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Restaurants without tipping in the U.S.


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Does anyone know an example of a restaurant in the U.S. that does not allow tips? In Japan the price of service is included in the menu price. TIpping is seen as bribing for good service. When you are finished eating you stand up or ask for the check, walk to the register, and pay.

What do you think the reaction with this type of system in the U.S.?

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Tipping bribing in Japan?? :blink:

It's simply that the custom of tipping doesn't exist in Japan.

I agree. Tipping isn't considered bribing at all, at least not in the way most English speakers would define the word. In Japan I think the lack of tipping has more to do with having pride in one's work--you don't get tips for something you should be doing, anyway. It's definitely changing, but in general, Japanese do whatever work they're given to the best of their abilities, regardless of how much they're getting paid.

Such a system would not work in the US or Canada, because in my experience, most people at least in the customer service industry don't really care about the quality of work they produce unless they're making a lot of money for it.

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Does anyone know an example of a restaurant in the U.S. that does not allow tips? In Japan the price of service is included in the menu price. TIpping is seen as bribing for good service. When you are finished eating you stand up or ask for the check, walk to the register, and pay.

I feel like I've seen no tipping signs at either corporate fast food restaurants or coffee shops, although I can't remember specific examples.

Outside of the US, I was once perplexed by the no tipping policy at a sherry bar I favored in Madrid. If you gave a tip (and in Spain, tips are much smaller than in the US), they would return it and say "No Tips." No idea why they had that policy, since small tips are the norm in that culture. Perhaps something cultural I didn't understand.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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I feel like I've seen no tipping signs at either corporate fast food restaurants or coffee shops, although I can't remember specific examples.

McDonald's? I remember that being a big selling point in their commercials many years ago. An elderly couple left a 25 cent tip and a staff member returned it.

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Does anyone know an example of a restaurant in the U.S. that does not allow tips?

At Per Se, French Laundry, Charlie Trotter's and Chez Panisse service is included in the bill (as in the better restaurants in France). You're certainly not expected to tip, though it's not forbidden.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Actually, it's included at all restaurants in France, from the cheap bistros to the grand tables. So is tax. So basically, one knows the damage upfront and easily (food + wine, end of story), whereas when I go back to the U.S., I'm no longer used to the add-ons, and a meal that originally seems to look like it will cost one amount is nearly 30% more after tax and tip, which is disconcerting.

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Actually, it's included at all restaurants in France, from the cheap bistros to the grand tables. So is tax. So basically, one knows the damage upfront and easily (food + wine, end of story), whereas when I go back to the U.S., I'm no longer used to the add-ons, and a meal that originally seems to look like it will cost one amount is nearly 30% more after tax and tip, which is disconcerting.

Right, but there is a difference between including service and refusing to take a tip.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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Right, but there is a difference between including service and refusing to take a tip.

Very true. That's why references to places like Per Se are less relevant. That being said, I think the original post was misleading. Service i.e. an additional service charge is not included in prices in Japan. The cost of staff is part of the overhead, which of course is factored in when determining prices. No additional money goes to staff other than their basic hourly wage. At places like Per Se, and I understand it there is an understood percentage of the final cost of a meal that is earmarked as a service fee.

Like sharonb, I prefer it when the displayed price includes any and all charges. In Japan the VAT is reflected in the sticker prices of all goods, so you're never surprised at your final bill. There are a few exceptions (some high-end restaurants like RyuGin do add a service fee that is not reflected in the prices on the menu), but they are rare.

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Just as there's a difference between working for a forced (and guaranteed) tip and working to ensure (or, for that matter, insure) your tip. While one view might be that the level of service is more constant in places where tips are included, another view might be that you might experience more outstanding service where tips are variable.

Or, you might get to tip less if service sucks. There's a bright side to everything.

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Right, but there is a difference between including service and refusing to take a tip.

