Joe's Crab Shack is the first major chain to test a ban on tipping. So far, so good.

If you ask Raymond Blanchette, there's something fishy about the modern-day restaurant dining experience.

To Blanchette, the CEO of Ignite Restaurant Group, which owns Joe's Crab Shack, it has nothing to do with the food on your plate.


Photo via iStock.

It's this whole idea of tipping. It's just "antiquated," according to him. And that's why his crab shacks might be kicking tipping to the curb for good.

Joe's Crab Shack is testing a new no-tipping policy in many of its restaurants — the first time a major chain has done so.

Blanchette, who announced the news during an earnings call last week, said the testing has been underway throughout the past few months at 18 Joe's locations.

Photo via iStock.

At those locations, instead of having to rely on the generosity of customers, wages for servers, hosts, and bartenders will be upped to about $14 an hour (an improvement over the previous system in which servers were paid roughly $2 an hour, plus tips), with performance playing a factor in the exact rate, according to Restaurant Business.

Although tracking national data on tipping is a tough task, evidence suggests that $14 an hour is substantially higher than what many servers rake in when they rely on the kindness of strangers for their income.

It's a "forward-thinking" policy that won't just benefit workers, according to Blanchette — it'll boost business, too.

"It's expected to result in an improved team atmosphere, a significant reduction in [employee] turnover, and greater financial security for the employees," Blanchette said, as CNBC reported.

Essentially, a win-win.

In order to accommodate the wage increase, the restaurant is increasing menu prices ever so slightly — about 12% to 15%. But don't fret, frugal diners! Those increases are still less than 20% (the standard expected tipping percentage for fair-minded tippers), so many customers will actually end up paying less for their overall dining experience under the new model.

Some people have voiced concerns over this new tip-free system on the basis that it will hurt good customer service.

But there's good reason to believe that's simply not the case.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Newsmakers/Getty Images.

"Quality of service has a laughably small impact on tip size," as Brian Palmer wrote for Slate back in 2013. He noted a study that found a diner's evaluation of the quality of their service only accounted for somewhere between 1% and 5% of the variation in tip amount.

Factors that do have a sizable impact on tip size? If customers use a credit card or if they pay with cash (credit card users dish out more dough to their servers). If customers are part of a larger dining party or a smaller one (bigger tables have a tendency to leave disproportionately smaller tips).

Even a server simply mentioning their name to diners has a bigger impact on tip size than the overall quality of service, Palmer wrote. So the argument that we should keep tipping around for the sake of good service doesn't realllly hold up when you think about it.

So far, it seems like the no-tipping model at Joe's is working out great.

"Though we're still in the test phase, we are already receiving very positive feedback from our guests, both anecdotally and in our service scores," Blanchette said, as WPXI reported. "Our staff has also embraced the change, which is important as we seek to implement the new policy across the system over time."

Now I can dunk my crab legs in butter knowing my patronage is going toward fair wages. That's certainly all the more reason for me to "Eat at Joe's."

Courtesy of Back on My Feet
True

Having graduated in the top 10% of Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) cadets nationwide in 2012, Pat Robinson was ready to take on a career in the Air Force full speed ahead.

Despite her stellar performance in the classroom and training grounds, Robinson feared other habits she'd picked up at Ohio University had sent her down the wrong tracks.

First stationed near Panama City, Florida, Robinson became reliant on alcohol while serving as an air battle manager student. After barnstorming through Atlanta's nightclubs on New Year's Eve, Robinson failed a drug test and lied to her commanding officer about the results.

Eleven months later, she was dismissed. Feeling ashamed and directionless, Robinson briefly returned home to Cleveland before venturing west to look for work in San Francisco.

After a brief stint working at a paint store, Robinson found herself without a source of income and was relegated to living in her car. Robinson's garbage can soon became littered with parking tickets and her car was towed. Golden Gate Park's cool grass soon replaced her bed.

"My substance abuse spiraled very quickly," Robinson said. "You name it, I probably used it. Very quickly I contracted HIV and Hepatitis C. I was arrested again and again and was finally charged and sentenced to substance abuse treatment."

Keep Reading Show less
via Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr

The tiniest state with the longest name may soon just be the tiniest state after November 3. Rhode Island is voting on whether to change its official name from "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" to "The State of Rhode Island."

Lawmakers in the state would like to shorten the name because the term "plantations" has a historical connection to slavery in the United States.

This isn't the first time the state has attempted to remove "plantations" from its name. Rhode Island attempted the change ten years ago and 78% of voters opposed the idea.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Claudia Romo Edelman
True

When the novel coronavirus hit the United States, life as we knew it quickly changed. As many people holed up in their homes, some essential workers had to make the impossible choice of going to work or quitting their jobs— a choice they continue to make each day.

Because over 80 percent of working Hispanic adults provide essential services for the U.S. economy, the Hispanic community is disproportionately affected. Hispanic families are also much more likely to live in multigenerational households, carrying the extra risk of infecting the most vulnerable. In fact, Hispanics are 20 times more likely than other patients to test positive for COVID-19.

Claudia Romo Edelman saw a community in desperate need of guidance and support. And she created Hispanic Star, a non-profit designed to help Hispanic people in the U.S. pull together as a proud, unified group and overcome barriers — the most pressing of which is the effects of the pandemic.

Because the Hispanic community is so diverse, unification is, and was, an enormous challenge.

Photo credit: Hispanic Star

Keep Reading Show less

Electing Donald Trump to be president of the United States set an incredibly ugly example for the nation's youth.

We know how it's affected the national discourse of regular adults. But there's no denying the conduct of a president impacts how children around the world see the example being set for them. Every day for the past four years, children have been subjected to the behavior of a divisive figure that many of their parents chose to exalt to the most powerful office in the world.

Sure, adults can make excuses for him saying he's an "imperfect messenger" or that they "didn't vote for him to be reverend," but these are all just ways to rationalize voting for a man with zero character. What a message to send to children: Act awful and you'll be handsomely rewarded.

But what if you took away the "Trump" name and examined the character traits of him as an ordinary person? More specifically, what if your daughter came to you and said this was the kind of person she was planning to date? Well, one MAGA family found out and the results are funny, insightful and quite revealing about how we somehow hold our leaders to different and lower standards than we expect from ourselves in our day to day lives.

Keep Reading Show less
File:Delta Airlines - Boeing 767-300 - N185DN (Quintin Soloviev ...

Want to land yourself on a no-fly list? Refuse to wear a mask on an airplane. Delta is actually having to ban people from flights for not wearing masks. "As of this week, we've added 460 people to our no-fly list for refusing to comply with our mask requirement," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a message to employees per CNN. The number is up from 270 people in August. It's kinda nuts that people are so against covering their nose and mouth that they're actually willing to get kicked off an airline, but here we are.

We're a good seven months in to the pandemic, so having to wear some kind of protective covering isn't new anymore. Delta flights have been requiring face masks on flights since May 4th, and has been barring rule breakers from traveling since June. Delta is also one of two major U.S. airlines that keeps the middle seat open (at least until the end of 2020).

Keep Reading Show less