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Japanese restaurants in New York introduce ban on tipping

By Fran Wrigley

“Please can I give you a tip? In America, we have this custom, you know. I have to tip the pizza guy. And you came all the way out here in this weather…”

The rain-drenched delivery man on the doorstep of the Japanese apartment looked mildly embarrassed as he waved away my friend’s money. It was a typhoon day – classes cancelled, school closed, and the English teachers from my school had piled into one apartment for a party. Not wanting to brave the lashing wind and rain to go out and get food, we had ordered pizza, but hadn’t counted on the guilt we would feel when the delivery guy turned up on a moped looking like he’d just jumped into a swimming pool fully clothed.

In Japan, there’s no custom of tipping. In fact, leaving a tip could potentially be considered rude, as the cost of the service is already supposed to be included in the price you pay. My American buddy’s attempt to follow his home custom in Japan ended in the delivery driver apologising profusely for not accepting the tip! In New York City, meanwhile, Japanese restaurants are bringing the no-tipping custom Stateside, as Restaurant Riki becomes the latest Manhattan establishment to ban their customers from tipping.

Riki Hashizume, owner of the Japanese-style pub that bears his name, says he compensates his employees adequately and has raised the prices on the menu by 15 percent to achieve the tips ban. Hashizume explains “I came from Japan, and I have some ideas and I have some points of view. Usually we don’t take tips in Japan.”

To this writer, a Brit who was once yelled at by a waiter in New York for apparently undertipping (I don’t remember the numbers involved, but here’s a suggestion: shouting at me doesn’t make me want to give you more money), I have to say this sounds like a genius idea. If you eradicate tips, staff’s wages are guaranteed and don’t vary from day to day. The customer doesn’t have to decide how much to tip, or worry about how your dining companions are judging you based on the amount you give – or whether the cash is actually going to the staff or not.

Restaurant Riki is not the first Japanese establishment in Manhattan to ban tips, although Hashizume said he’d been contemplating going tip-free at the restaurant for ten years before making the decision last month. At critically-acclaimed Sushi Yasuda, the bill comes with a note telling customers: “Following the custom in Japan, Sushi Yasuda’s service staff are fully compensated by their salary. Therefore gratuities are not accepted.”

At Sushi Yasuda, all staff are salaried, and weren’t directly receiving the tips anyway before the rule was brought in last year. For co-owner Scott Rosenberg, eliminating tipping is also a way to make the dining experience smoother for the customer.

“I’ve always dreamed…wouldn’t it be great not to have to worry about tipping? Look at your bill, make sure that it’s correct and sign the check if you’re good, and you won’t have to think and calculate and do a math equation at the table.”

By banning tips, therefore, the restaurant is aiming for a more cohesive experience from start to finish, unfettered by intrusive thoughts about money. If I were serving $200 sushi, I wouldn’t want my diners to be thinking about their wallet either.

No doubt some will see these restaurants as part of a wider anti-tipping movement, but it remains to be seen whether other American establishments will follow in their footsteps.

And what should you do in a non-tipping environment when (like my American friend when faced with the pizza delivery driver) you really want to recognise great service? If you do desperately want to give a tip in Japan, you might have more luck if you put money in an envelope, rather than handling the cash direct, or give a small gift instead of cash. Alternatively, you could consider not calling for delivery pizza in a typhoon. Poor guy.

Sources: New York Keizai, The Price Hike

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- 10 things Japan gets awesomely right -- New York As Seen By The Japanese In 8 Random Points -- Domino’s Pizza Japan Offers 25% Discount for Beards, Ugly Shirts, Parakeets and More

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I actually prefer the tipping system.

-59 ( +11 / -69 )

Tipping is demeaning. It tells the establishment the customer doesn't think the staff is paid well enough. It tells the staff to be happy with crumbs from the big man's table.

I am very glad there is no tipping in Japan. (Not in restaurants, at least). Good on Hashizume, I hope his influence spreads.

And yeah, the pizza delivery guy - if you feel bad at calling him out in a typhoon - don't call him out. How much would persuade you to go out in a typhoon? ¥1,000? ¥5,000? ¥10,000? More? What size tip are we talking about here?

45 ( +48 / -5 )

I come from a "tipping" country but I really feel relieved here in Japan that there is no tipping. I got so embarrassed and offended in US when I was shouted for undertipping. The percentage in my country is lower and the service was horrible which at least in my country gives me the right to lower the tip. Its so rude to be shouted by the waiter like you haven't paid.

35 ( +36 / -2 )

In the UK we seem to have adopted a tipping system. When I was younger, I use to argue with friends who worked in restaurants and complained about none tippers, because I also worked a minimum wage service job and couldn't afford to eat out with them half the time, let alone tip. Personally, now I'm a little older and better off, I do sometimes tip (back home) if I feel the service justifies it, but if never tip if it's expected, and if a restaurant adds 'gratuity' to the bill, I ask them to take it off.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

I don't mind tipping as long as its not forced, Sure im happy to say to keep the change, no problem at all sometimes. Didn't know btw that the only people able or allowed to receive a tip in Japan are taxidrivers.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

you might have more luck if you put money in an envelope, rather than handling the cash direct, or give a small gift instead of cash. Alternatively, you could consider not calling for delivery pizza in a typhoon.

Horribly stupid to do either of the two. First, accepting money (in any form) is not allow PERIOD. It can cost one the job, on the spot.

Second, calling for pizza and using the delivery guy's services ensures his job and demonstrates its usefulness to his/her bosses.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Tipping is demeaning. It tells the establishment the customer doesn't think the staff is paid well enough.

what a load of ****!! tipping tells the establishment which waiters are good or not, and it also rewards good service.

this will never spread in america because low-end restaurants would never raise prices to increase wages. their is enough cheap labor to go around.

-32 ( +8 / -40 )

I am also happy about the non-tipping in Japan. Back home tipping was optional and if at 10% adjusted for level of service. Tipping the hairdresser was common too, place money directly in coat pocket.

Trips to USA are a pain because if the tipping culture?

