Vincenzo's

Vincenzo’s experiments with tip-free lunches

Vincenzo’s Italian Restaurant, 150 S. Fifth St., has announced in a press release that it is instituting tip-free lunches as a special offering for downtown workers. Diners will not have to tip their servers at lunch; the gratuity will be handled by the owners, Agostino and Vincenzo Gabriele, so their servers compensation will not be affected.

In the press release, Vincenzo Gabriele said, “Offering gratuity-free lunch service is about making lunch out for our guests special and convenient,” and that they are the first fine-dining restaurant in Louisville to institute such as policy as far as they know.

The issue of restaurant tipping has been the topic of considerable discussion recently. The issue is connected with the politically-charged topic of raising the minimum wage, with the argument that tipping encourages better work habits, and with the uncertainty of public reaction if prices are raised to reflect new wage rates.

A few restaurants around the country have experimented with no-tipping policies, with uncertain results. Joe’s Crab Shack this past year tried no tipping at several of its locations, but dropped the practice after a short trial. Union Square Hospitality Group in New York City also tried out instituted a no-tip policy at all 13 of its restaurants in November 2015; four months later, the company dropped that trial too.

Unlike restaurants that institute no-tipping policies for all meals, Vincenzo’s won’t raise menu prices. “While many restaurants have staff that come and go, we are extremely proud of our loyal and dedicated team who live and breathe fine-dining service to their core,” Gabriele said in the release.