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The traditional American restaurant pay structure, including wages and tips, originated with racist and exploitative motivations. 


We believe restaurants must provide a fair base wage for their employees in a way that confronts discrimination and harassment. We also believe guests should not expect service without being required to pay for it. Standard menu pricing has historically only represented food costs and overhead that does not include the cost of service, because that cost was dependent upon an unguaranteed form of payment via non-compulsory tipping.

Without guaranteed pay, servers have to swallow racial discrimination, sexual harassment, verbal harassment, and a guest's mood on a given day, which may have nothing to do with the quality of service at all, in hopes they will be paid by guests, through tips, for the work/service they are doing for guests.

In America, many of us have a cognitive dissonance around the cost of food AND the services we receive. We've all heard it, but it's true: restaurants run on extremely thin margins. In our discussions about how to overcome the problems with the wage/tip system we discussed a variety of options for our restaurant.

Some restaurants we researched pay a competitive living wage, but are only able to do so because the restaurant keeps all tips from guests in order to cover the overhead costs of that wage increase. We felt that wasn't entirely transparent or fair.

Other restaurants raise the prices of their menu items to offset the overhead cost of raising the base pay of staff, but many people would probably balk at an $8+ taco or an $18+ burger (without fries), not understanding where that money was going.

So, we chose to confront the system by not taking a tip credit, paying a higher than standard minimum wage for all employees, but without raising prices even higher, we cannot give as much as they deserve. Therefore this wage is supplemented by charging standard menu prices for food and operational costs, but requiring a separate payment for services rendered, as well. This is labor that our staff provides to our guests, and instead of asking for payment in return for that service, we now require payment for those services rendered.

100% of those service charges are split amongst all members of the restaurant (front and back of house) working a shift that day, and our staff has transparent access to spreadsheets that show how those funds are distributed back to them. This guarantees a fair, living, and competitive wage to our staff, based on the labor and services they provide, through a combination of service charges and a higher than standard minimum wage from us for all staff.

In the same way that a car mechanic requires people to pay for parts and the labor to change the oil or replace an alternator in a car, we also require people to pay for the service/labor they receive when dining with us. A mechanic's pay for work is guaranteed and is not based on some hope for monetary kindness.

Most people do not find it problematic when they are required to pay for "parts AND labor" at a car mechanic or when you have someone come repair your appliances. Being required to pay for "food AND labor" at a restaurant should also not be seen as problematic. Not paying for service/labor is demeaning and a devaluation of the people that work in the service industry.

Additionally, it is illegal in other professions for an employer to dock wages for subpar work or for an employee having an "off" day. We also believe servers wages should not be left to the whims of every person that walks through our doors. We intend to deal with repeated issues with subpar service the same way they are dealt with in other professions: via reasonable and appropriate human resource methods, which will sometimes include termination. However, none of those methods include withholding pay for work already provided.

We hope you understand our position on this important matter. We also hope that the service you receive with us is not just sufficient, but delightful. If we fail you, please bring it to the attention of our management or ownership, and we will do our best to listen, take any advice provided, and provide our staff with better training so that your next experience is better. What we will not do is financially penalize our staff by docking their pay via removing service charges from bills. This is illegal in most professions and should be in restaurants as well.


If your experience was great, and you want to show extra gratitude by leaving an additional tip on top of the standard service charge, then please do, and then go tell your friends about us.

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