Beginning January 1, 2019, we will be implementing a revision to our business model in order to pay our kitchen staff more fairly in relation to the rest of our team. The disparity of wages between traditional service staff (waitstaff and bartenders) and kitchen staff have continued to grow over the years. We want make this change for the benefit of our exceptional kitchen team, who are instrumental in making your dining experience all that you have come to know and expect from us. In implementing this change, we want:
To be transparent to all about what we are doing.
To explain why we are doing it and why it is so important for us and our industry.
To ask for your support as we implement a new approach.
In the restaurant industry, tipped service members can make 1.5 to 2 times as much as non-tipped kitchen employees. The fundamental issue underlying this widening gap is that tipped employees are often tied to top-line revenue increases through related tip percentages, whereas kitchen employees are substantially limited by tip-sharing restrictions under federal wage law. Every time we increase menu prices to cover inflation somewhere in the expense structure, we cover the expense but widen the wage gap. Every time there is a mandatory minimum wage increase, it widens the wage gap. We want to do what we can to connect (at least part of) our kitchen staff’s compensation to top line revenue if we want to correct the disparity.
Beginning January 1, 2019, we are making a small change to do just that. We are implementing a 2% Livable Wage (Kitchen) Surcharge to your bill. 100% of the surcharge will be divided amongst the kitchen staff based on the amount of hours worked. We believe that this minimal change benefits directly the group of employees who need it the most in order to close the wage gap between service and kitchen staff.
For small restaurants that don’t want to sacrifice craft or integrity in order to serve the communities they love, we believe this is a fair, effective, and sustainable approach. Our hope is that by making the compensation more equitable, we are cultivating a team of employees that feel valued and respected. We hope you agree that these are important principles and strengths of any successful small business.
We thank you for your understanding and continue support as we move to narrow the wage gap.
Jacques and Amelia Leonardi