By Stephen Zagor — Dean, Restaurant & Culinary Management

What a year! As ICE’s Dean of Restaurant & Culinary Management, I feasted on the stories, successes, errors and reboots of dozens and dozens of industry notable guests, students and alumni. As a consultant, I peered over the shoulders of some huge industry names, as well as investors and stakeholders. As an expert in my field, I’ve researched numerous articles about current issues in our industry. Each day, I get to inspire, inquire, admire, rewire and even satire soon-to-be and long-standing successful food entrepreneurs. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new. So, you might wonder, what, if anything, do those successful food entrepreneurs have in common?

Marc Murphy

Steve (right) with Guest Speaker Marc Murphy

As I remind students in my Restaurant & Culinary Management classes, success stories in this industry aren’t the norm. New food products hit the market at a rate of about 100,000 per year with only a small number actually achieving enough financial success to be able to comfortably support the founders over the long term. New restaurants open by the hundreds across the country every year with fewer than half reaching five years of existence. It’s the rule of the economic jungle. All of these enterprises start with an epiphany — a zinger of an idea, a clever design, a long simmering passion, a raging flavor, a cost-plunging value, a super ingredient combo — an Ah ha! To name a few examples: A guy’s quick-serve taco store became Chipotle; a grad student’s taste for Icelandic yogurt became Siggi’s; a man’s coffee tour of Italy became Starbucks; a visionary’s hot dog stand in a park became Shake Shack; a chemist’s personal taste for vodka became Skyy; and so on.

What made some succeed when so many others didn’t? Is there a magic dust or is there a teachable skill? Here are some common takeaways I learned this year listening to culinary entrepreneurs. Let’s call them tips for going from “little” to “big”:

  1. Just do it. Most people have no idea what they’re doing when they start a business, and many still have hazy, confused procedures even after they appear successful to the world. More than one entrepreneur has stated that no single course in school, no experienced mentor’s advice, no related job experience will fully prepare you for your own ride on the venture coaster, or tell you when the time to start is right. Classes will help to vaccinate against some types of errors, but there is no vaccine to specifically protect you from “failure-itis.” My advice: Just do it, and be prepared to make lots of mistakes and flubs.
  2. Have enough money. This seems obvious, but a common tip from entrepreneurs and creators was to be well-funded. Too little capital at the beginning made for needless problems and bad decisions that later haunted business owners. Have enough money to launch effectively and sustain all the flops and screw-ups in the early months.
  3. Ask for help. All of our guests were firm in their people principle — get help when you need it. No one can do or is effective at doing everything that needs to be done, especially in the early stages. Find help — disciples, mentors, teammates, experts, maybe a psychiatrist — you’ll need them.
  4. Think and focus small. Go slow. Create the startup prototype, the first location, the first customers, the beginning recipes, and give them 100% of your focus. You will need all of your resources, capabilities, creativity and more at the start. Don’t get distracted, no matter how seductive a new location, new market or business offshoot is. Food businesses are really a process and logistics. Make it work. If you start thinking too big, too soon, ‘little’ will never be ‘big.’
  5. Know your market and everything about it. You can’t just make it or build it and they will come. There’s too much competition. The knowledge you gather about the market will affect everything — ambiance, packaging, pricing, mission, menu, flavors, etc. Test, refine and test again. Be a listener and observer. Allow ideas to morph and don’t be too headstrong. Find out what your market thinks and feels, what makes the competition successful and who’s doing something similar elsewhere. The best ideas may be out there already — just put your spin on them. Never, ever forget you’re building an emotional bond with your customers.
  6. S**t will happen — not MAY happen — WILL happen. Keep going. No, this is not an ad for Allstate featuring Mr. Mayhem. Your main source for custom breads with whom you spent six months developing recipes has a fire; you are sued because someone thinks your name is too close to theirs — and you lose; your manager and key employee get married and without notice move to Boise; an irate customer tears you up on Yelp for no apparent reason. These things happen. How you handle them and things like them will define you. Good things are easy to handle — it’s the bad things that make you stronger.
  7. Anyone can do it. If you met the people I’ve met you would wonder, “How did they do it?” Aren’t they too young, too old, uneducated, over-educated, too quiet or too obnoxious? And you’d be right, but they’ve done it. Why can’t you? (Answer: you can.)
  8. You won’t regret it. Prepare to work really hard. It will occupy your brain 24/7 and be both painful and pleasurable. No matter how many scars the entrepreneurs I’ve spoken with have earned, and how many sacrifices they had to make, none regret having done it. They might have done it differently, but they have no regrets for having done it. They could have spent their whole lives in the passenger seat. They moved to the driver’s seat.

