No-tipping policies at restaurants is a growing experiment across the country. Customers at Girard Brasserie in Philadelphia receive a note attached to their bills stating, “Tipping is not necessary.” Restaurant Riki, a Japanese style pub in New York City, has done away with tipping. Similarly, Manhattan restaurant Sushi Yasuda states on its menu that “serving staff are fully compensated by their salary… therefore gratuities are not accepted.” The no-tip movement has been embraced by high-end restaurants such a Per Se in New York, Chez Parisse in Berkley, California and Alinea, in Chicago. The future of tipping will be one of the topics of discussion at Have We Reached the Tipping Point for Tips?, a program sponsored by the New York City Hospitality Alliance on February 2, 2015.
Sushi Yasuda, widely recognized as one of the best Japanese restaurants in New York, has settled a lawsuit for $2.4 million dollars according to a proposed settlement agreement filed in New York federal court.
The restaurant’s front of the house staff alleged that Sushi Yasuda violated the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor Law by failing to pay employees for all the hours worked, unlawfully taking a “tip credit” and paying the employees less than the minimum wage, and failing to pay employees spread-of-hours pay when they worked more than ten hours in a day.
Sushi chefs, bussers and the waitstaff at the restaurant will receive a proportional share of the Settlement Fund based on the number of shifts they worked from December 3, 2006 to May 12, 2013. According to the attorneys for the workers, over 100 employees will be covered by the settlement.
The restaurant recently received wide press coverage for its elimination of tips when owners decided to give customers an authentic Japanese dining experience by following the Japanese custom of not tipping. The restaurant rolled out its policy on its bills and menus, which stated, “Following custom in Japan, Sushi Yasuda’s service staff are fully compensated by their salary. Therefore gratuities are not accepted. Thank you.”