12 ( +14 / -2 )

has raised the prices on the menu by 15 percent to achieve the tips ban.

This is the key sentence right here. In effect, he is FORCING customers to tip by charging 15% more.

It's like a covert "gratuity has been added to your bill" while at the same time PRETENDING that he is somehow ABOVE tipping.

Deceptive, unethical, and very SHREWD marketing.

-22 ( +10 / -30 )

tipping tells the establishment which waiters are good or not, and it also rewards good service.

Or maybe which waiters look more desperate and in need of a tip, or who got the more generous customers, or the customers less willing to be yelled at?

10 ( +13 / -4 )

gaijininfo - then don't eat there, he isn't forcing the customer to do anything. At least their staff should be taken care of. The waiter's wages in the US are pretty atrocious.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

well if the USA had a minimum base wage by law then tipping wouldnt be needed. instead they allow businesses to pay slave wages and expect the staff to collect the crumbs at the end of the service. more like a third world country to me.

15 ( +19 / -4 )

"I'll give you a tip when you take it from my cold, dead hands."

10 ( +13 / -3 )

15% tip in the US is Low.... 20 to 25% says you liked the service and it is customary.....

-17 ( +3 / -20 )

In the US, there is actually no element of choice. Not leaving a tip at all is an extreme measure almost never resorted to. The occasional visitor is always left with the feeling of having paid too much or too little; unpleasant either way. It serves no useful purpose and is inefficient and awkward. One of the very best things about Japan is that the whole nonsensical system does not exist. Good on this man for spreading the word!

23 ( +25 / -1 )

I really hate tipping, I've never felt good giving anyone a tip as you never know if it's enough or too much and you spend too much time thinking about it at the end of an enjoyable meal or whatever. I'm sure it makes employees greedy and selfish as well, not to mention keeping labour as cheap as dirt.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

This is the key sentence right here. In effect, he is FORCING customers to tip by charging 15% more.

It's like a covert "gratuity has been added to your bill" while at the same time PRETENDING that he is somehow ABOVE tipping.

Deceptive, unethical, and very SHREWD marketing.

Um, no. He has simply brought salaries up to a livable level, unlike most restauranteurs who underpay their staff. This guy is simply paying the salaries directly to the staff, rather than dumping the responsibility onto the customer. If he was dumping a gratuity onto your bill as a percentage of the cost of the bill, that would be forced tipping. But he is changing the salary of the staff, which is not directly related to the number of customers and the total of the bill, as tipping is. Therefore it cannot be considered forced tipping.

The benefit of this system is that good service becomes expected, rather than bribed.

I hate the tipping system. It sucks absolute.

28 ( +27 / -0 )

Tipping has become a way of compensating for business owners not paying their staff adequately in the tipping countries of the world. It should be an insult to the business owner if customers feel their staff must be tipped. Tipping should also not be required motivation for someone to do their job well. IMO, nothing good comes from tipping. Some people like to strut like a peacock leaving large tips, those being tipped provide service based on increasing the size of the tip or on whether they think a customer will tip and owners do not pay adequately because they push the salary onto the customers through tipping. Where I live, servers in bars get paid a lower minimum wage than servers in non-licensed establishments, because the government believes those working in bars get bigger tips! Get rid of all tipping, do your job the best you can because you have pride in your work, pay people what they deserve and charge customers what it costs to do so.

19 ( +18 / -0 )

My college mates used to make a killing on tips on their part-time jobs at a bar restaurant. They were earning more in less hours than people on salaries! LOL

3 ( +6 / -3 )

I hate tipping. Pay your employees a decent wage and trust they will perform their jobs professionally.

It's just simple treatment of others with dignity.

16 ( +16 / -0 )

'well if the USA had a minimum base wage by law then tipping wouldnt be needed. instead they allow businesses to pay slave wages and expect the staff to collect the crumbs at the end of the service. more like a third world country to me.'

Pretty much says it all. Disgraceful rates like $2 an hour will continue for as long as they are allowed to get away with it. $16 for a day's work in a rich country? The original meaning of 'tip' was 'to insure promptness', not to insure that the staff can eat. Pay people a decent wage.

18 ( +18 / -0 )

I find "tip" cups in just about every Dunkin' Donut & have heard they are placed there by the managers themselves! That aside, N.Y.C. has a very high C.O.L. & I always tip the waiter./waitress unless it's been put on my bill already& think this Ban is Wrong Headed on every point!

-14 ( +1 / -15 )

Tipping is a crock. It lets businesses get away with paying people less than minimum wage, the IRS taxes American tip workers EVEN IF THEY DON'T ACTUALLY GET THEM, and it makes dining out (among other things) a hassle. Just pay people a fair wage and be done with it. In the words of Mr. Pink, tipping is "for the birds."

18 ( +18 / -0 )

John Ocupy the Moon Daly, just as a matter of interest, I wonder how the IRS calculates income tax on tips. Is there some theoretical level???

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Good! Get rid of this guilt-based tipping mentality! Instead pay the staff the wages that they deserve. Here in Japan I never need to give a tip, the staff smiles confidently at me, none of us have any thought of guilt. In the US instead you have this: uh oh, I have to give a tip! And: uh I, I have to expect a tip!-Mentality which is fundamentally wrong.

13 ( +15 / -2 )

I used to be a waiter, and the IRS assumed about 10% in those days. Maybe more now. Tipping is awful, if you ask me. In addition to customers who simply don't tip because they don't have to, it creates a good situation for workplace abuse.

Say a waiter has 4 tables in an expensive restaurant. He's a good waiter, but the manager doesn't like him. Or maybe the manager is shaving sex with another waiter and wants to give him/her preferential treatment. The favored waiter will find his tables filled with the best customers, the ones who order expensive wine and tip big. The other waiter will get the scraps. Maybe one table is the managers friends, who order almost nothing, get free drinks and monopolize the table (and the waiter's time ) all night. The other tables will be empty, or the less favored waiter will get the lost looking tourists on a tight budget who arrive with some coupon book looking to share a meal. The two waiters can work all night, but one will make several times what the other makes.

