Last month, New York restaurateur Danny Meyer made a major announcement: each of the Union Square Hospitality Group's 13 restaurants will stop accepting tips by the end of 2016. The move will impact his many fine dining establishments (Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Untitled). Today the Modern, an elegant space inside the Museum of Modern Art, becomes the first of Meyer's restaurants to implement the policy.
This shift comes in the wake of a growing no tip trend — one that channels European methods of building gratuity into the cost of food and drink. So, what's the motive? Helping to equalize compensation across all of a restaurant's employees, not just the wait staff.
"There are countless laws and regulations that determine which positions in a restaurant may, and may not share in gratuities," Meyer said in an exclusive to Eater. "We believe hospitality is a team sport, and that it takes an entire team to provide you with the experiences you have come to expect from us. Unfortunately, many of our colleagues—our cooks, reservationists and dishwashers to name a few—aren’t able to share in our guests’ generosity, even though their contributions are just as vital to the outcome of your experience at one of our restaurants."
When walking into the Modern today, expect prices to be slightly higher. (Lobster sausage, for example, increased from $33 to $44.) The final tab, however, will stay roughly the same, given the disappearance of a tipping option from the bill.