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El Vez cheeseburger 6-22-2015October 2015- by Steven E. Greer

Danny Meyer made national news today by announcing that he was planning on eliminating tipping in his restaurants. Actually, his former chef, Tom Coliccio, started it months ago in his own restaurant.

Mr. Meyer and others deserve credit for this. I did not cause this. However, I have been emailing restaurant owners about this idea for years.

Tipping is nothing but a way to maintain the minimum wage slave salary concept, and let the owners pass the cost of employees off to the sucker customers. There is very little correlation between the amount of the tip and the quality of the dining experience.

Eliminating tipping is just one of the major trends in the food business that I have written about first.

With the recent chicken sandwich trend driven by Chick-fil-A’s success, I was telling Danny Meyer years ago to add this to the Shake Shack menu. I even suggested that he start a separate chain called Chicken Shack. Two years later, he registered with the PTO that very same name. Also, numerous other restaurant groups are now chasing after the “Better Chick-fil-A” concept in hopes of being the next Shake Shack IPO.

Speaking of Shake Shack, I was the first one to ponder what the hypothetical valuation of an IPO would be worth, years before Danny Meyer decided to go public.

The ideal cheeseburger is something that I have been writing about over the last couple of years. I was tired of the typical fancy burger that was as round as a large meatball with a brioche bun. I said that the best burger should be fairly flat, with a sesame seed bun (It was apparently too McDonald’s-like to use sesame seed bun at the time). Now, the best restaurants in the world, such Jean-Georges and Upland, are making my ideal cheeseburger.

Ice cream in New York, where is it? I have long said that anyone smart enough to build a proper American ice cream shop would be successful. I am now seeing people try to do this now. Le District is getting one started.

With coffee, I have derided the typical pre-brewed stuff that sits around in 50-gallon tanks. I started making the custom-brew pour-over method at home and became evangelical about it. Now, Blue Bottle, Kaffe 1668, Le District, Gotan, and others are catching on.

With the problem of sky-high entree prices in New York, caused by the real estate bubble and high rents, I was the first one to incorporate the price of the meal into my restaurant reviews. Later, Pete Wells of the New York Time started doing this.

Waiters: Who needs them in most cases? I have been advocating for a new paradigm whereby diners would select their orders from iPads. The only humans from the restaurant in the dining room would be managers. Some places are now doing this.

What’s in store next for the restaurants of New York? Stay tuned.

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