The Garnish: A Podcast for Restaurant People

Gratuity-Free Restaurants [S2E4]

May 21, 2019

Today we’ve got an episode about gratuity-free restaurants.

On two opposite corners of the US, two neighborhood restaurants are currently thriving on a gratuity-free, profit-sharing model. In this episode, we’ll hear all about what it’s like to work at Juliet, in Somerville, MA, and at barcito, in Los Angeles. We’ll dive into the challenges of implementing this model, as well as the joys of gratuity-free work, including stable income and benefits like health insurance, the motivation of profit-sharing, and a smaller front and back of house divide.

Our guests this week:

Andrea Borgen is the owner of barcito, a bar and restaurant in LA that has been gratuity-free for three years. She made waves when her restaurant made the switch, and then last year, she posted an article on Medium (linked below) about everything she’s learned, the challenges she faced, and why she’s not giving up.

Katie Rosengren is a general manager at Juliet, a gratuity-free restaurant in Somerville, MA, just outside of Boston. In her 13 years in the industry, she’s worked for tips and worked without them, and she is a passionate advocate for change in the restaurant world.

Lauren Leland is a bartender at barcito. She worked in bars and restaurants in New York City before moving to LA.

Sam Mangino has been a server at Juliet for two years. She started at Juliet when she was in college, and now works there full-time.

Amanda McNamara worked front of house in three different restaurants for five years, largely living off of tips, and is now a content marketing manager at Toast, where she writes and reads about the restaurant industry all day long.

Gabrielle Grant started in the restaurant industry as a clam-shucker, and in ten years,  she worked almost every job in the restaurant industry, front and back of house. She’s lived off of tips for much of her career, and is wary of the gratuity-free model.

Links, Studies, Further Reading



Danny Meyer On Eliminating Tipping: 'It Takes A Year To Get The Math Right'

Why I Haven’t Given Up on the “Hospitality Included” No-Tipping Model

Seven facts about tipped workers and the tipped minimum wage

Consumer Racial Discrimination in Tipping: A Replication and Extension

Black Restaurant Servers Get Smaller Tips

Should US Restaurants Abandon Tipping? A Review of the Issues and Evidence

Does Tipping Help to Attract and Retain Better Service Workers?

Is It Time to Rethink the Rules of Tipping?

How Hard Is Your Server Working To Earn Minimum Wage?

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