Service-included is a conversation I previously addressed in a post highlighting Camino in Oakland. A sudden surge in relevance came last week, with Danny Meyer's announcement that his Union Square Hospitality Group will systematically eliminate tipping across his restaurant empire. Meyer's former partner Tom Colicchio initiated a similar move at his flagship restaurant in September. While increasing numbers of restaurants experiment with a variety of service compensation policies, these bold steps by some of the bigger names in fine dining set the stage for widespread adoption of included hospitality. This leads to important questions for consumers:
- How much will service-included restaurants raise prices, and will it be greater than typical gratuity?
- Will the price increases result in better-trained and longer-tenured wait staffs, that know me and how deliver truly satisfying service?
- Will included service prove to be worth it, consistently outstanding, and always exceeding my expectations?
- How will non-adopting restaurants adjust, depleted of the best available servers, and what will it mean for diners?
What will you think if your favorite restaurant goes no-tipping, and increases prices twenty-percent? Just how good will service need to become for service-included to succeed?