A Pittsburgh eatery has done away with one of the most common practices in the restaurant industry. Bar Marco announced last week that it will eliminate tipping and instead pay its full-time employees a living wage.
Full-time servers at Bar Marco currently make $5 per hour in addition to tips, which is above the state-required minimum wage for servers. But starting in April, the restaurant will instead pay full-time employees an annual salary of $35,000 with health care and company shares.
The idea for this change came to Bar Marco owners about a year ago, when they were looking for a way to offer health care coverage to employees.
Co-owner Bobby Fry told  the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
“The light bulb went off. If we were going to offer health care, why not offer a complete employment contract and do away with gratuity all together?”
In addition to no more tipping and creating a more regular pay schedule, the restaurant also hopes that the change will help create a more positive work environment for employees. While tipping has been an accepted practice in the restaurant industry for years, having the guarantee of a regular paycheck could encourage employees to stick around longer. And since employee turnover is usually a big part of the food service business, the new format could make a big difference.
Both owners and employees seem confident that the change will work for this particular business. In fact, Bar Marco doesn’t even plan to raise menu prices to cover the change. Instead, it plans to change the reservation system for its Wine Room so it will be able to accommodate more customers.
Bar Marco isn’t the first restaurant to decide there will be no more tipping. In fact, several restaurants have made headlines in recent months for doing the same. However, each one has chosen its own model for doing so. And just because a tip-free system might work for some, doesn’t mean it will for every restaurant out there.
In some settings, customers might not mind slightly higher prices instead of paying a gratuity. But in others, customers might be more likely to go for lower prices and using tips as an incentive for great service. Bar Marco’s management has come up with a system it thinks will work for its customers.
What do you think about no more tipping at restaurants?