None of us should mind paying an extra 35 cents to make sure the employees of our favorite restaurant are paid minimum wage. But when the owner tacks it onto the bill as a way of getting in the face of anyone supporting that notion, it seems spiteful and mean.
Oasis Cafe owner Craig Beemer said the fee is needed to offset the 75-cent wage hike that took effect Aug. 1, the first time Minnesota’s minimum wage has increased in a decade. Even with only half a dozen servers, Beemer says it will cost him $10,000 more a year to pay servers $8 an hour instead of the federal rate of $7.25 an hour. Instead of adding it on to food prices, he added the “minimum wage fee” — the only restaurant known to do so in Minnesota so far.
It’s set off a firestorm of debate on Facebook and in the east metro community, with one customer calling the cafe Wednesday to demand a refund and others taking to Facebook to encourage people to boycott the roadside cafe.
“We’re shocked at what’s going on,” manager Colin Orcutt said of the public response. “We’re all appalled at the response for just protecting his employees. We’re just doing what we have to do.”
It’s not the only restaurant responding to the wage hike.
Blue Plate Co., which owns eight restaurants in the Twin Cities and has about 650 workers, says the wage increase and rising expenses because of the health care law will cost the company $1.25 million, prompting it to increase prices and add a fee to servers when a credit card is used to pay a tip.
Eight bucks an hour isn't even a living wage. But if these guys are so concerned about how expensive it is to give their employees health care and a decent wage, wait until they have less customers as a consequence of their mean-spiritedness.
A better way to do this would simply have been to raise the prices a bit, and tell customers the prices are a little higher in order to provide those servers with a decent wage and some health care. Who objects to that?
The way they did it, they may as well invite customers to stiff servers on their tips. It's just selfish and mean.