Recently, the owner of New Orleans’s insanely popular sandwich shop Turkey and the Wolf alerted customers that the restaurant was moving to a service charge model, adding a 15 percent fee to all orders. In a post about the move, Mason Hereford explained that “we chose a percentage (15) that was actually significantly higher than both our pandemic tip average and our historic tip average at the restaurant (sorry to reveal that people don’t crush tipping at counter service joints).” 15 percent is higher than the average tip?
Leaving a 20 percent tip before tax is widely understood as the standard at sit-down restaurants. Now, with the loss of full-capacity dining rooms, restaurant employees are making significantly fewer tips, with some restaurants reporting that people aren’t tipping at all on takeout orders. As a result, the discussion around voluntary gratuities vs. service charge models has once again emerged as a topic of debate.
Should restaurants begin eliminating the voluntary tipping model in favor of a 20 percent gratuity on checks? Are diners tipping more or less during the health crisis? Eater New Orleans wants to hear from readers regarding how much they are tipping, and if the pandemic and the economic downturn have changed their views on tipping. Take the brief survey below to help us gauge the state of tipping in NOLA right now.
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