Those are my tips for food business entrepreneurs; you can now cancel your Amazon order for self-help books. Just remember: The adventure will have lots of unknowns and the only way to figure them out is through experience. Start “little” and maybe one day you’ll be “big.”

In 2017, I piloted a fantasy drone equipped with an X-ray camera that peered into the foodscape below — magically seeing into the hearts and minds of key players in the culinary industry. I was able to hear their in-depth stories and deep insights. The lessons learned were not earth trembling, but were notable in their similarity and cherished in their value. Being an educator can be a great way to be educated — I’m looking forward to 2018 and seeing more littles become bigs.

Interested in launching your own food business? Click here to learn more about ICE’s Restaurant & Culinary Management program. 

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

By Stephen Zagor — Dean, Restaurant & Culinary Management

On Monday, January 22 at 10:00am, Stephen Zagor will be moderating a Sexual Harassment panel at ICE. The panel will feature leaders from the hospitality industry as well as labor issue specialists, including Susan Spikes, Executive Vice President of Operations at Hill Country Hospitality, Kutina Ruhumbika, HR Director of Barteca, labor attorney Carolyn Richmond, Elizabeth Ortiz, Director of Talent and Culture for Sofitel Luxury Hotels and Resorts, and Psychotherapist and Executive Coach Jonathan Albert. To register, email Stephen at szagor@ice.edu and include your name, phone number and the number of seats desired.

A crying waitress sprinted past me to the bathroom. She was relatively new. As I later learned, a floor manager had made advances toward her in the walk-in refrigerator — and it wasn’t the first time. No was not an option, she explained to me. If she failed to succumb, her schedule suffered and her income dropped. Eventually, the waitress quit. The damages were both personal — she was threatened, demeaned and harassed — and professional, as her experience both ended her career at that restaurant and negatively impacted staff morale. Co-workers were angry and a potential rising star was gone.

Photo by Michael Browning

This incident occurred more than 25 years ago, in the days before most companies had defined sexual harassment policies. In those days, it was one of the occupational hazards of working in the restaurant world. Not uncommonly, you cooked in a snake pit kitchen and served in a smoke-filled dining room jungle. Has much changed since? Not an easy question to answer. For one thing, there is no more smoking in the dining room. But as far as kitchen culture, there is still a smoking gun of indiscretion. Despite the reality of more women working as chefs and in management, many women unfortunately still face an overly permissive work environment, with flexible rules and free-wheeling attitudes — far from the typical controlled cubicle forest with Poland water coolers and Keurig coffee makers.

Today, most mid-sized and larger companies have scrupulously designed harassment policies drafted by experienced labor lawyers. Smaller mom-and-pop shops and privately owned cafes — the bulk of restaurants —don’t have the same resources at their fingertips. But even an elaborated policy doesn’t always translate to action and therein lies part of the problem. Transgressions occur, but tacit acceptance of impermissible behavior trumps the written rules. The food industry has implicitly upheld a code of silence.

According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there are more sexual harassment claims filed in the restaurant industry than any other industry. A 2014 study showed that 66% of female and more than half of male restaurant employees reported having been sexually harassed by managers, and that 80% of women and 70% of men working in the restaurant industry reported sexual harassment by co-workers. And this doesn’t include harassment from customers who interpret table-side friendliness as more than just that. Considering the scale of our problem — there are millions of people working in our industry — and the fact that only a fraction of claims are ever reported, the magnitude of the issue is alarming, to say the least.

When Anthony Bourdain penned “Kitchen Confidential” more than a decade ago, we were all amused and only a little surprised by the sex, drugs and rock-and-roll mentality of the restaurant world. Then appeared a series of explosive restaurant reality TV shows displaying the Paleolithic fire and organized frenzy of kitchens. Most viewers smiled, found it entertaining and wanted to see more. We failed to notice that this media portrayal, as luscious as it was, glossed over a far seedier reality. The dirty little secret of harassment — a small step past the yelling and intimidation that we loved — was lying just under the surface. What’s more, it was often the norm in high-profile operations.