The other thing about tipping is that it encourages waiters to move customers out quickly or to get them to spend more. The owner likes this, but it creates an uncomfortable situation for customers who aren't as hungry, or who don't drink wine. I love that we can eat out in Japan, order something light, and the waiter doesn't sneer at us for using up his table.

And of course, the whole system is demeaning. People say that if they can't tip, then they can't be sure the waiter will provide good service. That implies that waiters are lazier and have less integrity than just about any other worker who works in a non-tipping job.

Now that tip jars are in every shop that sells food, it's gotten worse. Just pay employees a decent salary, like any other developed country!

20 ( +20 / -0 )

Tipping also has a unfelt diservice system against the customers in which the waiter serving is the only waiter you can trust when asking for additional.

With the no tipping system any and all waiters are essentially ready to provide service regardless whether it's their assigned table or not since they do not have to consider who gets the tip.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

I appreciate the Japanese custom of not requiring tipping, yet I do on occasion tip someone if they've gone out of their way. I do it subtly - お釣りをどうぞ - and have never been refused.

-6 ( +2 / -9 )

its not entirely correct to say that there is no tipping in japan. when you stay at a nice ryokan its not uncommon people to give something to the okami. with the domino's guy or taxi drivers if they provide better than average service i will tell them to keep the change and they often seem very happy when you do. some places add an additional service charge (which i hate cause its questionable whether this actually goes to the person performing the service or just lining the owner's pocket).

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Look at that receipt. EDAMAME $9 !!!!! Oh My Gosh !!! (Actually I was thinking of using a more colorful metaphor, but didn't want the censors to come after me.) Those better be the best damn Edamame in the history of mankind!

Tipping in Japan: I agree with fds about tipping at Ryokan and most of the time I'll tell a taxi driver to keep the change. Honestly though, I'll be damned if I'll tip the Pizza-La delivery guy after the outrageous prices they charge (even though the prices aren't his/her fault) !

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The waiter's wages in the US are pretty atrocious.

So don't work as a waiter, or get a more skilled job. Either you're paid what you're worth, or you aren't. If not, work elsewhere. If nowhere else is willing to pay you more, then you're paid what you're worth.

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

Some one has got to do it Nessie, no need to get snooty.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

You don't get a well paid job just because you're skilled. Some people need to work as waiters before they can advance.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I don't mind tipping but don't like the way it is seen in the US. Like many things in the States, the principle is not a bad one but it has been lost in a sea of self interest (employers underpay because staff make tips) and regulation (IRS 'assume " waiters make tips at 10 to 15 %........)..

4 ( +6 / -2 )

On the other hand, a waiter serving a busy table would be paid the same as when serving a regular table, with all the extra profits going to the establishment, with the waiter not getting any extra.

Anyways, even without tipping, the establishments would not pay them decent wage - they would be paid the minimum they can get away with, like McDonald's and others do, with no way to possibly earn more. Because for every open position, there's many applying candidates to replace them. The establishments know this and would simply keep the extra profits from charging customers extra.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Tipping should be an optional thing, if I think the waiter/waitress has gone above and beyond what I think they needed to I'd happily tip them but there's no way in hell I'd tip for atrocious service. I said that once when being yelled at for not paying a tip at a pretty expensive restaurant, it is clear by my clothing the waiter didn't think I'd have a lot of money and so was rude, even snubbing me at points, lazy, etc. I'm expected in America to pay a tip for that? Yell all you want, give bad service I'm not going to tip you no matter what Country I'm in.

That is how it is in the UK, we have a tipping culture but it is not an obligation to tip. You tip if you think the service worthy of one.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Either you're paid what you're worth, or you aren't.

Except waiters aren't even paid what they are worth. If they were, they wouldn't need to be tipped.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

i'm another one from a non-tipping country. For most of us it seems nonsensical to have a tipping system which is sort of compulsory...but isn't...but kind of is.

Japan, Australia and many countries seem to do fine without it.

And like most people have said, you can still tip if you want to.

$2 an hour? Sounds like something a Rush Limbaugh fiscal conservative would think is great, because it's freedom. But then it isn't, because everyone thinks they have to tip 15% or whatever society dictates anyone.

I'm actually conservative myself, but the hatred of a decent minimum wage and the fascination for the right to lethal firepower always amazes me about my American cousins....

9 ( +9 / -1 )

In Japan, the minimum wage is so low that you could use a tip...

-14 ( +0 / -14 )

15% tip in the US is Low.... 20 to 25% says you liked the service and it is customary.....

A ridiculously high number.

If I order a $60 bottle of wine instead of a $30 bottle and the waiter opens it well, is the act of pulling a cork out really worth $12? Had the waiter done anything different from pulling a cork from the $30 bottle.

In Japan you get good service and the price you pay for food reflects the actual cost of getting it to your table, rather than 85% of the cost.

A question to the pro-tippers: if it is so great, why not tip air steward(esse)s? They basically do the same job.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Perhaps nothing peskier than an aggressive server insisting on a bigger tip when you're about ready to leave. It kinda ruins whatever satisfying meal you just had. Embarrassing especially if you're on a date.

I'm for this no-tip policy. Hopefully even non-Japanese restaurants pick up on it. Less hassle.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Although as a taxi driver I once made over $200 in tips driving in Boston on New Years Eve, the warmest tip I ever got was after unloading and carrying a very old ladies groceries up a lot of stairs to her front door: she smiled, thanked me, and gave me a dime. I felt good and so did she.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I understand that the tipping system is absurd, but first of all, tipping is not required. If you get bad service, complain to the manager. But if you are in a country with tips, then if you get good service you should tip. If you don't like it get fast food or cook yourself. When on Rome.

This case, the owner is completely screwing over his staff. At a high end restaurant like this the staff probably make a killing on tips. Now, the greedy owner is pocketing that money while throwing out peanuts to his staff. New Yorkers going to places like this have the money and would never tip for less than excellent service.

-8 ( +0 / -8 )

If you don't like it get fast food or cook yourself.

