Thursday, November 12, 2015

Future of Tipping in Las Vegas

It was a hot news item a few weeks ago when Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group announced they were eliminating tipping in their New York City restaurants.

Just this week Joe's Crab Shack became the first major chain to follow suit and roll out an experimental plan that would also eliminate tipping at their restaurants.

This got me thinking about tipping in Las Vegas and if it could be possible for a no-tipping policy to ever be adopted.

Tipping is ingrained in the Las Vegas culture. Almost every employee a tourist encounters is tipped, from the cab driver on the way from the airport, the bellhop, front desk clerk, housekeeping, bar tenders, wait staff, all the way to the usher at the showroom.

Las Vegas is also one of the remaining places where cash is the preferred currency, making tipping easy. My first thought is that a cash free, non-tipping movement would face resistance in Las Vegas.

Times are changing though. Younger generations are getting more and more used to not using cash at all. When we eventually go to a mostly cash-free society (if we aren't there already) tipping seems like more of a burden.

While the transition away from cash might be slower in Las Vegas because of gambling, it will happen eventually. With less cash changing hands tipping might become less common.

Services like Uber have made it common for the tip to be included. That line of thinking might work its way though the hospitality industry.