If other restaurants follow Alimento's lead, you'll soon start tipping the servers and the kitchen staff. Next time I dine at Alimento, I'll just fill in the TOTAL amount and then let the servers and kitchen staff fight it out.
Restaurants across the country have begun to address the disparity by building in 18 or 20 percent service charges, or, as is the case with local establishments like Mélisse, A.O.C., and République, adding a 3 percent surcharge that goes toward employee healthcare. Alimento's additional gratuity will only be divided among dishwashers, line cooks, and prep cooks. "My sous chefs aren't getting a cut," says Pollack, "and, of course, neither am I."
How does the waitstaff feel about the idea? "They are actually excited," says Pollack. "I'm guessing people will still default to giving service 15 to 20 percent, but even if they give only a few bucks to the guys in back, it will make a huge difference."