Big things are happening to the long-cemented restaurant paradigm. (If you’re not up to date on the tipping debacle, read my April 2016 piece, “Is Tipping Dead?”). When we last spoke to Park Kitchen’s Scott Dolich, one of the first restaurateurs in Portland to take a swing at the problem of wage inequality between cooks and servers (tipping=happy servers, unhappy cooks), he had this to say: “This is the tip of the iceberg. I can tell you for certain that restaurants are going to look totally different in five years.”
Forget five years: only a few months later, three major restaurants are joining the list of early adopters (Park Kitchen, Bent Brick, and Farm Spirit). The new wave of Portland restaurants includes Le Pigeon, Navarre, and Luce, which all plan to implement their gratuity-free models this summer. That means no tipping, no service charges, no nothing…except for inflated menu prices, which make up the difference.
All six of Portland’s no-tip trailblazers will display a new logo, developed by New York restaurateur Andrew Tarlow, who has been spreading the image (and gospel) from his Brooklyn-based restaurant group to Los Angeles, and now to Portland.
The change gives immediacy to some hot-button issues for the nation’s long-stagnant restaurant model: can kitchens afford to pay talented chefs what they deserve? Will servers still give the same attention to customers without monetary incentive? Are diners on-board with paying for $40 entrées in a city that prides itself on frugality? Let us know what you think in the comments below.