On 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper interviews Danny Meyer, the founder of the billion-dollar global burger chain Shake Shack. Meyer talks about his crusade to eliminate tipping in the restaurant business. The idea is to balance out the pay inequities; he points out that waiters sometimes make 300 percent more than the kitchen staff. Meyer accomplishes this by increasing the base pay of servers and kitchen staff and increasing menu prices by nearly 25 percent to compensate. So while your bill is higher, it’s roughly the same as before because you don’t have to tip. Not many restaurants are adapting to the system but Meyer says he doesn’t care. “It could be that we’re slightly ahead of our time,” he tells Cooper.
The 59-year-old New York City restaurateur was born and raised in St. Louis, graduated from Trinity College in Connecticut in 1980, and in 1985 (at the age of 27) opened his first restaurant, Union Square Café. His company, Union Square Hospitality Group now owns several restaurants including Grammercy Tavern, the cafes at MoMA and the Whitney Museum, among others. Meyer is married to his wife of 29 years, Audrey Heffernan. She was an advertising representative for Gourmet magazine when they married. They have four children. 60 Minutes airs Sundays at 7pm on CBS.