Bay Area Restaurants Adopt Tipless Business Model

When San Francisco restaurant Sous Beurre Kitchen opened for the first time on February 6, customers were encouraged to skip the tip.

"Going tipless for Sous Beurre Kitchen was an easy decision for me as a chef and a new restaurant owner," chef Michael Mauschbaugh said. "Absorbing the actual cost of labor into my menu price allows SBK to pay higher hourly wages to our staff, as opposed to outsourcing the cost of labor to my guests through tipping. As a business owner the well-being of my staff is just as important as the quality of the product we sell."

Sous Beurre Kitchen is the latest Bay Area restaurant to forgo the concept of gratuities. According to SFGate, five established Bay Area restaurants eliminated tips practically in unison in November 2014: San Francisco's Bar Agricole and Trou Normand, Oakland's Duende and Camino, and Berkeley's Comal.

"This move wasn’t to stay ahead of the oncoming minimum wage increase," Mauschbaugh said, "but a way to restructure the giant wage gap between the employees of a restaurant so that every employee would be making an actual living wage in San Francisco. It is my responsibility to have a restaurant that is truly sustainable from the food to the business model."

And more tipless restaurants are on the way. Acclaimed San Francisco chef Daniel Patterson told SFGate's food blog Inside Scoop SF he would not have tipping or service charges at his forthcoming high-profile restaurant Aster.

“It's really simple. I saw this coming a while ago," Patterson said. "People hate service charges. They hate service charges with a vengeance you think would be reserved for mass murderers and people who steal babies or something."

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