Open letter to everyone who cares about workers, restaurants, and good food
We, the undersigned restaurant owners, write to express our full support for eliminating the subminimum wage for tipped workers. We believe that paying One Fair Wage is good for both workers and business. This can be accomplished by passing the Raise the Wage Act (H.R. 582, S. 150) in the 116th U.S. Congres. Workers can expect better wages along with equal or even better tips. And we can expect a more professional and sustainable workforce that experiences less sexual harassment.
As the owners of restaurants and restaurant chains, we recognize that the complete dining experience—from the quality of the food to the promptness and friendliness of the service—is what ensures that our guests return. To create that positive experience, we rely on all of our staff: the servers, hosts, runners, bussers, expediters, cooks, dishwashers, and more.
Tips can act as an incentive or bonus for exceptional service but should not be a substitute for the living base-wage that all working people need. To deny any of our employees the same minimum wage that workers in other professions rightly receive creates an unfair, tiered system between sectors, increasing pressure on customers to compensate for missing wages. This tiered wage system makes it difficult for us to recruit and retain the truly exceptional staff that we depend on to create a great dining experience in our restaurants. Paying our workers well reduces training and turnover costs, and ensures better service and productivity.
As you know, seven states, including California, have done away with this two-tiered wage system and have thriving restaurant industries. When compared with states that have not raised tipped workers’ wages to their regular minimum wage, those that have already done so have experienced higher restaurant sales per full-service restaurant employee, weighted by population. Those states also have higher predicted industry growth than the states that maintain the two-tiered system. Further, one-wage states have full service restaurant employment and establishment growth rates that outpace those with a lower minimum wage for tipped workers. The two-tiered system simply does not make sense for workers or business owners.
We support the elimination of the subminimum wage for tipped employees because restaurant workers are professionals and they deserve professional wages. Please pass the Raise the Wage Act.