Event planners can expect to see changes in contracts for private dining and restaurant buyouts.
The biggest menu changes at select New York restaurants don’t have to do with some trendy ingredient or extravagant dessert creation. Instead, it’s the prices that are changing as restaurants enact no-tipping policies.
So what does the no-tipping movement mean for the event industry? To start with, contracts will look different. Traditionally, pricing for events has included a food cost per person, plus tax, plus gratuity or a service fee. New contracts will drop the gratuity line and fold the increase into food and beverage costs.
Union Square Hospitality Group, whose announcement late last year that it would eliminate tipping pushed the movement forward in New York, already has started revising private dining contracts at the Modern, said Sabato Sagaria, chief restaurant officer at Union Square Hospitality Group. In November, the Modern became the first of the restaurant group’s restaurants to eliminate tipping. Sagaria discussed how Danny Meyer’s restaurant group prepared for and implemented the change at a recent standing-room-only town hall meeting for the restaurant industry organized by Journee, which offers continuing education for hospitality professionals.
Another panelist, Gabe Stulman, founder of Happy Cooking Hospitality, eliminated tipping at the West Village restaurant Fedora as of January 4. While the transition in the main dining room has been nerve-wracking, he expects it to be smoother for private events because the streamlined contracts will be easy to understand. “I actually have found that for private events, it’s the easiest thing for any