Kevin Reddy's "no tip" advice is raising a few eyebrows in the competitive world of sit-down dining. “Noodles & Company”– a fast-casual restaurant that specializes in international and American noodle dishes – has said “no” to the ubiquitous tip.
According to MSN Money on Wednesday, the restaurant’s no-tipping policy “plays into an emphasis on relative value at Noodles, which has about 380 locations in 29 states… The average meal sets diners back about $8 – a price tag that's higher than those of fast-food giants like McDonald's or Wendy's but lower than those of casual dining chains.”
Noodles CEO and Chairman Kevin Reddy said visitors to his restaurant don’t have to pay extra for something that should be a given in the food service industry.
“Respect doesn't cost you anything,” Reddy said. “Being nice doesn't cost you anything, and we don't really feel that folks should have to pay something additional for us to appreciate that they're choosing us over another restaurant.”
While not disclosing payroll numbers, Reddy said his servers are paid over the minimum wage amount. Most restaurant servers are paid the going minimum wage rate, or less, and rely on tips to make up the difference.
“We don't want our guests to feel we're trying to upsell them,” Reddy added. “We'd rather have them feel we'd rather upserve them than upsell them. That's why we're really cautious even about the price increases we pass on.”
Reddy compared his restaurant model with other popular chains, and says his way is working well.
"You can get in and out of our restaurants for 25 percent less than a Chili's or an Applebee's," Reddy told Market Watch. "Our prices are lower to begin with, and you don’t have to put a 15 percent to 20 percent tip on it."
The restarant CEO played it simple – he wants servers and employees who are nice, not those who have to be motivated by tip money just to be nice.
"Either you enjoy people, and you treat them right, or you don't," Reddy said. "You're either genuine, truthful and nice, or you're not. If you would throw somebody under the bus to get ahead, nobody wants to work with you. You’re not going to make it in our culture."
Still, many diners may feel strange not leaving a little something, especially when they feel that their server, and the service rendered, were exceptional.
If a restaurant told you they had a “no tipping” policy, would you still leave something for your server? Discuss it below.