Joe's Crab Shack's No-Tipping Policy Failed Miserably and Is Over

Published On 05/12/2016 Published On 05/12/2016

After rolling out a no-tipping policy back in 2015 that counted on small price hikes to pay for higher server wages, Joe's Crab Shack conducted customer research to make sure everyone was cool with the new, groundbreaking policy.

The answer came back loud and clear: Nope.

Joe's Crab Shack is forced to renege on its no-tipping policy after workers and almost 60% of customers voiced that they pretty much hate it. According to Nation Restaurant News, customers cited two key reasons for their disapproval:

1. "They didn’t want to lose control of incentivizing service," and
2. "They didn’t trust management to pay the increase price to employees."

Sounds like Americans, or at least Americans who dine on inexpensive crab legs, have trust issues.

Bob Merritt, the CEO of Ignite Restaurant Group, which oversees Joe's Crab Shack, had this to say on the troubling news, “The system has to change at some point but our customers and staff spoke very loudly. And a lot of them voted with their feet.” Since the new system clearly did not pan out, the restaurant chain will go back to the standard policy in 14 of its restaurants. 

However, in four of the restaurants in which the new policy was enacted, it actually worked out just fine. Those unspecified four restaurants will stay "no tip," and Merritt says that the brand will  "try to figure out why it worked in some places and why not in others."

In other words, it's not a complete fail. Just a pretty significant one. 

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Kara King is a News Writer at Thrillist and will not voice her opinion on tipping. Send news tips to and follow her a @karatillie.



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