Joe’s Crab Shack, a restaurant that knows its customer base so well that their preferred serving size is “a bucket,” has eliminated tipping at their locations in select cities, with plans to spread the policy across the entire franchise. As reported by Eater:
Ray Blanchette, CEO of Joe’s parent company Ignite Restaurant Group, recently told investors the move should reduce staff turnover, improve service quality, and actually lower prices for customers who are typically more generous with their tipping.
Servers at Joe’s Crab Shack will now be paid a starting wage of $14 an hour, and this additional expense will be covered by increasing the price of food in the restaurant by 12 to 15 percent — which does indeed indicate a net decrease in price for anyone leaving more than a 15 percent tip.
While it remains unclear if this new policy will actually “improve service quality” (there’s nowhere to go but up), Joe’s Crab Shack is just another (albeit larger and grosser) sign of a movement to eliminate tipping across the country. Celebrity chef (and full-time Lex Luthor impersonator) Tom Colicchio has eliminated tipping during lunch at Craft, and his former business partner Danny Meyer has similarly banned gratuity across his empire of New York restaurants, including The Gramercy Tavern. So, for the first (and likely last) time ever, Joe’s Crab Shack is just like Craft and The Gramercy Tavern.
While customers want to continue tipping, and servers are definitely going to hate losing out on that sweet unreported income, it appears the move to eliminate gratuity from restaurants is (if not inevitable) certainly on the rise. But in the meantime, customers at Joe’s Crab Shack will feel a little less anxiety about fractions and percentages when they get their bill at the end of the night. And then considerably more anxiety when they realize they just ate an entire bucket of shrimp.