It seems many restaurants throughout the Seattle metroplex will be implementing an 18.5 percent service fee on all meals, in an attempt to recoup the costs of a higher minimum wage. In fact many, including the Whale Wins will be banning tips as well.
The owner of the Whale Wins, Jeremy Price stated his policy change is a direct reaction to the city’s implementation of the minimum wage increase associated with the Affordable Care Act. “All those things kind of started us thinking about all this.” He added that the change won’t happen for a month, but stated that most of his customers seemed to be okay with the additional fee.
The Whale Wins will be the first restaurant in the area to eliminate tips, in hopes of balancing out the pay scale between his servers and the back-of-the-house employees.
“It’s going to free up and help us to provide benefits to our employees, health insurance, as well as matching retirement accounts,” he said, and even though “banning tips” has left a few customers with the question; “What do you do with bad service?” Price believes it won’t be much of an issue stating; “We actually kind of believe that our staff is going to do a great job because they’re professionals, because they have pride in their work,”
The real question is how all of this will impact businesses in the “long haul” if they can’t get ahead of the curve in new ways of managing their bottom lines. It seems many are finding creative ways to get around the higher costs of employment, but the overall restaurant landscape could change drastically in this “foodie” town if they can’t.