Restaurants Can Provide Livable Wages

A How-to-Guide for Restaurateurs to Transition Profitably to One Fair Wage

The restaurant industry is in a moment of crisis.  Since the start of the pandemic, tipped workers have reported a dramatic decrease in tips and increased exposure to health risks, hostility, and harassment. Not surprisingly, over half – 53 percent – of workers surveyed have reported that they are considering leaving the restaurant industry, 76 percent of those workers say they are leaving because wages and tips are too low, and 78 percent reported that they would stay if given a full, stable, livable wage.

This Guide provides both an economic model and practical recommendations for how employers can profitably raise wages and end the subminimum wage for tipped workers. In particular, the Guide demonstrates how restaurants can profitably accommodate the wage increases called for in the federal Raise the Wage Act, currently being considered in Congress. The Act would phase out over time the federal sub-minimum wage received by tipped workers from $2.13 an hour to $15.


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