Danny Meyer's North End Grill, a French restaurant and Scotch bar located around the block from the headquarters of Goldman Sachs in Battery Park City, will switch to no tipping at the end of April, making it the third of his 13 New York establishments to do so. The rest are expected to follow suit by the end of 2016. There will be no service or admin-fee on the guest check; prices will instead rise to reflect the full cost of dining and to pay the staff a higher hourly wage.
Last November, The Modern, a tasting menu venue and small plates restaurant at the Museum of Modern Art, became Meyer's first project to implement the Hospitality Included program. Then in mid-February, Maialino, Nick Anderer's more casual Roman restaurant in Manhattan's Gramercy Park Hotel, was the second to make the big switch.
Menu prices have generally went up by about 22 to 30 percent to reflect these changes, but that really works out to smaller 8 to 10 percent increases considering that diners no longer need to leave a 20 percent gratuity. In the wake of Meyer's decision to go service-included at all of his restaurants last fall, a number of other high-profile establishments have announced similar plans, including Masa (the country's most expensive restaurant at $598 per person), Eleven Madison Park, Huertas, Gabe Stulman's Fedora, and all of Andrew Tarlow's hip Brooklyn restaurants.
Eliminating tipping is generally seen as a way for restaurateurs to mitigate rising labor costs – the minimum wage for tipped employees went up by $2.50 to $7.50 in the new year – and to help those operators pay cooks and other kitchen staffers a better wage. The idea is to chip away at the historic pay gap between front of the house employees, who often earn more because they can collect tips, and back of the house employees, who frequently earn less because they cannot collect tips.
"Hospitality Included is our opportunity to recognize and develop our team as the professionals they are. It allows for us to properly recognize and promote our people for their expertise and excellence," North End Grill managing partner Kevin Rich wrote in an email to guests. "And for the first time it allows our entire team — including our incredible culinary team — an opportunity to share in our success as a restaurant."