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No tipping was all the rage a couple years ago, but how sustainable is the trend?




Mauricio Garcia, manager of Scooby's Hot Dog restaurant stands next to an
Mauricio Garcia, manager of Scooby's Hot Dog restaurant stands next to an "tip" jar Wednesday July 17, 2013.
Nick Ut/AP

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Tipping hit its tipping point a few years back when some restaurants started implementing service fees and flat-rate menu prices in lieu of service gratuities.

The trend came after the head of NYC’s Union Square Hospitality Group and restaurateur, Danny Meyer, announced his “hospitality included” strategy. The policy eliminated tips and increased menu prices in an effort to ameliorate compensation imbalances between servers and kitchen workers, among other reasons Meyer cited.

Several Los Angeles restaurants quickly caught on and began adopting tip-alternatives such as all-inclusive pricing and service charges. Yet, the no-tipping model brought on challenges as restaurants saw their business decrease with inflated prices. In a study conducted by Cornell University professor Michael Lynn, researchers found that restaurants’ ratings dropped when they eliminated tipping and ratings fell even more dramatically when customers were met with a mandatory service fee.

Even so, the no-tipping ideal stands strong amid some restaurateurs, including owner of DTLA Barcito, Andrea Borgen, who’s written about her struggle maintaining the “hospitality included” model. We discuss the trials and tribulations of the no-tipping strategy. If you’re a restaurant owner, call in at 866-893-5722 and weigh in.  

Guests:

Elina Shatkin, food editor at LAist; she tweets @elinashatkin

Andrea Borgen, owner of Barcito, an all-day cafe and late-night bar in DTLA