In October 2015, Danny Meyer who operates Union Square Hospitality Group started instituting a no-tipping policy at his 13 restaurants. Recently, he admitted that approximately 35 percent of his front-of-the-house staff left over his decision. Meanwhile, Meyer says that most of the back-of-the-house staff are making up to 20 percent more. He says that the front-end replacement staff are glad of the no-tipping policy because they think giving great service is part of their job. Danny was recently given the 2018 Workplace Legacy Award for his commitment to his employees.
In accepting the reward, Meyer had many interesting things to say about the food industry. He applauds the industry where almost anyone with a great work ethic and a desire to succeed can get a job. Meyer said he eliminated tipping because he found that the practice was extremely unfair because front-of-the-house workers often made up to 300 percent more than those behind the scenes.
Meyer says that he believes deeply in servant leadership. He compares retaining good employees to using the best ingredients to make a dish. Furthermore, he says that those employees should be equipped to go where they are told to go because they are all part of one big team.
Finally, Meyer says that the hospitality industry is poised to become one of the most important in the world for discussions that make a difference. He says that it is easier to have tough discussions about things like sexual harassment and discrimination when food is present because most people will not yell with a great plate of food in their hand.
While many will disagree with Meyer’s viewpoint, there is no doubt that he has built a successful empire based on his beliefs.