Very true. That's why references to places like Per Se are less relevant. That being said, I think the original post was misleading. Service i.e. an additional service charge is not included in prices in Japan. The cost of staff is part of the overhead, which of course is factored in when determining prices. No additional money goes to staff other than their basic hourly wage. At places like Per Se, and I understand it there is an understood percentage of the final cost of a meal that is earmarked as a service fee.

Like sharonb, I prefer it when the displayed price includes any and all charges. In Japan the VAT is reflected in the sticker prices of all goods, so you're never surprised at your final bill. There are a few exceptions (some high-end restaurants like RyuGin do add a service fee that is not reflected in the prices on the menu), but they are rare.

I don't feel that it's really the case that you don't know what you're going to spend. When you live in a place that doesn't include tax and tip, you mentally adjust for it. Maybe slightly more difficult, but it's justified by the fact that if your service is poor, you get the chance to make the ending more happy for you, i.e. cheaper meal!

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Does anyone know an example of a restaurant in the U.S. that does not allow tips?

At Per Se, French Laundry, Charlie Trotter's and Chez Panisse service is included in the bill (as in the better restaurants in France). You're certainly not expected to tip, though it's not forbidden.

How exactly is it included? Is there a part on the receipt that says "service: $19.94". Is this advertised on the menu, how are customers informed of this system?

In France does the price on the menu include service and tax at all restaurants?

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Right, but there is a difference between including service and refusing to take a tip.

Like sharonb, I prefer it when the displayed price includes any and all charges. In Japan the VAT is reflected in the sticker prices of all goods, so you're never surprised at your final bill. There are a few exceptions (some high-end restaurants like RyuGin do add a service fee that is not reflected in the prices on the menu), but they are rare.

I don't feel that it's really the case that you don't know what you're going to spend. When you live in a place that doesn't include tax and tip, you mentally adjust for it. Maybe slightly more difficult, but it's justified by the fact that if your service is poor, you get the chance to make the ending more happy for you, i.e. cheaper meal!

I never said you don't have an idea of what you're going to spend in places where tax and tip are not included in prices, what I said was that I prefer to know exactly how much I'm going to spend. When all the costs are spelled out, and in cultures where there is no tipping, I dont have to worry about how much I'm going to tip at all, so it's a very happy ending for me.

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How exactly is it included? Is there a part on the receipt that says "service: $19.94". Is this advertised on the menu, how are customers informed of this system?

In France does the price on the menu include service and tax at all restaurants?

At Per Se the menu states "Service included" below the price (at least on the online menu).

You might want to look at various menus online, or restaurant websites, which may tell you the information you're looking for. That way you can see a variety of methods used.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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Right, but there is a difference between including service and refusing to take a tip.

Like sharonb, I prefer it when the displayed price includes any and all charges. In Japan the VAT is reflected in the sticker prices of all goods, so you're never surprised at your final bill. There are a few exceptions (some high-end restaurants like RyuGin do add a service fee that is not reflected in the prices on the menu), but they are rare.

I don't feel that it's really the case that you don't know what you're going to spend. When you live in a place that doesn't include tax and tip, you mentally adjust for it. Maybe slightly more difficult, but it's justified by the fact that if your service is poor, you get the chance to make the ending more happy for you, i.e. cheaper meal!

I never said you don't have an idea of what you're going to spend in places where tax and tip are not included in prices, what I said was that I prefer to know exactly how much I'm going to spend. When all the costs are spelled out, and in cultures where there is no tipping, I dont have to worry about how much I'm going to tip at all, so it's a very happy ending for me.

It's all a very happy ending until you get a server who shows up to take your order and give you your bill, lets your water get empty, and spills your food on you. Then you tip them as much as the waiter that handles your every need with skill. I'm just saying I wouldn't be happy with that outcome.

ETA: Let's leave it at that, though. I'm happy with our system, and you're happy with yours. Different strokes.

Edited by MikeHartnett (log)
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It's all a very happy ending until you get a server who shows up to take your order and give you your bill, lets your water get empty, and spills your food on you.  Then you tip them as much as the waiter that handles your every need with skill.  I'm just saying I wouldn't be happy with that outcome.

