It’s been two years since Danny Meyer announced he would eliminate tipping at all of his company’s restaurants. At the time, it was hailed as a move that could “save the hospitality industry,” and restaurateurs around the country followed suit. Though some other American operators had already moved to eliminate tips at their restaurants, Meyer’s company, Union Square Hospitality Group, was by far the most ambitious in its implementation of what it calls “Hospitality Included” pricing. It would — Meyer said at the time — reduce the pay discrepancy between workers in his kitchens and dining rooms, and allow paychecks to keep pace with the increased cost of living and rising minimum wage in New York. However, in a series of interviews with both current and former USHG employees, it’s clear that the rollout has been far rockier than anticipated, people have left the company in droves, staff morale has dropped considerably, and the company has been forced to slow down its rollout plan to deal with the fallout.
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