A LETTER FROM BRIAN
WHY WE DECIDED TO MAKE THE SWITCH TO TIPS
After nine months of operating as a No Tipping restaurant, I have come to the conclusion that we must return to a traditional tipping system at Casellula @ Alphabet City in Pittsburgh. This is in no way an indication that my views about tipping have changed. I still believe that a system where servers are paid fair wages and food and drink prices reflect the actual cost of getting the product to the table is best for employers, servers, and guests.
Unfortunately, the unique quirks of Casellula @ Alphabet City make us the wrong test case. Our isolated location, reliance on private events, and the effects of City of Asylum’s programming on our business have made it impossible to manage staff in a way that is cost effective. Frankly, for any small, independent restaurant to lead the pack by eliminating tipping is difficult. What we really need is legislative change that eliminates the tipped employee sub-minimum wage so that all restaurants are playing on an even field.
The bottom line is that we will not survive if we don’t get our labor costs down substantially. The added tax burden resulting from all money paid to servers being counted as wages is too much for this young restaurant to bear. Returning to tipping is the only way I can see to get our labor costs in line with our revenues, as we have already minimized labor hours as much as possible.
Starting on Sunday, October 15th, Casellula @ Alphabet City will lower our prices to reflect the fact that service will not be included and guests will be expected to tip their servers. I hope that this change is a good thing for all of us.
Casellula @ Alphabet City