Restaurant Starts No-Tipping Policy And Offers Employees A Living Wage Instead

Kasia Mikolajczak
Facebook | Zazie San Francisco

We all know that working in the service industry can be a thankless job, especially if you're a waiter or waitress. Many of these industry professionals are forced to depend on customer tips to earn a livable wage.

This, of course, creates with an added layer of stress. So, this one restaurant wanted to do right by their employees by doing things differently. This next story is going to warm your heart, believe me.

Check this out.

tip jar
Unsplash | Sam Dan Truong

The majority of restaurants in America don't incorporate the cost of labor into their expenses. Instead, they try to push that cost onto customers via tips. This leaves their hard-working employees dangling with no safety net. I don't know about you, but I don't think it's right.

Well, this one San Francisco restaurant doesn't think it's right either.

Restaurant patio at night
Facebook | Zazie San Francisco

The well-liked San Francisco brunch spot, Zazie, went completely tip-free back in 2015 when a new owner took over. The ambitious owner, Jennifer Piallat, had a plan to accomplish this no-tip policy. She increased the menu prices by 20% to cover the additional expenses.

And guess what?

lady saying "oh, nice."

She received no push-back from the restaurant's customers. In fact, quite the opposite happened. Anticipating a sticker shock, the patrons were surprised that the menu prices were still reasonable. Wow, that's amazing. Isn't it?

This was great news for the employees.

Facebook | Zazie San Francisco

Their gig came with new perks. All of Zazie's employees received a raise and were now earning anywhere from $15 to $20 per hour. This means that all servers got at least a 3% to 7% boost in wages. Bravo!

And get this.

Restaurant job ad
Facebook | Zazie San Francisco

The back of house staff got even a bigger raise — a whopping 35% increase. That's absolutely amazing. Kudos to this restaurant owner for making such great changes that benefit her employees. In addition, Zazie's staff also get full benefits.

But that's not all.

surprised man
Unsplash | Afif Kusuma

In addition to all that, 25% of every menu item is paid out directly to staff as revenue share. Seriously, I've never heard of that. How about you, huh? This restaurant is totally kicking butt, haha.

This is the reasoning for the change.

staff in front of restaurant
Facebook | Zazie San Francisco

Piallat explained that she treats her staff members like adults with real jobs, so the wages reflect that. Yes, their labor costs are higher than other restaurants, but their food cost/loss is much lower. Why? It's because they hire trained staff who know how to minimize food loss.

Here's the most important aspect of this system.

Woman excited and clapping
Giphy | Originals

This new model also allows Piallat to offer all full and part-time employees paid sick leave, vacation, fully funded health and dental insurance, paid maternity or paternity leave, and a 401(k) with a 4% employer match. I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty incredible.

So what do you think of this?

restaurant patrons
Unsplash | Alex Haney

Do you wish more restaurants would operate like Zazie? I think this establishment is such a great example to other employers out there. If you invest in your staff, it will pay off tenfold. I truly believe in that way of thinking, and you?