Or, if the owners don't paying their staff, they should get out of the restaurant business. Six of one, half dozen of the other.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Ah_so Flight Attendants salaries starting can be like $28 an hr. After 5 years they double. And Yes, I know Flight Attendants who also wait tables at Fine Restaurants.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

"Forced" tipping as is practiced in most restaurants in the states is totally bizarre. I just don't get it..

If you "have" to pay just put it in the price and be done with it.. its basically the same at the end of the day and makes for much easier receipts and expenses reports..

Tipping should be for extra-ordinary service, pay then "keep the change" "great job" etc not working out a "known" percentage to support the staff whose wages are just ridiculously low with out it.


6 ( +6 / -0 )

"I actually prefer the tipping system." are you mad? I just took a 5 week trip back to the states. It was maddening haveing to top for this and that. Oh you want a beer? 7 dollars. Oh wait now I have to tip him because he HANDED me a beer. Even one of the hotels I was staying at. They sold beer at the front counter. They were out of the one I wanted, they said oh just walk over to the starbucks/cafe/bar, he will have it. Well he exepcted a tip! Wait. So if I the SAME beer 30 feet over here at the counter, no tip, but walk over here to the STARBUCKS I have to give him a tip... How can you prefer that system.

$300 sushi- wow

8 ( +8 / -0 )

"...and has raised the prices on the menu by 15 percent to achieve the tips ban."

Sorry, and this has probably been commented on, but by increasing prices to what the standard tipping price would include is not 'banning tipping', but instead making it mandatory. It is absolutely no different from restaurants that add a gratuity fee to the bill without the option of not paying for it if the service is sub-par.

I'm quite against tipping, in most cases, and agree with the idea in most countries, including Japan, that people are being paid for doing their job. That said, I understand the IDEA behind tipping -- unlike in Japan when you want something you shout out for the waiter, in North America it is considered an insult to shout out "Excuse me!" or what have you because the customer should always be taken care of without want. Hence, the pay of people on the floor was reduced to below minimum wage with tips being a way to prove their performance and supplement their income if they did well. However, it has changed with the type of 'banning' that Riki and other shops are talking about if they increase prices to cover the cost of the tip (ie. gratuity) by 'banning' it.

Japan, by the way, has many similar practices which foreign people know all too well about, the biggest being 'key-money'. It used to serve a purpose -- you paid a certain amount to the owner of the property and they took care of you. Now it's just a mandatory fee you pay to a rental shop on top of a few months rent and other fees. Ah! but, like with the 'banning' of tipping by the Japanese restaurants in NY, you now have "no key-money" rentals to appeal to students and business people.... except the price of insurance or Shikikin, or newly created fees, have been introduced to cover the key money. Same thing.

-10 ( +2 / -12 )

I partly take back my statement about the owner 'screwing over' the staff. I found a more detailed article about 'Sushi Yamada', and it seems that the employees are full-time staff that have always received salaries, and never received tips. This makes sense in a high-end restaurant. I will assume the staff are paid for the high level skills they must need.

But, I still wonder about the other restaurants. If they are adding 15%, then all the money should go back to the staff, because the culture in the U.S is that people decide how much they want to tip for the service they receive. I would NEVER enter a restaurant that had mandatory tipping (unless for a large party) and I would never pay a tip for bad service. Thing is, I have only received bad service a handful of times. Most restaurants know that bad service = customers not returning AND spreading this information by word of mouth and even easier nowadays, YELP, twitter, etc.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

By raising his prices, he locks in a set price increase and can eliminate the variability of having low tippers. I think in general, tips will fall below his 15% average tip threshold, so by locking in a set 15%, he's actually making a bit more.

Not everyone tips for great service, and vice versa - this provides a uniform experience for everyone, and bad workers are weeded out more efficiently while creating a standard of service (customer complaints are taken more seriously as well).

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I was a waiter for 10 years and come from a country where tipping is optional. If you had a great meal with good service, don't be afraid to tip a little! Any waiter will tell you that tips are basically their day-to-day survival money (because the base pay is terrible).

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Ah_so Flight Attendants salaries starting can be like $28 an hr. After 5 years they double. And Yes, I know Flight Attendants who also wait tables at Fine Restaurants.

Utrack - so why not pay table waiters a reaonable wage? Or pay filight attendants a pittance and give them tips?

It is basically a circular argument.

Why do we tip? Because they get low wages. Why do they get low wages? Because they make it up in tips.

The opposite is true of flight attendants.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Tipping is also a potential way for tax evasion for shop owners.

Think about it if price includes the payment for service then all payment will be required to be counted as revenue in which is liable for corporate tax.

This is all circumvented if tipping goes directly to the waiter and not going through the restaurant establishment.

In a way tax collectors would probably endorse the idea since then they will not have to make an educated guess on how much the middle man is making.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )


I despise tipping.

Especially those dumb tip jars found everywhere, what, ya gotta tip pick up too?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Actually, in the US, tipping is important to restaurant servers, bartenders, etc. Typically, their wages are below the minimum wage. Sometimes way below. So tipping servers and bartenders even the pizza delivery person is very important. These people work real hard and are not always compensated for it where they work. They rely on tips.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

For more than twenty years, I always tipped the ushers at the various sumo venues throughout Japan.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

How are you going to get workers to work for you? They don't pay enough to begin with. Especially for a part time workers, they depend on tips for extra income. Nobody wants to work in these Japanese restaurants that don't offer tips.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

I learned to tip creatively when I lived in Japan, such as hiding the tip under a napkin or placing it under the condiments or salt and pepper shakers. I do so because my Grandmother, after my Grandpa died, had to raise three children under the age of six (my Dad was four) for two years and her work was as a waitress. Tips and her wages enabled my Dad and two aunts to survive. For me, tipping is a way to remember my Grandmother and also to show my appreciation for the services rendered by the server and the restaurant.........even in Japan.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

sfjp330 - How do you know that they are not being paid a decent wage?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mr. Pink, he dont tip.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

"banning tips, therefore, the restaurant is aiming for a more cohesive experience from start to finish, unfettered by intrusive thoughts about money" author, Fran Wrigley.

