The Wooden Boat Food Company is getting ready to set sail through the uncharted waters of the no tipping model.
“Essentially what's happening with the tipping culture we have in North America versus the rest of the world - it's really inequitable.," said Thompson Tran, chef and owner of the Wooden Boat Food Company. "That refers to the front of house which is the servers, the wait staff, the bartenders and the back of house."
The price on the menu is the total price -- tax included. What you see is what you pay, creating an equal split for all staff.
In his experience, Tran said what often happens is both sides of the restaurant put in the work, but the tipping process weighs heavier on the side of the servers.
“It’s really important for me to create a safety social net where chef and servers can feel like they have a consistent stable income,” said Tran.
Nick Benninger, Chef and Owner of the Fat Sparrow Group said he applauds Tran for taking this bold step, but said it's easier said than done depending on the size of your business.
“I really hope it starts to catch on with more and more establishments," he said. "As soon as we as a company feel like that change is happening, we'll be happy to jump on board. But in the meantime, it's a pretty risky move for full service establishments to be first out the gate."
It may mean menu sticker shock with slightly higher prices, but Tran and Benninger both said it averages out to what you would have paid with a tip.
Tran said he will continue to slowly roll out the no tipping model - with the goal of putting the true value of food and hospitality back on the table.