Restaurateur and celebrity chef Tom Colicchio said Friday he's not sure whether the dining public is ready to stop tipping yet, but he's taking the first steps at his flagship Craft location to include the service charge as part of the bill.
"I already started that October 1st. We opened Craft for lunch. And at lunch, we do not require tips," said Colicchio, who's also the lead judge on the reality series "Top Chef," which can be seen on Bravo TV.
Colicchio said he's going to see how no tipping goes at lunch before expanding to dinner. "It's a little easier to sort of break in sort of a much smaller piece of our business."
The bottom of the lunch menu at Craft New York reads: "Hospitality is free! Gratuity is optional." Colicchio said he wasn't sure whether the public would fully embrace the concept, yet he touted the benefits.
"I'm still not sold if the public is ready for it yet," Colicchio pondered on CNBC's "Squawk Box," but said he'd rather pay a "straight wage to the servers," instead of having his patrons decide their pay.
Colicchio said he's not worried about waitresses and waiters providing worse service because they're not getting tips. "I'm going to pay you as a server somewhere between $20 and $30 an hour. And if you're not doing to a great job, the customer is going to tell me."