livable wage surcharge

livable wage surcharge (denver)

Why we are changing our business model, and why you will see a surcharge fee on your bill.

Beginning June 16, 2017 we will be changing our business model in order to be able to pay our kitchen staff more fairly in relation to the rest of our team. The disparity between service staff and kitchen staff compensation has been growing for many years. We want to do this for the benefit of our kitchen team. 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 to us and our industry.
· To ask for support as we implement a new approach.
Generally in restaurants, 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 tied to top-line revenue increases and minimum wage increases, whereas kitchen employees are tied solely to bottom line results.
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. How can we as owners tolerate a scenario whereby half of our team’s compensation is about 50% lower than the other half’s? We need to connect (at least part of) their compensation to top line revenue if we want to correct the disparity.
Beginning June 16, 2017 we are making a small change. We are implementing a 2% Kitchen Livable Wage Surcharge to your bill. 100% of the surcharge will be divided amongst the kitchen staff based on the amount of hours worked. We know many people will ask, “Why don’t you just raise your prices? Our response is that in fact we are raising prices, albeit in a different way that specifically aims 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 support our local farmers, our community, and our staff.  You’ll feel and taste the difference!  We thank you for your understanding and support as we move to correct this issue.


Keith and Stephanie