Tip no more: NYC restaurant group to change tipping policy, raise prices to offset

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The rules of dining out are changing in New York City as a large restaurant group is switching to a tip-free dining experience.

Danny Meyer, owner of Union Square Hospitality Group, which has a dozen restaurants across Manhattan, plans to roll out the change starting in November.

In a letter to friends Wednesday, Meyer said the change is help provide more meaningful career opportunities and advancement for the company's 1,800 employees.

Meyer said regulations currently only allow certain positions within a restaurant to receive gratuities, which played a role in the decision.

"We believe hospitality is a team sport, and that it takes an entire team to provide you with the experiences you have come to expect from us. Unfortunately, many of our colleagues - our cooks, reservationists, and dishwashers to name a few - aren't able to share in our guests' generosity, even though their contributions are just as vital to the outcome of your experience at one of our restaurants," Meyer wrote.

But this change doesn't mean you're going to pay less for your meal. In return for the zero-tip policy, the restaurants will have an across-the-board increase in prices. Meyer said the overall price diners pay for a meal won't change much. There will no longer be a tip line on checks.

The change will first take effect at USHG's restaurant "The Modern" on West 53rd Street in Manhattan in late November, with a roll out to other New York restaurants over the next year.

"We are making a bold decision for our team and our guests, and we don't take this lightly," said Meyer.

Here is a list of the USHG restaurants in NYC:

- Union Square Caf (East 16th Street)
- Gramercy Tavern (East 20th Street)
- Blue Smoke (East 27th Street)
- Jazz Standard (East 27th Street)
- The Modern (West 53rd Street)
- Caf 2 & Terrace 5 (West 53rd Street)
- Maialino (Lexington Avenue)
- North End Grill (North End Avenue)
- Marta (East 29th Street)
- Porchlight (Eleventh Avenue)
- Untitled (Gansevoort Street)
- Studio Caf (Gansevoort Street)

What do you think of this new approach to paying for your dining experience? Chime in via the comments below.
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