Delta Diner has recently (6-1-15) made the move to eliminate tips from its business model.  Given this is a topic most everybody has some sort of personal experience with, it is a topic of vast commentary.  I think the dialog on this issue is good as long as the discussion is about what is real and not perceived.

First off, thank you to our customers for their words of encouragement and support.  We make this decision with strong conviction that those who know us best will respond positively to this policy.

Rather than answer each legitimately stated concern about our policy across social media, I have decided it would be better to cover it on our website since there tends to be a theme to those people who register concerns.  While I certainly do not expect that all individuals will agree with our policy, I do expect that the vast majority will respect our decision provided you are basing your decision on factual information, the Delta Diner’s culture culture, and our track record for employee based decision making.  Here are some thoughts regarding what I have been reading:

  • Although a very good report, a recent Duluth news TV station stated that our policy was a “mandatory gratuity”.  This is false.  We have eliminated gratuities or tips completely from our business model.  A gratuity by definition is voluntary.  We have increased our prices 20% on all food and beverage.  Rather than bury that increase in prices, we have intentionally put it front and center for all to see because  100% of this increase directly goes to fund staff wages in an equitable fashion.  No hidden agenda, smoke and mirrors, or tricks.
  • The ownership and staff of the Delta Diner assure a great Diner experience for our like minded customers through a dedication to our business model, systems and teamwork.  The service our customers experience is a result of precise execution of this model by hand picked professional staff.  The tipped model limits our ability to reward our entire staff for their dedicated work in a way reflective of their professionalism.  We have developed a model that works better for our staff, customers, and in the long term the sustained success of our business model.  Because it is right for us doesn’t mean it applies elsewhere.
  • Every person who reads about this issue will have a personal opinion based on personal experience as a restaurant customer, employee, or owner.  Please remember your personal experience frames your opinion and it may not translate to our operation.  It would be unfortunate to base opinions on assumptions rather than fact.
  • Every current employee, including floor staff,  at the Delta Diner moves forward financially because of our policy change and they have been involved in the decision making from the beginning.  All future employees will benefit from the fact that all adult employees at our operation will earn a minimum of $15/hour and student employees will make a minimum of $10/hour.  Plain and simple.
  • This policy is about the Delta Diner, its dedicated staff, and ultimately the satisfaction of our customer base.  You still have the ultimate say with regard to our service level and can vote by deciding if you will patronize our business.  Suggesting that tips at the Delta Diner determines service level and that this level will decrease without the power of the tip are uninformed.  But, as they say, time will ultimately tell the story.
  • The constructive dialogue with those concerned about our policy is a good thing and allows us elaborate and clarify when appropriate.  We will not engage individuals who merely wish to attack with no reasonable basis for their statements.  Although those who know us best are doing a pretty good job!

Thanks for keeping the dialogue civil,

Todd Bucher – Delta Diner