Craft is the flagship restaurant of celebrity chef Tom Colicchio, who is now the most high-profile restaurateur in New York City to try out a no-tipping policy. Craft restaurant now serves lunch. The menu has items like heirloom tomato salad and roasted octopus, but it also has something more unusual -- a line that says: "Hospitality is free! Gratuity is optional."
Colicchio, known by many as a judge on the hit show "Top Chef," has eliminated tips during lunch in favor of charging more for food and paying servers a higher hourly wage. While he won't say what that wage is, he says it is substantially higher than the minimum wage many tipped restaurant workers earn; currently around $5 an hour, going up to $7.50 an hour next year.
Colicchio is not the first to do away with tipping. Other restaurants like Dirt Candy on the Lower East Side have been tip-free for a while. Built-in service charges are the norm in Europe.
Greg Morabito is the editor of Eater. He says this will be a big trend for the next year or two because when Colicchio does something this big it sends a ripple through the industry. But Morabito says some servers may worry the higher wage, no-tip policy could work against them because at some restaurants wait-staff can make a lot of money from tips.
But Colicchio says the higher set wage could be better for employees in the long run. Colicchio says if it works out at lunch he will consider rolling out no tipping to dinner.