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Danny Meyer’s “No Tipping” Policy is a Lesson for Any Business

Restaurant Customer Experience You’re out to dinner and your server is great. So you give a generous 20% tip. How would you feel if the server refused your tip? In other words, your server delivered an amazing customer experience, but did so because it’s part of their job, not because Recommending Your Competition Equals Good […]

No Tipping Restaurant Customer Experience

You’re out to dinner and your server is great. So you give a generous 20% tip. How would you feel if the server refused your tip? In other words, your server delivered an amazing customer experience, but did so because it’s part of their job, not because Recommending Your Competition Equals Good Customer Service over the next year. In a public letter he wrote, “We believe hospitality is a team sport, and that it takes an entire team to provide you with the experiences you have come to expect from us. Unfortunately, many of our colleagues — our cooks, reservationists, and dishwashers to name a few — aren’t able to share in our guests’ generosity, even though their contributions are just as vital to the outcome of your experience at one of our restaurants.”

If you have an exceptional experience at a restaurant, you tip the server well and look forward to a repeat experience. If you have an exceptional service experience in a clothing store, you come back, and maybe you seek out the same salesperson. If you are a manufacturer and have a good product that you deliver with exceptional service, you gain loyal customers and build market share in your industry. The customer may not leave a tip for the salesperson at a clothing store or the manufacturer, but the result is similar to that of the restaurant; repeat business and ultimately customer loyalty.

In addition, Danny Meyer’s philosophy recognizes all the people behind the scenes; those washing dishes and cooking, who add to the customer experience. If a cook doesn’t make a dish appealing to the guest, regardless of service, the guest will probably not come back. If a dishwasher doesn’t get the dishes fully clean, and a guest ends up with a dirty dish, the guest is unlikely to return, because even the best service won’t make up for the tainted reputation of being dirty, or potentially unhealthy.

Something I’ve stressed for years is that when it comes to great service or hospitality, everyone is involved. Not just the front line. Every department and everyone in every department has some impact on the customer. USHG’s new “no tipping” policy is an acknowledgment of this very point.

Danny understands the full picture of what goes into a guest’s experience, his solution is to ensure that the servers, along with all of the other employees, are compensated fairly and properly. Raising wages for these employees will result in more pride in their work, which means they are more engaged, will work harder, and, ultimately, do what’s right for the customer.

Some of you are probably thinking, how will this impact the menu prices at Danny’s restaurants? Simple. They will go up. But without having to tip, the guest will be spending about the same amount they would normally spend.

I think that the guests will enjoy Danny’s decision as well. No pressure to tip. Just come in and enjoy the experience. Isn’t that what any business wants, for their customer to enjoy the experience? And guess what happens next? They come back!

Shep Hyken is a customer service expert, keynote speaker and New York Times bestselling business author. For information contact (314)692-2200 or www.hyken.com. For information on The Customer Focus™ customer service training programs go to www.thecustomerfocus.com. Follow on Twitter: @Hyken

(Copyright © MMXV, Shep Hyken)

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