NEW YORK — Some restaurants encourage their patrons to tip servers 15, 18 or even 20 percent, but a sushi restaurant in New York City is encouraging its patrons to not tip at all.
Sushi Yasuda in Midtown Manhattan recently instituted a no-tipping policy. The restaurant eliminated the tip line on its credit card receipts, and if a tip is left on the table, the funds are returned to the patron, says Scott Rosenberg, one of Sushi Yasuda's owners.
In an attempt to provide an authentic Japanese dining experience, the owners decided to take a new approach and include a 15 percent service fee in the price of the food.
"The reason we did it that way was because in Japan, that’s how it’s done," Rosenberg told The New York Times. "We thought, 'How great would it be when you go to a restaurant not to have to think about the tip?'"
Instead of relying on tips, the staff at Sushi Yasuda is compensated with a salary, including paid vacation and sick days.
Rosenberg said customers have embraced the new policy, although some have a hard time wrapping their heads around the new concept. To reiterate the new policy, the restaurant has included the following at the bottom of its receipts and on the back of its menu: "Following the custom in Japan, Sushi Yasuda’s service staff are fully compensated by their salary. Therefore gratuities are not accepted. Thank you."
"They’d look up at dinner partner or partners and say, 'There’s no tipping,'" Rosenberg told ABC News. "(There's) a moment of (people saying), 'Wait a minute, what?' And then, 'OK, that sounds good.'"
Unlike Sushi Yasuda, not leaving a tip at other restaurants in the United States can cause controversy. In February of this year, a St. Louis pastor's receipt went viral when the waitress posted a copy of it on Reddit. After dining with her family at an Applebee's, Pastor Alois Bell scribbled out the automatic 18 percent gratuity and wrote, "I Give God 10% why do you get 18".