Tags: nyc | restaurant | bans | tipping

NYC Restaurant Bans Tipping, Offers Waiters Higher Salaries

Tuesday, 18 Mar 2014 10:38 AM

By Michael Mullins

A NYC restaurant has banned tipping of its wait staff in accordance with its owner's Japanese customs.

Restaurant Riki, a Japanese-style pub located in Midtown Manhattan, implemented the ban on tipping in February, according to its owner Riki Hashizume, who says the practice is customary in his native Japan, the New York Observer reported.

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"I came from Japan, and I have some ideas and I have some points of view," Hashizume told the New York Observer. "Usually we don’t take tips in Japan."

In lieu of the tips, Hashizume says his wait staff is adequately compensated through increased menu prices that are reflected in their salaries.

Hashizume said he's been contemplating implementing the non-western practice at his restaurant for more than 10 years.

Restaurant Riki isn't the only New York City restaurant that has prohibited tipping.

In June 2013, another NYC-based Japanese restaurant, Sushi Yasuda, banned gratuities. Instead, the restaurant increased the prices of menu items by 15 percent that go toward waiters' salaries, owner Scott Rosenberg said in an interview with the blog The Price Hike.

"I’ve always dreamed, wouldn’t it be great not to have to worry about tipping? Look at your bill, make sure that it’s correct and sign the check if you’re good, and you won’t have think and calculate and do a math equation at the table," he said.

Fox News noted last year that the starting wage of a NYC waiter was $2.25 per hour, a far cry from $7.25 per hour salary of a minimum wage worker. Waiters make so little because they are mainly compensated by tips, a practice that some non-Western patrons are unfamiliar with.

In December, the New York state increased the minimum wage to $8 an hour.

Hashizume did not discuss the specifics as to how he compensates his wait staff during his interview with the New York Observer, though he did confirm that menu items have similarly been increased by 15 percent across the board.

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