Today, The Modern in Midtown becomes the first of Danny Meyer's 13 New York restaurants to end tipping. The rest will follow suit by the end of next year. The so-called Hospitality Included program will involve raising both wages and prices, which prompts an obvious question: How much more will everything cost? Well, Eater has a copy of The Modern's new menus and the short answer is: it depends. Many guests will pay more, while others might spend less. Equally important: when compared with Jean-Georges, Le Bernardin, and other pricey peers, The Modern still ranks among the city's more accessible fancypants spots.
Not everything will go up or down by the same amount. The Modern's dining room will be visibly more expensive than it was under a traditional gratuity system. Three courses at dinner will cost $122. That works out to $24 more than the old price, but since guests no longer have to tip, the added cost is really only about $7 more. Four courses will run $152 (up 9 percent), and the tasting will cost $182 (up 11 percent). Lunch will be even spendier, with three courses at $112 (up 18 percent) and $120 (a 13 percent increase). These figures are reflective of the added sales tax that comes with all-inclusive pricing.
At The Modern's more laid back bar room, however, many prices won't go up by more than a few dollars. And some dishes like white truffle risotto will be cheaper. This makes sense; a la carte diners in the U.S. aren't as familiar with the higher prices of service-included policies as those who frequent tasting menu venues, where gratuity-free eating is more common. As such, keeping things somewhat reasonable is key to ensuring that guests don't experience too much sticker shock.
Here are The Modern's full menus and "five star" comment cards, followed by a few notes on pricing. Note that all of the percentage-based calculations in this column are made using what guests would've paid under the old system after tax and 20 percent gratuity, which we then compare that to what guests will pay now, after tax.
The Modern's Bar Room
- Nearly half of the 17 items that carried over from the old bar room menu will end up costing diners less.
- The white truffle risotto is now $40, a nominal $10 price drop, or a real $20 drop since you don't have to tip.
- The butter lettuce salad with avocado, parmesan, and kale represents the largest price hike, rising from $16 to $22, which means diners will end up paying 16 percent more.
- Pan-roasted salmon, with black trumpet mushrooms and horseradish, now at $38, constitutes the smallest of the menu price increases, up just 0.38 percent.
- Not a single portion size was reduced under Hospitality Included, according to USHG.
- Among the nine bar room items whose real price increased, the average hike was 6.32 percent.
The Modern's Dining Room and Its Midtown Competitors
- The tasting menu, at $182, costs the consumer about 11 percent more than it did under the old tipping model, when it was $138. But when you consider that The Modern raised its price by $10 before switching over to Hospitality Included, the guest is technically paying about 20 percent more than earlier this summer.
- The Modern's $182 tasting ranks among Midtown's most affordable tasting menus of eight or fewer courses. That's compared with Daniel ($234), Jean-Georges ($218), Le Bernardin ($170-$205), and Gabriel Kreuther ($195). Ai Fiori, however, is cheaper at $135.
- The four course set menu, at $152, ends up costing guests about 9 percent more than under the traditional tipping system, or 19 percent more than before the summer's $10 price hike. It's more than what you'd pay at Gabriel Kreuther ($115) or Ai Fiori ($97), but less than at Jean-Georges ($138), Le Bernardin ($140), or Daniel ($134).
- Both Daniel and Gabriel Kreuther have hiked their prices ahead of January's minimum wage increases. Daniel raised its set menu price by $7 to $142, and its tasting from by $9 to $234. Kreuther, in turn, hiked its four-course menu to $115, and its tasting menu by $10 to $195.