When American friends fiddle with the check, worry about impressions of guests or staff and then criticize others who refuse to be held to the mutual hostage tip system the whole experience of any meal isn't worth the bother. Just because 'everyone does it' doesn't make it right or beneficial.

One associate had the gross impression that handing me the check and saying 'make sure you tip her well' was some educational moment. What it was instead was an ugly way of making the diner responsible for all the injustice of the service industry in America as if some 20% gratuity would keep the waitresses’ children clothed or her college tuition paid.

Here's the point; judging the diner isn't the restaurants' business and judging staff with financial reward shouldn't be the purview of the diner. Why not simply strike each other with sticks?

"If any form of service is menial, democracy is a failure. Those Americans who dislike self-respect in servants are undesirable citizens; they belong in an aristocracy." attributed, William Scott, (1916). Scott went further. "In the American democracy to be servile is incompatible with citizenship. Every tip given in the United States is a blow at our experiment in democracy."

While nearly universal, except for Restaurant Riki or Sushi Yasuda, tipping makes restaurant professionalism servile and diners PEZ dispensers. It also makes both complicit in a deception. If this imported false appreciation is the taste Americans wish to have left in their mouths what difference how fine a meal when financial "judgment" is the required dénouement? How universally unpleasant.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Personally I like the connivence of not tipping, but I like tipping's ability to reward a complete service. If the owner's of a restaurant want to bring their own custom to their place of business it's cool as long as it doesn't effect the product. As a customer I just request a little notation either before I enter or in the menu on tipping procedures. And since we're all discussing customs, I really like it Japan and Europe how the menu can be seen outside the entrance to most restaurants. I would love to see the US follow suit on occasion.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

In the U.S, it always feels like I HAVE TO pay tips to waiters/waitresses even if their services are not that great - and if/when I go to any popular restaurant, the waiter/waitress is always so busy we just wait at the table for a long time if we want to order something or need more water or anything.. but still need to pay tips. Having YOUR waiter/waitress for the table doesn't work that great, either. I like being able to say excuse me to any waiter/waitress in Japan instead of waiting for my own waiter/waitress.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Service is generally pretty crap in the US, and the gall of some of the service staff to DEMAND tips in the face of a bored, angry, and disinterested waitress/waiter/taxi driver is basically a slap in the face - or at least it feels that way to me.

Best places for service stateside is at the upscale places where a service charge is included in the bill. Go figure.

4 ( +4 / -1 )

Thanks to Riki Hashizume for making tipping free zone in NY.

Tipping is the corruption or robbery of waiters like politicians. If waiter is expecting more tips for favorable treatment for particular customer, it is like the ransom demand or black mailing driven by greed. If waiter is demanding more from customers, it is the robbery against the customers will.

Some former British colonies such as Australia, HK and Singapore has Independent commission against corruption for monitoring Bureaucrats and public servants indecent income from corruption. The same theory should apply to low paid staff for controlling their greed. Being the waiter means he or she can not expect the income of Neurosurgeon.

In US, tipping is the entitlement mentality for low paid workers like Mitt Rodney example of 43% who have never paid Tax and expect some welfare and concessions from authority. Putting the food on the table is not super human effort. It is morally and culturally corrupted custom.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

majority of the countries in this world don't tip like North American (not in Asia, most European countries don't tip too) it's demeaning and counterproductive, as consumers mostly in cash carrying society will worry abt it's wallet if they hv enough cash, I don't mind they add in 10-15% on top of each item. it's rather stupid only the American are so rude !!

1 ( +1 / -1 )

Actually, in the US, tipping is important to restaurant servers, bartenders, etc. Typically, their wages are below the minimum wage. Sometimes way below. So tipping servers and bartenders even the pizza delivery person is very important. These people work real hard and are not always compensated for it where they work. They rely on tips.

And then there is Canada where wait staff DO get the min wage but still expect tips like the do in the US. Why on earth should wait staff get a tip but retail staff don't? What about the paper boy? Or the teacher who deals with your kids daily? Bank tellers?

I have stopped tipping when I go home unless the service is fantastic. If I have to ask for water, no tip. It's that easy. It has caused a few issues with my family but lord, tip jars at Timmy's? That's just greed. 15% tip on top of the 15% tax for poor or average service? Nope. Not happening. I've never had wait staff complain but if they did you bet I'd be demanding to speak to the manager and complaining. Tip culture is out of control in Canada where folks DO get a min wage.

As for this guy adding in another 15% to prices, it is wrong. If he wants to ban tipping, fine but don't expect the customer to be happy to be forced into paying the extra 15% because he finds the practise crass. If it really bothered him, he's cut HIS profit and put the prices back to where they were. He's clearly done this for the media and promotion and not for the staff.

-2 ( +2 / -5 )

I received abuse once from a waitress in the US, tip was not enough for her, or she wanted a tip after every beer I bought, can't remember which. And I remember being on a shuttle bus from the airport, the driver had a bucket at the front with a sign reminding passengers that tipping was customary.... and for a 5 minute ride too!

The tipping system is wrong in my opinion, good luck to these restaurants for trying.

5 ( +5 / -1 )

Gobshite, did you complain to the manager? I think managers are more than happy to have staff push for tips as long as an angry customer doesn't complain. Let's be honest, if staff get upset at the lack or amount of tip, people wil talk about it and it will hurt their business.

And yes, someone needs to do the job and the like but I know folks who have left steady jobs to become bartenders at good bars and the like because they make a killing on tips. If someone at a two bit dinner is unhappy with their pay, they should be looking for work in a better place that will pay them more or where they'll get better tips. Don's dinner with 5.99 breakfast isn't exactly full of big spenders and big tippers for a reason.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )


-2 ( +1 / -3 )

As for this guy adding in another 15% to prices, it is wrong. If he wants to ban tipping, fine but don't expect the customer to be happy to be forced into paying the extra 15% because he finds the practise crass

Customers are not being force to dine at his restaurant. They are free to choose to go cheaper ones with tip demanding restaurants. Instead of being harassed, paying extra 15 % like Value added tax is more reasonable.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As for this guy adding in another 15% to prices, it is wrong.