The harassment volcano, however, is erupting. The lava flow of incidents and accusations has begun to incinerate an assortment of celebrated culinary industry names and wannabes. In the last few months, award-winning, well-known chefs and restaurateurs John Besh, Mario Batali, Todd English, Ken Friedman and Johnny Luzzini were accused of participating in, permitting and even fostering an environment of aggressive sexual behavior in their restaurants. I am 1000% sure that there are dozens and dozens of chefs, managers and owners who won’t be sleeping any time soon as they wait for the epidemic of harassment claims to arrive at their doors.

So how do we begin to confront the problems that run rampant in the restaurant industry? The indiscretions themselves are bad, but the issue is just as much the code of silence. If every company had a see something, say something, do something attitude, wouldn’t this help? Are we scared of repercussions or retaliation? Are we hesitant because of unclear intent or degree of infringement? Or are we simply apathetic and don’t want to make a big deal out of it or get involved? The remedy to this pandemic begins with communication, enforcement and, ultimately the most important, culture. And this starts from the top. It is the owner, CEO, general manager or chef who sets the work culture — the day-to-day behavioral norms that govern how employees act and perform their jobs. The second most important factor is the emphasis placed on compliance. Often, it’s the smallest, most trivial seeming issue that can create the biggest ripple effect of problems. That’s why strict compliance with a company’s sexual harassment policy is crucial. How do we talk to each other in the heat of the dinner rush? How can a harmless touch be misinterpreted? Do we realize jokes can have misunderstanding attached? Do we create a positive work environment? All of these questions must be taken seriously.

It is the owner, CEO, general manager or chef who sets the work culture — the day-to-day behavioral norms that govern how employees act and perform their jobs.

Moreover, every business should have a clear harassment policy, written in a tone and style that everyone can understand. At staff employee meetings, it must be proactively communicated and even role played if necessary. There must be a clear set of paths to report violations — whether it’s a toll-free phone number to call or text to a third party; a designated on site person or manager; or even, at the very least, an anonymous internal comment box to mention that a problem exists.

We know that often there are three sides to a story, and sadly, some accusations arise for other motives and are not always true. There are no perfect systems and no perfect industries. But, in a business like ours where people of all races, nationalities, backgrounds, sexual preferences and ages spend long hours working in a high pressure environment, selling a pleasurable experience sometimes fueled by alcohol, boundaries can blur and situations arise. In the end, a positive culture with a zero-tolerance policy and proactive procedures will go a long way to reducing this problem. And starting to remedy the sexual harassment problem can be the start of better times in our industry.

As for the waitress from 25 years ago, maybe a defined policy with clear paths of reporting would still not have saved her. Behavioral norms often are a reflection of the times in which they occur. But for all who incur similar situations in the future, I’m hoping there is a light of optimism at the end of the tunnel.

Interested in studying with Stephen? Click here to learn more about ICE’s Restaurant & Culinary Management program.

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

By Caitlin Raux

In a city like New York, where restaurants are as abundant as rents are high, getting diners in the restaurant door is only one side of the coin. The other side, getting return customers, presents another set of challenges. At Villanelle, a veggie-forward newcomer to the Greenwich Village restaurant scene, first-time restaurant owner Catherine Manning (Culinary Management ’15) has found a balance between casual elegance and exceptional food, and the result is a steadily growing roster of regulars. With dishes like crispy octopus with charred cucumber, green curry and mint, the food is tasty, fresh and feel-good. While there are plenty of delicious reasons to overdo it, chances are you won’t leave feeling like you did. It’s all part of Catherine’s goal of providing great, highly repeatable dining experiences.

Catherine Manning

Catherine Manning, owner of Villanelle

Villanelle

The restaurant’s name, Villanelle, comes from the eponymous 16th century Italian poem, traditionally performed by song and dance. The name captures Catherine’s spirit of hospitality as a form of entertainment. To dine at Villanelle is to experience a series of pleasant surprises. From the moment you walk in from East 12th Street, just two blocks from the bustle of Union Square, you find a surprisingly charming yet laid back space that looks less curated than it is. From the bare, wood tables and the grey-washed pine walls to the pristine marble-top bar (that seems perfect for Instagram’ing their gourmet cocktails), it’s the kind of setting that invites you to cozy up and stay a while.

