with tasting menus. Craft is a la carte. Colicchio told Eater that it’s a win for service workers:
"Waiters don’t want to work lunch shifts because they don’t make as much money. So in a way, we’re saying you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to make tip-wise and you’ll be fine. So I think this will be positive for the service staff."
On Twitter, Colicchio called it an "optional" tipping policy, but there won’t be a tip line on credit card receipts and the menu has a note that says "our menu prices are inclusive of service."
The state raised the minimum wage for tipped workers earlier this year, and governor Andrew Cuomo recently backed a statewide minimum wage of $15. Faced with those increased labor costs, restaurants are beginning to challenge the age-old American tipping model.
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