Tipping allows diners to pay less than the true cost of service and products. We'd love to see this go away.
Editor’s Note: In September we announced that Skift was expanding into food and drink with the addition of the Chefs+Tech weekly newsletter.
We see this as a natural expansion of the Skift umbrella, bringing the big picture view on the future of dining out, being fanatically focused on the guest experience, and at the intersection of marketing and tech.
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The No-Tipping Movement and How It Shakes the Bank
It’s no secret that the restaurant industry is in for a big ride in 2017, with 2016 seeing a bit of a financial downturn for an industry in which the margins are already exceptionally tight. Led by Union Square Hospitality Group, the no-tipping movement is an attempt to level off the inequities of restaurant workers against those in other industries, by finagling the rest of the restaurant’s financials to enable it to provide its servers and other staff with the pay they more than deserve. But can restaurants of all ilks swing the shift? Julia Moskin carefully examines the upheaval of no-tipping in her Times piece. We’ll be closely how the transition goes, extra octopus tentacle aside. Yes, there will be a test. Yes, you must read the piece to get the seafood reference.
Toast Takes A Look at Top Restaurant Trends This Year
Count on the good ol’ POS company Toast to turn to their mountains of data come year-in-review time and turn it into something more digestible. In their second annual report, they culled trends from over 1,000 diners that may be of greatest interest to restaurant owners themselves (yes, it’s free — go ahead and download) but we enjoyed the rubricked version brought to us by Modern Restaurant Management. These guys ID’d 3 major technological use cases that diners would like to see served by restaurants in the year ahead: 1) a server call button (because waiting for your poor, overextended waiter to return to grab the end of your prime rib is no longer tenable), 2) restaurant feedback technology (OpenTable reviews are essentially this — and millions of people use them, so hmmm…) and 3) better bill-splitting technology. A good reminder that there is data everywhere you swipe for dinner. Not creepy at all.
Eater & Saveur Shine A Light on Food Writing in 2016
It warms our technologically savvy hearts to know that the art of food writing is alive and well, with both Eater and Saveur gathering their favorites from all that ran this year. We love, in particular, that most of the stories are from non-overtly food publications — everywhere from Wired to Tampa Bay Times are featured. So pull up those tabs, print them out, and dig into this expert travel reading on whatever Amtrak, airline, or, if you’re lucky, armchair you find yourself at home in this holiday. Read ‘em and weep. Literally.
Get a Big Mac Via Uber & Just Eat Acquires Skip the Dishes — OY
I wish I could say that it wouldn’t be remiss to not cover delivery for a week, but it would, so here’s a little round-up of the happenings worth noting, despite the fact that I have little to no interest in the thought of ordering a soggy hamburger from a, perhaps, self-driving Prius, or whatever, does not bring a smile to my face. In what’s up in startup land, Just Eat just acquired Skip the Dishes, a Canadian delivery service that focuses on lower density, non-metropolitan areas — the bread & butter of their market — for a cool $110 million. Talk about bringing home the Canadian bacon. But with scale a major consideration and the ever-popular question of whether or not the future of the industry rests on robots, VC’s are cooling their heels. Here’s what Fortune thinks is the reason. Not so fast, Rosie.
Digestifs & Egg Nog:
- Collect ‘em all, says Pete Wells, and no we don’t mean Pokémon.
- THANK YOU, Andrew Knowlton, for this thoroughly enlightened list of trends we all wish would die a sudden, painful, smoothie bowl bound death.
- As mentioned above, on the horizon in 2017 — file under “Things We Are Monitoring in the Restaurant Business.”
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Photo credit: Prominent U.S. restaurants changed their tipping policies in 2016. What does this mean for the industry as a whole in 2017? Lars Plougman / Flickr