blue_dream_curry_asheville_2016Blue Dream Curry, a downtown Asheville restaurant that just opened last fall, has announced that it has done away with tipping. This is the first local restaurant that I’m aware of to do aware with tipping.

The announcement comes amid an ongoing discussion about low wages in general in Asheville and low wages specifically in the restaurant industry.

Here’s the statement from Blue Dream Curry’s page on Facebook:

So proud to announce that in addition to our living wage, we now embrace a tipless system. What does it mean? Clear price structure, no hidden costs, and professionals who take pride in and are justly compensated for their service.

Tip-free dining has been a hot topic of discussion, and some New York City restaurants have begun implementing the policy as a way to pay both front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house employees a fair, livable wage. The policy often means higher across the board prices for food.

The Asheville Blade has been at the forefront of reporting on the restaurant worker wage issue locally. And AVL Food Fan Stu Helm and his co-host, restaurant owner Joe Scully, specifically debated the no-tipping issue recently in Stu’s AVL Food Fan podcast.

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29 Comments

  1. A lot of speculation here but Economics 101 will give the servers input on this social experiment based on their wage. First, will the servers stay or will they go? Second, will the wage or menu prices rise? If menu prices rise the guest will have the chance to decide to dine or not to dine.

  2. How can I deny tips at this restaurant for poor service?

    • Surprised you even know what curry is.

      Oh and aren’t you supposed to plug a link to your mindless blog after you make a comment on Ashvegas?

  3. Hey, it (decent wages and no tipping) works in almost every other country I have been to, so why not here?

    • hauntedheadnc says:

      Because America is very, very special. Same reason we can’t have a workable healthcare system or a decent railway system, like you find in every other civilized country on earth.

  4. Traditionally and originally, tipping (To Insure Prompt Service) was a) only done in high-end establishments, b)was done BEFORE any service was provided, and c) was given to EVERY member of the wait staff, including the doorman, host/hostess, waiter and Sommelier. No one complained because only the rich had to tip, and they expected to, just as they expected results.

    How this ever worked its’ way into middle-class Mom & Pop venues, especially after the advent of fast food, is a mystery to me. Replacing tips with fair wages would be a great improvement all around.

  5. This isn’t all wine and roses. 12.50 sounds great, but most shifts only last 4 or 5 hours. A good server in the right location can make upwards of $25 to $40 an hour. They earn that not much not just from higher prices, but by providing excellent service. We deal with all kinds of situations most people aren’t aware of. No owner is going to pay their staff enough to make up that difference.

    • Good points.

      And it’s a two-way street. While I find many of the residents of Buncombe County to be extremely conscientious people, I don’t know how the general public, or tourists, would respond to seeing the higher prices go by as they scroll through dining options on at home or on a mobile device. I think a business runs the risk of losing a chunk of the market due to consumer psychology right off the bat.

      Still, I’m sure smart and talented people can overcome things with the right model. I wish them well and good luck. Maybe I’ll learn something watching them.

    • luther blissett says:

      “They earn that not much not just from higher prices, but by providing excellent service.”

      They (i.e. you) may tell that to themselves, but all of the studies done on tipping suggest that “excellent service” doesn’t earn better tips. There are biases based on age and appearance, but the law of averages prevails. Everything else is a myth that servers swallow in exchange for poverty wages and no benefits, unlike the rest of the developed world.

      • I have benefits and I do NOT make poverty wages. Trust me and my 25 years in the industry, better service =’s better tips. I average 20 to 25 percent of the check while some of my lesser engaged colleagues make 15 to 20 percent. It’s also one of the nicer places in town to dine at, which also helps.

        • luther blissett says:

          The plural of anecdote ain’t data.

          • I’m sorry? Could you link to actual facts as opposed to pulling them out of the air? Where are these ‘surveys’ you speak of? Also, I do NOT make poverty wages. If you work at a crappy place, then yes, you don’t make that much. But if you work at something a little more upscale, you can and do make a decent living.

          • Another anecdote: My Mom and I ate at Korean House yesterday, The waitress was lovely and gave my mom extra kimchi as well as a decently filled glass of wine. My mom who usually tips 15% tipped 20% instead.

    • Adam
      Your 100 percent correct

  6. Hauntedheadnc says:

    I think doing away with tipping is a marvelous idea. Diners hate it, and servers are degraded by having to grovel for it.

    Now, if only Blue Dream would serve a portion large enough to keep you from getting hungry again in two hours, I would definitely reward them for this awesome move with more patronage. The place is okay for lunch, since you have to eat again later anyway, but it’s really not an option for supper.

