Broders’ Pasta Bar in Minnesota announced it is adding a 15% “equity charge” to all the bills generated by the restaurant. They say they are doing so because their customers are racist and do not tip enough.
I would never go to that restaurant again, no matter how good their food might be. I generally tip waiters and waitresses 20% unless their service is really bad. But, that is my decision.
I would not patronize a restaurant that wants to take my choice away.
Went to book a reservation at my favorite restaurant in the Cities—Broders'—and was informed all customers were being charged a 15% "equity" charge.
Instead of just paying their employees more, Broders has decided to inform customers they are too racist/sexist to tip properly. pic.twitter.com/LeiC2RcPEm
— Jon Miltimore (@miltimore79) June 22, 2021
Here is their announcement:
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS & EQUITY CHARGES?
Historically, restaurants have relied on customer tipping to supplement the wages of their customer-facing service staff. It is part of a traditional restaurant economic model and many states have allowed reduced minimum wages for service staff in the form of a tip credit. Studies have also shown that there is inequity and built-in bias in the way consumers give tips. In general, Black or Brown servers receive less tips than Caucasian servers. There is gender bias as well. In restaurants, immigrants and people of color work mostly in the kitchens and have no access to gratuities to supplement their hourly wage.
Because Minnesota state law does not allow a tip credit and does not allow restaurants to pool tips, only the direct-facing service employee can decide if there should be sharing of tips among other service workers. Increased menu prices constitute higher tips which, along with increased minimum wages, adds to the disparity between the front customer-facing service staff and back of house kitchen staff.
In the wake of racial injustice protests and the closures due to Covid, now is the time for Broders’ to reimagine its economics and provide fair pay across the company. Minnesota does not allow restaurants to impose an automatic gratuity and pool tips. What we can do is impose a Benefits & Equity Charge on our sales that are not a gratuity. Our Benefits & Equity Charge is applied entirely to employee compensation. This supplement helps us to set a $16 minimum hourly wage for customer-facing employees, $18 minimum hourly wage for kitchen employees (more with increased responsibility) above all government standards, to provide benefits of paid time off & health insurance, and to distribute 5% of daily revenue to all employees based on hours worked. Altogether this allows everyone in our company to earn a real living wage.
The 15% Benefits & Equity Charge is not a gratuity. This means any small gratuities left on top are completely discretionary, but if you choose to tip it will be distributed to only the customer-facing service staff.
If you live in Minnesota, ask yourself, do you want to do business with a restaurant that thinks you are a racist? I know I wouldn’t.