Thai Fresh is eliminating tipping starting on Monday, January 18. It is also switching over completely to table service. Prices will increase to make up for the potential loss in tips earned for employees. The Thai Bouldin Creek restaurant shared in a statement:
The change reflects the early stages of an industry-wide movement looking to close the ‘front and back-of-house’ wage gap as well as ensure regulated wages overall.
Update, January 13: Co-owner and chef Jam Sanitchat told Eater:
By adding what cost me to provide customers with good food and service into the cost the meal, I am able to distribute the money between all restaurant staff and able to offer my full time staff benefits like health insurance and paid days off. I would like employees to be able know what they will make at the end of the day and what they can expect on their paycheck instead of depending on the tips.
This is following the nationwide trend of restaurants going tipless, including Danny Meyer’s 13 restaurants, and seafood chain Joe’s Crab Shack. In Austin, Thai joins brewpub Black Star Co-op, tasting room Counter 3.Five.VII, and to a degree, Qui’s ticketed tasting menu in Austin, as restaurants without tips.
Co-owners Bruce Barnes and Sanitchat opened Thai Fresh in 2008, using locally sourced meats and goods, along with a healthy offering of vegan and gluten-free baked goods and dishes.