It's a great idea, hopefully it shows he pays his staff an acceptable wage and that customers are not expected to pay their salary in addition to the cost of their meal. I traveled a lot in poor third world countries, and when I get GOOD service, I am more than happy to tip. Being obliged to tip staff, many of whom are very rude is a disgrace. Or are 'merkans proud of this system?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It isn't wrong. Ensuring his staff are paid enough to survive - what is wrong with that?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As for this guy adding in another 15% to prices, it is wrong. If he wants to ban tipping, fine but don't expect the customer to be happy to be forced into paying the extra 15% because he finds the practise crass.

It's his right to set the prices at whatever he wants. If he sets the prices too low, he will not be able to afford to pay his bills, and go out of business. If he sets the prices too high, customers will not come, he will not be able to pay his bills, and he will go out of business. So if customers come, and he is making enough to pay his bills, then it isn't wrong whatsoever, it's business. It comes with its own natural set of checks and balances.

3 ( +4 / -2 )

When I'm back in Canada, I find the service in restaurants to be generally quite good, partly because the waitstaff is relying on a tip at the end of the meal. Although I agree with all the posters who say we shouldn't be expected to tip in order to get good service and/or subsidize someone's wages, I do tip as it is the customary practice in Canada; however, I will not tip for bad service no matter the expectations of the waitstaff.

That being said, twenty years ago, a 10% tip was considered the norm no matter how exceptional the service, then it went up to 12, and shortly thereafter 15. Now (in Canada), 15% percent is considered the minimum tip for satisfactory service, while a tip between 17 and 20% should be included for above average to excellent service. If these constant increases continue, I can honestly see some point in time within the next ten years when the minimum expected tip will be up to 30%. Hopefully, we, as consumers, will have come to our senses by then.

Despite what many restaurant owners and workers would have you believe, here are a few "tips" about tipping ettiquette in Canada and the United States. You should only tip for table service, meaning a server comes to your table, takes your order, delivers your food, and checks back periodically to see if you require anything else. You do not need to tip if you place and pick up your order at a counter, so feel free to ignore those tip jars that have become so ubiquitous. In addition, you do not need to tip on top of a service charge or gratuity already included in the bill. Moreover, your tip should be calculated based on the pre-tax amount of the bill. If you order a bottle of wine with your meal, subtract the cost of the wine from the total before you calculate the tip since the mark up on a bottle is at the very minimum twice as much as its actual retail value. Most importantly, if you do not feel the service you are receiving is worthy of a tip, you are not obligated to leave one. However, it's advised that you report your displeasure with the service to the management, preferably when you first notice it so that there is a chance for it to be rectified (you may even get a free appetizer, dessert, or drink out of it).

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I think that tipping is about power. It is one of the strategies with which big-ego-white-men (mainly) maintain their sense of superiority over those around them, by telling them, in so many cents, that they are inferior, and having those around them agree, and like it.

-2 ( +1 / -2 )

Have you seen the price of what was ordered? $9 for edamame? How can they charge that sort of silly money? As fior the sushi... did they eat from every plate in the place? Blimey! After a meal there I'd have nothing left to tip the staff anyway!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Very good arguments from the non-tippers. But the pro-tippers' arguments are fallacies.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I much prefer tips to automatically included "service charges," mostly because I have been a waiter and a bartender, and I know that it's exceedingly rare for all that income to get to the staff as it is meant to. I prefer to hand over a gratuity to the person who has gone the extra mile.

Having said that, if restaurants are paying wages that are a bit above and beyond and ensuring great service, then no tips works just fine for me!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm a Japanese and I did quite the opposite. I was in France, had a dinner at the hotel restaurant. Food was very good so I gave nice tip to the waitress. After coming back to my room I thought I also wanted to give some tip to the chef who cooked the meal so I put the money in an envelope and brought it to the hotel restaurant but found the chef already left home. So I wrote a few lines of note in English saying "Thank you very much for the great dinner!" and asked a hotel worker nearby to translate that in French. Then I put the note in the envelope and asked the front desk to give it to the chef of that night. I felt very Very nice doing that...until when I noticed that I forgot to give the tip to the man who translated my memo in French! Tipping is very difficult for us Japanese, I rather want to become good at tipping.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I was just in HK and dined with a local acquaintance and my family at an Indian vegetarian restaurant. We were all disappointed with the food and I the waiter was worse than useless. I paid by credit card and did not notice the "Tip" line so automatically only paid the meal amount because my friend said that tipping is pretty optional there. (Some restaurants add 10% service, others none). The waiter leaned over me when he returned the card and asked if everyone enjoyed the food. I said, 'some of it was edible', which seemed to answer his unspoken question, I would not have tipped him even if I had seen the blank line.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Tipping becomes a vicious circle, I remember that once I ate in a buffet-type restaurant (all you can eat for XXX Money) and they had waiters to help you find a table and brought you drinks, would you tip him/her for the cost of the meal and the extra drinks? 10%, 15%, 20%?

I have a very particular set of values, I don't mind tipping if the service is extraordinary (I mean if it goes beyond taking your order, and bringing food to the table and serving drinks) it is the value added over the standard that deserves tipping, so why tipping should be mandatory? if this restaurant is willing to charge 15% extra of the value meal because their level of service is above average I'd happy pay (plus I don't like the idea of calculating....) Usually, i tend to use closed numbers when I WANT to tip, let's say, if a meal is $123 I'd pay 140 and the rest is the tip... sort of "keep the change" policy; if the service is bad (long time waiting, cold meals, being late in take orders) I don't tip.

It should be your freedom to do so, but sometimes it's mandatory regardless of the policy, what i mean when you have a bad experience and you got yelled at you don't want to come back, but if for some reason you go back there you'd feel compulsory to tip because you know that a waiter can hold a grudge and do something to your food...