    • I don’t think we enough information to conclude that diners hate tipping. I also do not think servers are groveling for tips. That’s a nice rhetorical flourish, but I don’t think your opinion is widely held.

      I’ll leave the criticism of Blue Dream for a more appropriate page.

      • Hauntedheadnc says:

        If you want a peer-reviewed study you’re out of luck, but I’m 35 years old and have never met or known anyone who enjoyed tipping. I’ve also known a lot of restaurant servers in my time and have never met one who enjoyed the knowledge that a diner held that much power over their income, namely because a great many members of the general public are sadistic asses who love to abuse their power. At restaurants that translates into the ability and even the desire to completely deny a tip based on the slightest inconvenience, or for something the server had no control over at all.

        • I have no problem with tipping.

          And I was a server back in the day, and I had no problem with tipping. I didn’t feel that many customers were sadistic asses who love to abuse their power.

        • Sweet…I’m 46…have been in the business for a couple decades…and my experience in no way matches yours.

          I’ll leave that last sentence for Sarah Palin’s speech writer.

          • hauntedheadnc says:

            You know what? You’re right, and I don’t know what I was thinking. I can’t even imagine how much fun it must be to go into work every day and have to ingratiate yourself to each and every customer because you know they control your income and can deny you that income if they don’t happen to like the way you look. I can’t even imagine how much fun it is to have to apologize for things that are not your fault while knowing that your income evaporates because of those things.

            Why, it must just be the biggest thrill imaginable, and I will be sure to give a very stern talking-to to all the servers I personally know who consider the ass-kissing servile nature of waitstaff to work to be an insult to their dignity. What do they know? Certainly not the joys and delights you do!

  7. Having lived all over the planet and knowing that tipping is NOT the norm anywhere else in the world, kind of nice for me to see this being abolished. I mean, for a few bucks, I personally would like to get up and get my own plate of food! No one pays for food being brought to you that you are paying for anywhere else on the planet! I mean, if you can afford it, fine! But when you can’t afford to pay someone to bring you the expensive food you just ordered, then what is the point? No one else tips anywhere else in the world? Why should restaurant owners (some of the riches peoples in the hierarchy’ have “US” also pay their servers??? Doesn’t make any sense to me (nor to most peoples of the world).

    • HAHAHAHAHA RESTAURANT OWNERS ARE RICH HAHAHAHAJAHA

      that’s a good one!

    • “Most peoples of the world” don’t go out to eat.

    • The Real World says:

      Ok so, we’ve got 3 commenters here who declare it’s better that the USA move to a tip-less restaurant model because, they say, that is what people do in other countries. Good grief…what a shitty reason do to anything! B/c that’s what everyone else is doing!

      There is a politician running for the US presidency right now who I have heard declare numerous times that we should have fully socialized (single payer)healthcare system because that’s what other Western countries have. Huh? That’s it…that’s all he’s got for facts and sound reasoning?? Apparently, b/c I’ve never heard him offer anything else. (Immediate disqualification in my book)

      Seriously, can you people be that easily swayed to do something? If so, I’ve got a really solid bridge in an important city and can offer an enticing price….promise.

      Lastly –
      1 – It is untrue that the rest of world employs a purely salary model for servers in restaurants. It doesn’t generally comprise as much of the servers income but some tipping is common in many, many countries.
      2 – Good for Blue Dream for running their show however they see fit. Every business is unique just as every owner is, so they should do as they like. But, it doesn’t have to be a mandate for all the others.

    • The Real World says:

      There are 3 commenters here who declare it’s better that the USA move to a tip-less restaurant model because, they say, that is what people do in other countries. Good grief…what a lousy reason do to anything! B/c it’s what everyone else is doing!

      Seriously, can you people be that easily swayed to do something? If so, I’ve got a really solid bridge in an important city and can offer an enticing price….promise.

      1 – It is untrue that the rest of world employs a purely salary model for servers in restaurants. It doesn’t generally comprise as much of the servers income but some tipping is common in many, many countries.
      2 – Good for Blue Dream for running their show however they see fit. Every business is unique just as every owner is, so they should do as they like. But, it doesn’t have to be a mandate for all the others.

  8. Yes, I have enjoyed exceptional service alongside consistent fare at Firestorm. Thanks to Blue Dream Curry for being brave, and congrats to the staff!

  9. Firestorm Books & Coffee in West Asheville is also a tip-free service environment with the menu reflecting the full cost to customers. Kudos to Blue Dream Curry!

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