A sushi restaurant in New York City has broken American dining tradition by banning tips from customers. Scott Rosenberg, co-founder of Sushi Yasuda, banned the custom and instead raised the salary for his staff. He did so because he believed it would provide a better dining experience for his customers.
"The diner doesn't [have to] think about how much to leave and make calculations [after] a contemplative and special meal," said Rosenberg. "We're really sort of just staying connected to that classical approach [of fine Japanese dining]."
At the bottom of the receipt for Sushi Yasuda, a note says: "Following the custom in Japan, Sushi Yasuda's service staff are fully compensated by their salary. Therefore gratuities are not accepted."
The move shows a high contrast against some NYC restaurants that forcefully charge an 18 percent gratuity or more for a party of 6. The addition of the forced set-amount gratuity on the bill has been known to leave an unlikely aftertaste some diners' mouths when they are obliged to give a certain amount of tip rather than having the option to do so, and give an amount they believe is appropriate for the services they received.
For those at Sushi Yasuda, to meet the demands of the gratuities lost and to facilitate the better salary for servers, the prices on the menu had to be altered very slightly, however, the pay-off to waiters and waitresses seems worth it. The staff there now have much better salaries, and the restaurant's employees will be able to take full sick leave and receive paid vacations like any other occupation.
An increasing number of restaurants in America are opting to forego tips and offer a better salary to their employees.
Andrew Moesel, spokesman for the New York State Restaurant Association, said the trend has been increasing: "Whether or not this is a culinary trend, this is something we're seeing more of."
The move has received widespread positive feedback from customers, with many supporting the notion that their overall dining experience had been enhanced.