In my country, they are going backwards with the tipping stuff, making the bills "suggest" a tip and now trying that to be 15%, luckily, the company that I work for when they pay the bill for a meal or a business meal they will not pay for tips, so all the businessmen that go there on the company money if they pay the tip, they do so with their own cash, and middle class people like me do not feel compelled to pay 15% of the meal consumed...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I love the tip-less system in Japan. The best system worldwide would include mandatory sliding scale tip/compensation and to train your servers properly but also manage/watch them to make sure the customer is treated like they are appreciated. Too many servers don't treat the customers well so they get low tips and it becomes a vicious cycle.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I hate tipping. The concept is so wrong on so many levels. Pay your staff properly and spare us this nuisance! I applaud this Japanese operator.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. TIP in the USA please. Just respect the custom of the place. Smile. It is what it is.

No one mentioned the professional Garcons in France. Mandatory 15% and many being rude. I found the Japanese and American waiters/waitresses to be joyful giving service with a smile. It cannot be tipping that does it. It must be age and love of people. Those old French Garcons...Unions have a tendency to block empathy to the served.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

This is the key sentence right here. In effect, he is FORCING customers to tip by charging 15% more.

It's like a covert "gratuity has been added to your bill" while at the same time PRETENDING that he is somehow ABOVE tipping.

Deceptive, unethical, and very SHREWD marketing.

No, what he has done is raise the prices of his food to cover the cost of paying his wait staff a fixed salary - eliminating the NEED for customers to "tip".

The federal government requires AT LEAST an hourly wage of $2.13 for employees who earn tips, but most states have a higher minimum and 7 states require the same wage for servers as any other hourly employee. As for New York State (where this restaurant is located), the minimum wage is $5.65, but:

Food service employees’ minimum wage is $5.00/hours. Service employees in resort hotels’ minimum wage is $4.90/hour if they receive at least $4.10 in tips per hour.


3 ( +3 / -0 )

I live near Las Vegas. We know we have to tip 10 to 20% because we know restaurants and first food joint workers only get paid minimum wage ($9 one hour). Many of them are Univ. students. Only minimum wage. Employers are jailed if they don't pay minimum wage. They don;t make much money like table game dealers who get bigger tips or entertainment area workers. It is different than NY but There are many Japanese restaurants here, too. Just tip 20 % if normal service. if we don't like, 10 %. Tips are custom over here. Waiters in casinos, you never can tell which one is waiting while pursuing PhD or LLD or future Congress woman in Las Vegas area.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

You have choice. If you don't like tipping in the U.S., you can always go to fast food or get a take out meal. Each day, 1 in 4 Americans visits a fast food restaurant without tipping.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I've never seen Sushi cost that much

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Restaurant owners are quite rich in Las Vegas area. Ingredients are imported from somewhere and shipped here. After closing hours, leftovers has to be thrown out. They charge by one piece or two pieces for different sushi, too. In Casino;s all you can eat buffets, sushis are served and you can ask caviar sushi then I often get $400 worth of caviar side dish in $10 etc buffets. No one want caviar, a server explained. More popular sushi is shark fin that I never order. When you get that much cavia beside caviar sushi picking, tips are not too much Total 12 $ or less. comparing expensive sushi restaurants here..

-1 ( +0 / -1 )


" A question to the pro-tippers: if it is so great, why not tip air steward(esse)s? They basically do the same job. "

Exactly! And why not tip the aircraft mechanics? I would sure like them to do a good job! No tips for them, apparently. How about the cleaning crews? I certainly appreciate clean seats. In a restaurant, why not tip the chef? I would certainly like the dishwasher to to a god job, so why not to into the kitchen and tip him?

What a crazy idea to give extra money only to the person who carries the food to your table, which is actually the least important part of the whole service chain. Tipping is just such a stupid concept on so many levels.

6 ( +5 / -0 )


Have you seen the price of what was ordered? $9 for edamame? How can they charge that sort of silly money?

I believe you are forgetting that this sushi place is in New York and if they were fresh edamame which I believe they are rare to come by then it would be no surprise if it costs that much. If it was the frozen stuff then I would agree.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think tipping is great and has class. It shows you are not stingy. And it also rewards people of good, or above average, skill or level. For bad or lousy service, just tie the average. But for good service and/or whatever else you liked, give from the heart. To say the most, it is pretty humanistic. After all, we aren't all robots with the same character or serving style, are we? Its amazing the number of 'foreigners' here who are against tipping. You really do belong in this country. Kinda scary. I

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

billyhelpher_33Mar. 28, 2014 - 01:44AM JST I think tipping is great and has class. It shows you are not stingy. And it also rewards people of good, or above average, skill or level. For bad or lousy service, just tie the average.

In countries that don’t have a service charge, servers get paid a decent wage they can live on. I just came across this and kept reading, wondering, am I the only one thinking this? Servers are being exploited by cheapskate bosses. This system is accepted lying down in the U.S. but is non-existant in Europe or Japan. In France, not only are servers’ wages decent but servers get 5 weeks paid vacation per year and other perks, just like anyone else working in a respectable job.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

For direct comparison I can use Hooters. The Hooters Girls in the U.S. will be paid an hourly wage based on the particular state laws with the expectation that they will make up any difference between their hourly wage and the federal minimum wage in tips received. Should they not make up that difference, then the employer is expected to provide additional pay to bring them up to the federal minimum wage. Such a girl would be considered a "slacker" for not hustling for tips and would not be employed for long. A Hooters Girl in Japan makes ¥1,000/hr (which I understand to be Japan's minimum hourly wage?) with no tips expected. Management in Japan doesn't have to do all the extra accounting to make sure they aren't slapped with a lawsuit over underpaying the wait staff.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

That is one of the best things about Japan ... no tipping and tax and tip included in the flat price.. Y1000 is Y1000 and service with a smile is included. The best service ever is in Japan. In America most of the time the server only smiles when they bring you the check.. I hate tipping mentality now 20% is not enough and you get smurk if you leave only 15%. In some Japanese restaurants.. in Hawaii.. they include a 20% and don't tell you so that stupid tourists leave an addition tip and the staff just looks the other way.. laughing behind back not cool.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I don't know what this author / the Japan residents up in here are saying ( or sippin' on) but I've always tipped here in Tokyo whenever I felt like it. Taxi drivers, restaurant waiters, spa staff, whoever. I don't tip most of the time, but on occasion, and I'm met with eager acceptance. My pizza delivery guys see my tip and get happier than dudes lining up for weed in Colorado. Been like this for 30+ years. I sometimes use that 50 year old Torasan expression 'Keep the change' (Otsuri iranaiyo), altered to sound more polite.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Tipping, or "hostage deception", did not exist when the diner could rely on top quality respect and appreciation of patronage.

