Last night, we at a restaurant in DC that has decided to be tip free — and it was a great experience food wise. If you have been following the news as of late, several prominent owners / chefs have been testing out a no-tipping policy at their restaurants. I like the concept in theory but there should be a tad bit more transparency, here’s why.

At this restaurant, they add an 18% service charge to each order regardless. But, since they have no menus and only write food items on several walls, either this policy is not expressly written out or otherwise hard to see. I had read about this restaurant previously so I was aware what I would be in for. When the check arrived, there was a line for Service Charge, but no explanation of the amount. And, after doing a little math, they added it on top of the tax — which is not a good practice in my mind. So, instead of the charge being 18%, it was closer to 20%. That’s fine if that’s how they are going to do business, but it’s not entirely transparent.

Thinking about this a bit more, I am not really sure this no tipping policy is all that consumer friendly. Normally, if we don’t like the service we have received, we can choose a sliding scale tip — or none at all. If restaurant owners are going to automatically add 18% or so to their bills, where’s the incentive to provide awesome service?

How many restaurants will adopt this policy?

Credit: WIkimedia

It will probably be some time before other restaurants adopt the no tipping policy. But here’s my take — it’s not for the benefit of the consumer at all so I am not going to champion this policy unless I see it saving me money. From the worker’s perspective, it’s probably more of a win since presumably these restaurants “pool” tips. We are just going to see how this plays out.

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