Villanelle’s true entertainment, however, comes from the kitchen. The chefs take simple ingredients and prepare them with impeccable techniques and unique flavor pairings — like the macerated brussels sprouts with cheddar, cashews and rye. “I like taking familiar dishes and reworking them so people feel excited. It’s familiar food, but when you see it, it’s not what you expect,” explained Villanelle’s sous chef Christian Grindrod, an alumnus of ICE’s Culinary Arts program (’16) and the critically-acclaimed, recently closed Betony. “Then you bite into it, and it’s exactly what you wanted.” Take, for example, the composed cheese dish: what appears to be a sweet slice of pumpkin pie with a tuft of whipped cream is actually a savory slice of squash topped with tangy cloumage cheese — a trick of the eye and a delight for the palate.

Catherine Manning

Christian Grindrod

Christian Grindrod, sous chef and ICE alum

Perhaps coincidentally, before Villanelle, Catherine led a successful career as a producer of visual effects and animation for commercial projects. “In a way, running a restaurant isn’t that different because it’s still production,” said Catherine. “You’re making food instead of TV commercials, but you have crews, schedules and budgets. The skill sets match.” With four daughters and a frequently full dinner table, she and her husband spent years as hobby cooks who loved entertaining. “Those were some of our happiest times,” Catherine recalled. “And an important reason why I did this — hospitality, a good meal and the conversation that ensues while having a good meal.” At some point, it occurred to Catherine that she might like having her own restaurant some day. When Catherine decided it was time for a career change, she enrolled in ICE’s Restaurant & Culinary Management program.

The menu at Villanelle holds true to the farm-to-table claim. Most of their entrées feature thoughtfully chosen meats like Berkshire Pork Loin and Green Circle Chicken, and with the Union Square Greenmarket a short stroll uptown, chefs frequently pop by the market to hand-pick the season’s best produce. Despite the ubiquity of the term, staying farm-to-table can be trickier than it seems. Chef Christian enjoys the challenge. “It’s all about anticipating what’s going to be good this season and working on recipes for those ingredients. When they become scarce, you have to be quick on your feet and change it up,” Christian explained. “That’s part of the fun of working here.” For her part, Catherine mapped out the business side of owning a farm-to-table restaurant during her time at ICE. “The business plan component [of the Restaurant & Culinary Management program] was really helpful for me — to go through the entire process and put together projections,” explained Catherine. “It helped me crystallize what it was I had in mind.

After developing her restaurant concept with the help of ICE’s expert food business instructors, Catherine was as prepared as possible for opening her first restaurant. Still, her status as rookie lends the restaurant a sort of start-up vibe, for better or worse. What they lack in experience, they make up for with energy and ambition: staff are motivated to work harder because they know their contribution makes a difference; communication is paramount; voices are heard. “None of us have been fully responsible for opening a restaurant before,” said Catherine. “We’re all on the same team. It’s exciting to build a business and everyone feels that.”

With a write-up in the NY Times and glowing customer reviews, Catherine and Villanelle are already making waves downtown. “We’re still figuring things out as we go, but I think our customers are pleased with what we’ve done so far.” Jumping head first into NYC restaurant ownership may have been a bold move, but with her preparation and a passion for hospitality, Catherine is successfully navigating the transition. On a personal level, Catherine is enjoying her new career in the restaurant industry. “What’s not to like about bringing something that makes people happy into existence? If you serve people a great meal and they have a great experience, that’s a great business to be in.”

Learn more about ICE’s Restaurant & Culinary Management program. 

 

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

At ICE, we make it our mission to help students find their culinary voice — that creative drive within each of us that determines how we express ourselves through food. Whether it’s a career training program, a recreational course in pie crusts or a special event featuring handmade pasta, we’ll give you the tools to hone your culinary creativity. Join us as we ask some of today’s leading food industry pros to share their culinary voice.

If you’re trying to figure out where the cool kids in New York are eating or just looking for delicious, DIY home-cooking inspiration, look no further than the Instagram feed of Eden Grinshpan (Culinary Management ’08), aka @edeneats. With a voracious appetite and a contagious sense of humor, the Chopped Canada judge and ICE graduate has a unique culinary voice, inspired in large part by her experience delving into food cultures around the globe.

“I’ve spent a lot of time backpacking through India, southeast Asia, living in Israel,” says Eden. “Even by living in New York City, there are so many cultures and different restaurants I go to all the time, which really inspire the dishes and the food I make at home.”

Watch as Eden Grinshpan shares her culinary voice.

Find your culinary voice with ICE — learn more about our career training programs.