TIPS means, 'pay me or you are a victim of my attitude'.

Completely an idea based on 'if you don't pay me you will be victim of my wrath'.

If a customer were faced with a financial threat, in any other venue, it would be a form of coercion.

This is so basic to the idea of FOOD service, "pay me or I will poison you", the diner should NEVER have to pay his server to NOT poison him, and TIP means 'To Injure Patron' if server is not pleased.

A more destructive practice is, 'come to our food service and pay to NOT have us spit in your food.'

Truly, TIP means 'my boss is a vengeful tyrant' and you are his minion. Thanks, but victim food was so last millennium. Gods bless the professionals, they know superior dining means love of experience, the joy of sharing food with our friends, staff and restaurateurs.

If food is only profit and shame, skip the BS, just put a sign on the door, "STAFF HERE WILL SPIT OR TIPS" Sorry for the bitter take but the TIP thing has become a BS way to dump on the customer who attends the restaurant. Love, Respect and Excellence, that eliminates TIPS.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

]They get pay checks in Our area (minimum $7,50) Regular. Overtime. etc and Hours. comuter with panrate. Amount are added. and deduction. There is no State Income Tax here. Tips are not added to base pay here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tipping - as de facto part of the bill like in North America - is just an accepted and established tax evasion system for the employees and for the employers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A Democrat would call the denial of a tip un-American.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The whole idea of tipping anyone for doing their job is abhorrent and seems to have become the norm in more and more areas of daily life, worldwide. Employers should pay their employees realistic wages so that customers don't have to take up the slack.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Ian Robertson:

Exactly! Message to the US where this is most rampant: Pay your employees properly, and spare us this organized form of begging.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Aw. So that's why it's not polite to tip in Japan. I don't intend to insult their customs, but I also feel very bad for delivery boys/girls having to go to such mess just to make it to customer homes and back. As long as their services are on my bill, I'll feel a little better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tipping is a great idea in theory that becomes a horrible idea in practice.

That said, plenty of people really are underpaid for their work and there are cases where an employee did earn something extra, and if as a customer I see that, I really want to give a tip. What I don't want is someone expecting a tip every time and despite their mediocre service. And I sure as hell don't want to see a tip included on my bill as a matter of course.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yeah, tipping sucks.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are Riki restaurants in San Francisco and San Diego. Beside that, there is Sushi Riki in Vegas. I went there to eat several rimes, my daughters said. Riki must be wealthy to establish in Vegas. Minimum wage waiters?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Actually there is tipping in Japan. Just has another name. It's called "Table Charge" here.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Table charge is peanuts compared to how much people expect to be tipped. So no, tipping in Japan is not called "Table Charge"

3 ( +5 / -2 )

In the US, tipping is not for "good service". It is paying their salary. That, in essence, is wrong. Tipping should be a reward for great service. A "tip of the hat" to them for a job well done, is it not?

Allowing companies to pay 2 dollars an hour is borderline criminal and should banned.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

To insure prompt service. That was what it meant. Slipped my mind. It does act as a kind of motivator. I say why not? If you got it, give it! I know from experience japanese customers are the stingiest and cheap as hell. All of the japanese I waited on at my job in the states, they gave just the minimum. And the customer service here sucks personally speaking. I cringe when the servers are hovering over my table as I am trying to talk with my company. People say service in Japan is good. I don't think so. They overdo things and its all mechanical. I feel no heart. And the way they give the change back to you at the conbini, drives me nuts.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

I've nary an unpleasant experience dining in Japan. The U.S however, all over the place from excellent to terrible. I will take mechanical over that so called "heart" any day. I also don't find the servers here hover, they will come when you beckon for them which is preferable to constantly asking "how is everything?" Once is okay, but at times, that also seems like they are just going through the motions - mechanical, if you will.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Wow, Billy, I wonder what kind of experience that was? My experience was that Japanese were good customers, especially large groups. True, they rarely went over the standard 15%, but a table of 12 Japanese would usually all order the same dish - making them very easy to wait on. A table of 12 Americans will make a point of each ordering something different, often with special custom requests - very time consuming.

So far as "heart," that's the kind of vague and meaningless criticism I often hear about Japan from foreigners. I hear that criticism leveled at Japanese musicians, too, when a performance was otherwise flawless. How can a customer know what's in a waitperson's heart? How ridiculous is that? Conversely, why not just assume that American waitstaff are all chatting you up simply because they want a bigger tip? Where's the heart in that?

And, the etymology of "tip" has nothing to do with "to insure prompt service." Never did.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

No tipping in Japan: Sounds like Izakaya style eateries. How about Ryori-ya where several Gieishas serve food? You can see wealthy politicians and business men putting money in futokoros of Geishas.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

. A table of 12 Americans will make a point of each ordering something different, often with special custom requests - very time consuming.

Here is the key. Yes, Americans can be fussy orderers, and we tip to thank servers for accepting our requests with a smile. In Japan, it can be frustrating, for example, there are few vegetarian items on the menu, so my friends often asked for something like 'a salad with no bacon' (not asking for anything in exchange, just omission of an ingredient) but this is often met with confusion, need to call a manager, lots of 'but it comes with bacon.' Food is often more pricey in Japan, so in the end the price is often comparable Japan no tip vs. U.S. with 15%.

I personally like being able to ask for a special request and not feel guilty for 'causing trouble'

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

That's the ideal concept, but my experience was that the more special requests a customer had, the less they were likely to tip. Just one of those things.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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