Indianapolis café goes viral for ‘no tipping’ policy

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A central Indiana café is going viral for a policy not usually seen in Indiana or across the country: no tipping allowed.

At Top Out Café, which is upstairs inside North Mass Boulder, they brew up different coffees and dishes. It’s a labor of love for Erica Oakley, the company’s director of food and beverage.

“I love the atmosphere, the community feel,” Oakley said.

On the counter, you’ll notice something different: a sign that reads “No tipping.”

“We do a no-tipping system. We pay our employees a very living wage. We don’t want our guests who come in to feel pressured to tip. We want them to know that our team and our staff are paying our people a living wage and we want them to have fun when we’re here. We don’t want to make them feel obligated,” Oakley said.

Oakley told News 8 the policy has been in place at the café since it opened in July. The sign notes several reasons why.

For example: “Tipping can often create competition between employees” or “Tipping can feel awkward.”

“Everyone works just as hard without getting tips,” Oakley said. “I feel like they actually work better together because there’s no competition.”

Camille Engle has worked at the café as a barista since it opened.

“I feel really good about it. We get paid really well. We get $16 an hour. In my opinion, I have worked many, many jobs, and I’ve even worked in insurance and stuff. This still is probably one of the best paid positions I’ve been in,” Engle said.

Those being served by the café’s employees see the benefits of the policy, too.

“I think it’s great that the business is taking care of their employees so that customers don’t have to take on the burden,” Cameron Harris, a customer at Top Out Café, said. “Not that it’s a huge deal, I think, to tip.”

“I really enjoy it,” Tyler Cline, another customer, told News 8. It takes a lot of the pressure off when you’re ordering.”

The café has gone viral on Reddit because of the policy.

“I feel like it builds awareness and it builds conversation,” Oakley said.

Top Out Café is hiring now. To learn more about job opportunities, call (317) 953-6669.


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