US restaurateur Danny Meyer is bringing back tipping as restaurants in his Union Square Hospitality Group in New York begin to partially re-open.
Meyer, who originally caused a stir by eliminaing tipping back in 2015 has cited the uncertainty generated by the coronavirus pandemic as a driving factor in the u turn in his decision to discontinue "hospitality included" as he calls it.
In a long letter published on his Linkedin account he writes, "It’s against that precarious and unpredictable backdrop that we are concluding the chapter on Hospitality Included, and reopening with tips, all the while advocating for policy changes that will introduce much-needed equity into the compensation system."
He expands further on the problem of distributing tips fairly amongst all staff, which is what originally motivated his decision to withdraw them five years ago,"We’ve come to believe that it’s the inability to share tips that is the problem, not the tips themselves.Our ultimate goal is for your tips to be shared among our entire team, so both kitchen and dining room teams can benefit when a guest has a great experience."
Before concluding that while tips can only go to the dining room team "our restaurants will be providing a share of revenue for everyone in the kitchen—from receiver to pot washer to lead cook— and will be increasing total compensation by an average of 25% across our full-service restaurants."
It seems the 'new normal' is encouraging new ways of working in hospitality, with no one defined route. We've already seen some London restaurants scrap the optional service charge, while other restaurants are doing away with tipping, and now others, bringing it back.