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To tip or not to tip? Not at Jimmy's

Jun 9, 2016

Servers at Jimmy's Bodega will no longer be getting tips.
Credit Patrick Fort / Aspen Public Radio

One of the biggest trends in the restaurant industry right now isn’t some new flavor or technique. It’s the practice of tipping —  or for that matter — taking away the tip.

Jimmy Yeager, the owner of Jimmy’s and Jimmy’s Bodega, is changing the way his business works.

 

“What we’re planning on doing is moving towards the more European model where the service is included into your check,” said Yeager

 

That means taking away the tip. After crunching the numbers over the last few months, he decided that the best way to make his restaurant better was to take out tipping. The goal is to have restaurants that are then more efficient as a whole because servers are focused on the restaurant’s well-being as a whole, instead of how much of a tip a table might provide.

The system Yeager worked out goes something like this. First, there will be a little price increase to the food in general — around two or three percent. Then, when you get your check, there will be a 20 percent service fee.

 

All of the money from that service fee from all of the checks get dumped into a big pile of money. At the end of a pay period, it gets divided up between the waitstaff. The kitchen staff sees a bit of it too.

 

Anna Walters is a server at Jimmy’s Bodega just a few blocks away. She says that when Yeager announced what he wanted to do, there was a bit of fear about what might happen. At the same time though, she feels like the system will end up working out because of the research that went into it all.

 

“He would not put us in a situation that we would sacrifice, or be put in a position of losing money,” she said.  


The move to a non-tipping system is becoming pretty common across the country. Restaurants in major cities like New York and San Francisco are already adopting the model. And in other places like Seattle, the minimum wage is going up to $15 per hour.

 

Yeager said it was a combination of all these factors that helped him make this decision. He added that the new system could be in place as early as mid-summer.