Anna Savittieri has launched a KICKSTARTER to fund her documentary about tipping in the hospitality industry. Tipping, in its unique American form, involves guests deciding how much money a server will earn on a given night by “rewarding” them with a gratuity. 

Savittieri, a third-year student at McGill, will travel to Washington DC, Chicago, New York and Boston to interview members of the service industry as part of her film. To achieve this, Anna’s looking to raise $1,550. Let’s hope she gets many times more than that. And let’s hope she can swing by San Francisco as well, where the servers make a full $10.55 before tips, instead of the federal tipped minimum, of $2.13. 

We at The Bad Deal & The Price Hike have been long been in favor of abolishing tipping in favor of service-included pricing along the lines of Sushi Yasuda, which banned tipping last year. That move, of course, followed Thomas Keller’s decision to go service-included at Per Se in 2005. 

We hope and believe that more restaurants will follow. Such European-style policies make it easier for restaurants to put waiters on salary and guarantee them steady incomes. And such policies also allow for restaurants to better address the pay disparity between front-of-the-house and back-of-the-house staffers; cooks can earn much less than waiters at high-end restaurants.

And that rebalancing of incomes is why some expensive restaurants legitimately fear that going service-included will cause wait staffs to defect, as it would almost certainly involve pay cuts for servers. We hope Savittieri address that in her film. 

We could go on. But for now, watch the excellent “teaser trailer” for Savittieri’s documentary. We wish her luck. (Kickstarter). 

“We’ve raised most of the money that we need to renovate a new place and for permits and all those big-ticket items [for which] I’m willing to give up equity for my business. But as a business person and someone that’s put all of my money and two years of my life into City Grit, I wasn’t willing to give up more equity for money that’s going to sit in someone’s bank account for 15 years.”

Sarah Simmons, who’s $100,000 Kickstarter went unfunded, talks with Eater about the difficulties of keeping financial ownership over City Grit, the restaurant and culinary salon she founded. 

City Grit hosts a rotating series of pop-up dinners throughout the year, often giving young chefs a chance to try out their ideas in New York before committing to a brick-and-mortar institution. For the culinary community, it is among our most important spaces. 

Simmons is currently seeking funding on the City Grit website. 

“Zimmern suggests that a restaurateur might turn to Kickstarter because it offers the cash infusion of private investment without the strings. Private investors — who want things like a say in the direction of a restaurant they gave money to — can be “bad for making art.” It just remains to be seen whether customers will keep on giving, even if they are excited about having a new restaurant in their neighborhood and their name on the wall.”

From Eater’s fine piece contemplating how restaurateurs are increasingly turning to Kickstarter funding. The flip side of course is that private restaurant investors are sometimes accomplished hospitality professionals who know how to make businesses work. And such investors have a high incentive to make things work (i.e. they want their money back and a return on their investment in three to five years).

Those who fund Kickstarters don’t really get their money back in traditional ways, but rather in the form of free meals, VIP status, etc. So Kickstarter is definitely a different ballgame in terms of to whom and how the recipients of the funding are accountable. 

City Grit Raising $100,000 for New Space on Kickstarter.4

Kickstarter is an all or nothing venture. If we don’t hit our goal of raising $100,000 in 30 DAYS (yes, days), we won’t be able to sign the lease and put down the deposit on our new home."

That’s a risky proposition, but these City Grit peoples are GOOD PEOPLES. The concept is simple: Sarah Simmons & Co. host a rotating series of pop-up dinners from visiting chefs in a 200 year old building in New York’s Nolita District. Some of those cool chefs will often test out a menu at City Grit before launching a full-fledged restaurant, so think of it as an important testing ground for our gastronomic world. Check’em out on tumblr.

For those who’d like to contribute on Kickstarter, which will fund the new, centrally air-conditioned space, click on through to the other side. 

citygritnyc:

We would love your support in our effort to raise a portion of the $150,000 deposit we need for our new space! Please donate and help us spread the word! 

kickstarter:


Because who doesn’t want to get taco’s from a man in a lucha libre mask.  Tamalespaceship ensures we’ll never have to do that again. 


The Tamalespaceship People are making the big leap from FOOD TRUCK to REAL RESTAURANT. The brick and mortar location will be in Chicago’s Pilsen district and the principals have launched a Kickstarter to help fund the purchase of restaurant equipment and point of sales systems. As is always the case with Kickstarters, invest at your own risk, but definitely take a look.

kickstarter:

Because who doesn’t want to get taco’s from a man in a lucha libre mask.  Tamalespaceship ensures we’ll never have to do that again. 

The Tamalespaceship People are making the big leap from FOOD TRUCK to REAL RESTAURANT. The brick and mortar location will be in Chicago’s Pilsen district and the principals have launched a Kickstarter to help fund the purchase of restaurant equipment and point of sales systems. As is always the case with Kickstarters, invest at your own risk, but definitely take a look.

humanrightswatch:

The Beauty Curse by Eric Pape

A serious, full-length graphic novel about a world where jealousy knows no limits, and where being a pretty girl can mean risking your life.

Support this Kickstarter campaign »

Here’s a first: a “kick ass comic book” about a young woman “who went through hell, and somehow came out the other side.” Eric Pape will document, through drawings, the story of a Cambodian who was the victim of a vicious attack; he’s hoping to raise $32,000 for this effort. It’s a remarkable project because it will take a compelling human rights story and extricate from the shackles of a standard “report” or a “news piece.”  

We approve of this effort to “humanize” human rights and will call this Kickstarter a GOOD DEAL. 

3

This Jersey City restaurant raised over $18,000 in Kickstarter funds then lost up to $20,000 in Sandy-inflicted damage4

That’s the bad news. The good news is that Thirty Acres is packed. And it’s no further from Manhattan than Brooklyn. Really, you’ve spent more time commuting to Roberta’s. As such, I award 2.5 stars to Thirty Acres in my Bloomberg News review today. Husband and wife owners Kevin and Alex Pemoulie say they hope to make some of the losses back through insurance. Here’s what Alex & Kevin tell me:

  • "We lost probably $15k to $20k in product that we had to throw away and lost income. We are incredibly lucky that we didn’t lose anything else, that our building only had minimal damage, and that it looks like insurance will cover a portion of our waste and lost income. We haven’t received any money from insurance yet, but are hopeful that we will get at least a portion reimbursed.”

Oh, did I forget to mention that these guys rock? How remiss on my part. So:

These guys ROCK.