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

July 2010

June 2010

May 2010

April 2010

March 2010

February 2010

January 2010

December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

By Steve Zagor, Dean of Restaurant & Culinary Management

These days, we’re seeing more news on the abolition of tips. You might wonder: what’s the consensus on tipping? I have a little tip for you. We won’t be ending tipping in the U.S. anytime soon. We have a better chance of seeing Mickey Mouse star in a new movie. Here’s why.

Recently, the no tip experiment – yes, it’s still in the test tube phase – was spotlighted in a “60 Minutes” interview with Danny Meyer, whose Union Square Hospitality Group (USHG) claims fame to a formidable roster of top full-service restaurants and the fast casual Shake Shack. Meyer is also the Pied Piper of the no-tipping movement, and as such he eloquently spreads the gospel of no tipping and the equalization of the wages between cooks and wait staff. Meyer has commented that it’s an important human value-based decision, but that the road will be long before it becomes commonplace.

bustling restaurant

Photo by Kevin Curtis

What Meyer failed to mention, which was recently revealed in a Grub Street article, is that the no-tipping policy has jolted Meyer’s company with major staff turnover from hourlies to senior managers, drops in sales and lower morale — a secret that everyone in the industry in NYC has known for some time. USHG has even stopped implementing the no-tipping policy in further restaurants until they figure out its effects.

Don’t forget: plenty of others in the business are not in favor of changing the tipping status quo. Mom and pop café owners in Anytown, USA couldn’t care less about no tips. They prefer the current method. Some notable owners who ended tips have gone back to tipping — the public just couldn’t be convinced that eliminating tips and nudging up menu prices costs the customer about the same. To the customer, it looks bad when your competitor down the street hasn’t changed — suddenly the lower prices, even with tipping, appear to be a bargain. What’s more, the business owner faces potential staff losses in the form of those front-of-the-house stars who earn less and leave.

At the same time, as though choreographed with the “60 Minutes” interview, a lawsuit was filed accusing many notable restaurateurs, including Danny Meyer, David Chang and others, of colluding vis-à-vis the no-tip movement to gouge the public with obscene price increases. But that doesn’t seem to have a basis in reality. One legal expert I spoke to said it’s never been illegal to raise prices for any reason. We’ve paid more to eat because of the Malaysian locusts, the sunspots, the alleged Martian landing and El Niño. A criminal conspiracy among disparate restaurant businesses is not likely. Still, whether they should do away with tipping begs another question.

Tipping isn’t inherently a good or bad thing. A separate issue is whether, as practiced, it’s fair to all employees or if it helps to perpetuate an inequitable caste system among the staff. Or is it just simply unwieldy to use and account for? The bottom line is that in poll after poll, only a small percentage of the general dining public is in favor of abolishing this long-standing behavior. Many find the perceived higher prices that result from non-tipping and the loss of control of server compensation to be displeasing. And, right now in particular, when month after month table-dining restaurants are seeing fewer customers and casual chains are closing hundreds of outlets, what we don’t need is a new reason to upset the public and make them stay away.

Our industry is going through a major reshaping. Not only are costs increasing and competition is outrageous in all styles of dining, but the leading opposition force may also be our big comfy couch at home. At night we cocoon, wrapping up in our sweats and hoodies, and order a meal kit, an Uber food delivery, a virtual restaurant takeout or soon maybe a drone-delivered pizza soaring through the window of the car or house. Even at lunch we are eating out less at table-service restaurants — takes too long and costs too much. It’s not the millennial style. Give them a locally sourced fast casual hummus sandwich and all will be fine.

So what does it all mean? Is no tips a niche idea that will never gain traction? We all know that long-standing behaviors are not easy to change — stayed on a diet lately or kept a New Year’s resolution? Education helps some, but if you believe the behavioral scientists and gastrophysicists, we humans are much more emotionally driven than intellectually — especially when it comes to the whole experience of eating, which is as emotionally charged as it gets.

One scientific study said that the habit of eating is as addictive as what we actually eat, if not more. Might it be the same with tipping? Is the habit more addicting? For boomers, it sure is, and for Generation Z, it’s quite likely. There’s a chance that millennials and beyond who prefer electronics and less social interaction are more easily changed, but it will be a while before they dominate the dining landscape.

Maybe Danny will be right — the parade will ultimately follow him. However, I’m not betting on it — not just yet. I’ll still keep my tip calculator and that nice feeling I get when I leave a larger-than-usual tip as a reward for a job well done and an experience enjoyed. I like that perceived control.

Interested in learning to run your own food business? Click here to learn more about ICE’s Restaurant & Culinary Management program. 

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014