Roman’s Runs Into Trouble Going Gratuity-Free

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After Danny Meyer, Andrew Tarlow is arguably the biggest name behind the no-tipping groundswell, and one of the first to vow that all his establishments would eventually go gratuity-free. But unlike Meyer, who recently announced that the change had gone unexpectedly well and generated more business than ever at his two Michelin starred The Modern, Tarlow is running into a little more trouble.

At Roman’s, the Fort Green Trattoria where Tarlow eliminated tipping in mid January, the change has reportedly been contentious. Although wages for both front of house and back of house employees have risen to $15 to $17 an hour, that wage still represents a significant decrease from what a server would earn on a typical Friday or Saturday night. As Roman’s bartender Anna Dunn puts it, “Some people want to pursue their art for 40 hours a week and then work 28 hours a week in a restaurant to pay the bills. Those people are really vital to a room. What are they going to do to make the most amount of money in the least amount of hours?”

Friction was likely aggravated by the way the change was announced; servers found out they would be losing tip income on December 15th – the same day the public was told. At least 2 veteran servers quit shortly after. Still, these hiccups are along the lines of what Tarlow – as well as Meyer – expected, and ultimately they still believe that the friction will be worth the change.

To read more, click here.

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