That would never happen in Japan. As I said above, people in Japan actually take pride in their work, regardless of what they do. That's the biggest difference between the cullture of work in North American and Japan. This is changing, of course, and it's moving more to a North American work ethic, but hopefully a full switch won't happen for a very long time.

ETA: And the above is why the Japanese system of no-tipping would never work in the US.

Edited by prasantrin (log)
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When discussing these sorts of generalizable cultural trends, I think it's useful to keep an eye on the outliers, even if considering supposedly homogeneous societies. I've had bad service in Tokyo and fantastic service in LA, and many permutations in between.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Does anyone know an example of a restaurant in the U.S. that does not allow tips?

Golf & country clubs often do not accept tips, even in their restaurants. Although I'm not sure if this actually qualifies for what we customarily refer to as "restaurants" (being typically members-only). Are service staff at clubs that don't allow tipping paid higher wages than restaurants that have tips? How do servers make up the difference?

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It's all a very happy ending until you get a server who shows up to take your order and give you your bill, lets your water get empty, and spills your food on you.  Then you tip them as much as the waiter that handles your every need with skill.  I'm just saying I wouldn't be happy with that outcome.

That would never happen in Japan. As I said above, people in Japan actually take pride in their work, regardless of what they do. That's the biggest difference between the cullture of work in North American and Japan. This is changing, of course, and it's moving more to a North American work ethic, but hopefully a full switch won't happen for a very long time.

ETA: And the above is why the Japanese system of no-tipping would never work in the US.

So what you're saying is that bad service just doesn't happen in Japan? Ever? Every single worker in Japan works just as well as every other worker in Japan? Every waiter in Japan is perfectly happy and full of pride to be a waiter?

Personally, I find this hard to believe. Also, I find the way you've characterized the work ethic in North America appalling. I will not believe for a single second that bad service doesn't happen in Japan the same way it does here.

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If you get bad service complain to the management rather then stiff the server Thats the management's job and their restaurants reputation

In the US its hard to withhold a tip, so the system doesn't work. Few customers want a shouting match with the server when they don't tip for bad service.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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On the contrary, the system works just fine for me, jackal. If someone doesn't do their job, they don't get the extra cash. I've never had any problem with it.

Furthermore, you're essentially saying that the way the system works now is very similar to systems elsewhere of included service. If customers are afraid to tip less, a standard tip is being given. So if you support standardized tips, what's wrong with the system the way it is now?

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Does anyone know an example of a restaurant in the U.S. that does not allow tips?

Absolutely: there are hundreds if not thousands of them, especially if you widen the net to include chains like McDonalds. In addition, many family-run places pool tips and don't pay them out to servers, paying instead a flat hourly wage. I used to work at one place like that, in fact.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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So what you're saying is that bad service just doesn't happen in Japan?  Ever?  Every single worker in Japan works just as well as every other worker in Japan?  Every waiter in Japan is perfectly happy and full of pride to be a waiter?

I never said that, either. But we're talking generalizations, and generally speaking, the level of service that you described would not happen. Does it happen? It may, but it would be rare and it certainly wouldn't be because the waiter is disgruntled over not receiving a tip, or over the possibility of not receiving a tip.

(FWIW, because I look relatively young for my age and tend to dress casually, waitstaff assume I'm not going to tip well, and their service reflects this. But I always tip 15-20% in North American regardless of the service, but when it's very bad, I bring it up with management.)

Personally, I find this hard to believe.  Also, I find the way you've characterized the work ethic in North America appalling.  I will not believe for a single second that bad service doesn't happen in Japan the same way it does here.

I find the work ethic in North America, in general, to be appalling. There are people who care about the work they do, and who work hard, of course. But at least in the service industry, they would be the outliers that chrisamirault mentions.

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There are a lot of service type jobs where tipping is prohibited, though aside from fast food I've never seen a restaurant ban it.

That said, I much prefer our system. Good service gets a good tip, poor service a bad one. I hate when I see on a menu that service will be included.

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