Americans Aren't Sure About the No-Tip Trend

The movement to ditch tipping and bake the cost of service right into the price of menu items is gaining momentum. But not everyone loves the idea.

The movement to ditch tipping and bake the cost of service right into the price of menu items, in order to pay servers and other restaurant staffers a reliably higher wage, is gaining momentum. This fall, when influential restaurateur Danny Meyer declared an end to tipping, at least in his renowned eateries, things seemed to have reached a tipping point. But the push for tip-free dining may be moving a little too fast for the average consumer.

Eighty-one percent of adults who eat in restaurants say they’re not ready for gratuities to be factored into menu items, preferring that the decision to tip, and how much, be left to their own discretion, a new study conducted by Horizon Media has found.

However, Millennials seem to be more open to the tip-free concept than older diners. Nearly one-third of those surveyed who were between the ages of 18 and 34 said they believed the practice of tipping was outmoded and unfair — although they are particularly skeptical that things will change in a hurry. Seventy percent of Millennials believe tipping will still be standard practice in five years, whereas 57 percent of those over 35 believe so.

Horizon Media VP Kirk Olson attributes the disparity between younger and older diners’ sentiments about tipping, as well as their expectations, to “real economic and life stage realities.”

“Many Millennials still face underemployment, and Gen Z-ers who’ve begun working are often working service jobs dependent on tips,” Olson told The Daily Meal. “They’re also more global and connected. They know ‘service included’ is the way it’s done elsewhere and think it would be better for the U.S., even if they’re not convinced it will become a reality any time soon.”

So much for youthful optimism.

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