This Hudson Valley Restaurant’s Tipping Policy Left Me Speechless
I recently visited a new restaurant for the first time and was shocked when I received the bill.
After such a great experience I was ready to show my appreciation with a generous tip. And that's when the confusion began.
On Friday I was meeting people in the City of Poughkeepsie and decided to check out a new place called 1915 Wine Cellar on Cannon Street. The wine bar is a part of the 40 Cannon Street building that also houses a coffee shop and King's Court Brewery.
I was pretty impressed with 1915 from the start. The space had a really great atmosphere and the decor was something you'd expect to see in SoHo, not the City of Poughkeepsie. Exposed brick on the wall, a beautiful concrete bar and tasteful furniture and decorations made this a very comfortable place to be. But what I really enjoyed about the place was the service.
Not being a wine drinker, I opted for beer instead. 1915 had a pretty impressive beer list and the bartender was extremely knowledgeable about each one. With his help, I picked out an IPA that I've never heard of before and his suggestion was spot on. We also ordered a meatball sandwich that we asked to be split in two, which they happily did without question. Three different servers waited on us during our time at the bar and we were offered everything from extra napkins to ice waters when our drinks got low without us even having to ask.
After such a great experience I was ready to show my appreciation with a generous tip. And that's when the confusion began. After our bill came they ran my credit card and returned with the receipt for me to sign. I looked at the total and began to calculate the tip when I realized that there was something wrong. The receipt had no line to add in a gratuity.
Thinking I had the restaurant copy by mistake, I opened up the folio and retrieved the other receipt. There was still no line for a tip or a total. I asked the person I was with if they could figure it out and we both kind of sat there confused. Finally, I called over the bartender to find out how to leave a tip on my credit card and that's when things got weird. The employee informed me that the wine bar follows a "European model" of business and does not accept tips.
It turns out that 1915 Wine Cellar pays their employees a flat salary instead of relying on tips. This is the first time I've visited a restaurant in the Hudson Valley with a policy like this. I was surprised how incredible the service was, even though tipping was not allowed. Many restaurant owners are reluctant to end tipping because they fear that servers will not be as attentive to their customers. But if this experience is any indication, paying employees a proper salary may be a bigger motivator than they think.
I will admit that I did feel a little strange not leaving a tip, but the staff reassured me that this was the way they run their business. I honestly love the idea of not having to tip, and I really liked knowing that I got such great service not because the bartender wanted to squeeze an extra few dollars out of me, but because they really loved their job and had pride in the business they were working at.
What do you think about the European model of tipping? Would you like to see more restaurants end tipping in the Hudson Valley? Let us know your thoughts on our Facebook page.
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