Did you ever wonder why more restaurants don’t pay higher wages to their employees and cut out tipping altogether? After all, doesn’t the whole idea of having a set menu price to go along with a hidden (and subjective) tip amount sound like kind of a big bait and switch?
Although the “no tipping” thing is a common practice in Europe, many (most?) American service industry employees rely almost exclusively on tips. But not all. And one Glendale restaurant is giving it a shot to make no-tipping the new always-tipping.
Just opened in December, 2013, Brand 158 lets you know as you soon sit down at your table that their employees do no accept tips, and it’s a direct result of being paid a higher wage than average. The no-tip strategy is part of restaurant owner Gabriel Frem’s approach to building a better work environment and a more efficient team.
Frem spoke to the L.A. Times regarding his policy:
“We think that if we stabilize the lives of our employees, they can then focus on the customer. If people came to work and didn’t know what they were going to make for the week, that tension would eventually translate to the customer.”
Of course, one thing you might be concerned about is, if I’m not paying a tip, are the prices out of this world? This has to cost more, right?
Although he discourages tipping, Frem has stated that the impact on pricing to the menu is not substantial. By paying his employees higher wages not contingent on tips, it allows him flexibility to have workers perform multiple duties during slow periods, whether it’s helping out handling social media posting or assisting with the catering operation. Basically, cutting costs in unexpected places.
“You don’t have to make a lot of adjustments to your menu,” Frem told the Times. “If you’re planning smartly, you’re letting people help you with certain things in the restaurant that would require a third party to come in and do.”
Judge for yourself.
158 S. Brand Blvd., Glendale, (818) 305-2861.
Currently averaging 4 stars over 130 reviews on Yelp. Menu items range from $8 to $30.
[Photo Credit: L.A. Times]