Casa Bonita the Wolrd Famous Restaurant Has Eliminated Tipping, and People Are Outraged- Here’s Why

By: Ene Ayegba | Last updated: Nov 09, 2023

Casa Bonita is a well-known Mexican restaurant located in Lakewood, Colorado.

Years after being featuring on the American animated television series South Park, its new owners renovated the place and decided to get rid of the tipping culture.

First Impressions: A Pretty Facade

Casa Bonita, which means ‘pretty house’ in Spanish, is an iconic pink 52,000-square-foot restaurant in Colorado. The 50-year-old building’s initial construction started in 1972, and it began serving customers March 27, 1974.


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The restaurant is well known for its Mexican food, entertainment like cliff diving, a pool, mariachi bands, and the overall unique ambiance. However, it closed down in 2020 due to bankruptcy.

The ‘South Park’ Influence

As mentioned, Casa Bonita was featured in the American animated television series, South Park—the 107th episode of the series was named after the restaurant.


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In 2021, after the restaurant was shut down due to lack of business during Covid, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone bought the established. With an astonishing sum of $40 million, they renovated the restaurant and reopened to the public in June 2023.

The Disneyland of Mexican Restaurants

The newly renovated restaurant was tagged “The Disneyland of Mexican Restaurants” by the Denver Gazette. It features an indoor cave called “Black Bart’s Cave.” It held onto its mariachi band and cliff diving with just a few changes.


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Presently, the restaurant renders the services of an entertainment destination. It sends links through email to its patrons. This service lets the guest buy tickets to enter and dine at Casa Bonita.

Casa Bonita’s New Features

The massive eatery announced it would be open to a limited number of people on a limited basis, only taking in guests who subscribe to the email list.


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That way, subscribers would continuously get emails and have the ability to dine. Casa Bonita also released a new but similar menu. The main difference is the food is made fresh.

More Than a Living Wage

In addition to its newly added features, the restaurant is presumed to provide over five hundred jobs. A few days before the reopening, the restaurant let employees know they would be paid $30 per hour.


According to the labor department in Colorado, the minimum wage for employees in the state is $13.65. The news of their salary might have been a welcomed by the employees, but there was a catch.


Casa Bonita Salary Structure

The new salary structure was made known to the employees in a contract they were asked to sign. They would get $30 per hour on the condition that they would no longer collect tips. The workers were asked to make their decision in one day.

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Some employees were unhappy with the contract, but they were free to quit if they didn’t find it favorable.


Source of Income Analysis

According to some employees, the hourly rate seems like a better and more stable source of income. That will be the case when the restaurant is not too busy. However, if the restaurant is packed full of customers, the potential to make a lot in tips would be high.

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The employees were also not sure of what would happen or what they would do if a patron left a tip because it was not indicated in the contract.


A Fair and Efficient Compensation System

According to a spokesperson for the restaurant, Stefanie Jones, the $30 hourly wage was decided after a testing period. “Based on the current beta-testing of our unique restaurant, our compensation system was modified for efficiency and fairness,” Stefanie explained.

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“The restaurant values its employees,” she stated. The gigantic eatery has a reason for canceling tips.


Appeasement and Compensations

Casa Bonita decided to doing away with the ‘no tipping’ rule because of customers’ complaints. Many businesses have asked their customers to tip employees at cash registers and even at checkout stations.

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Since many patrons have complained about tipping fatigue, the establishment decided to eliminate tips to appease their customers. And to compensate their employees, they increased the hourly wage. Only time will tell if the employees will come out on top!