Last Friday, for the first time in nearly a decade, Minnesota's minimum wage went up. The first in a series of incremental hikes brought the wage floor from $6.15 to $8 per hour for relatively large companies, and from $5.25 to $6.50 for small ones.
As you'd expect, some businesses aren't thrilled about that -- especially bars and restaurants, as the new law doesn't include a tip exception.
Mark Dayton backtracks on comments about tipped employees making lower minimum wage [AUDIO]
But the Oasis Cafe in Stillwater is generating a stir for transparently including a "Min Wage Fee" on all customer checks:
More than happy to pay the 35 cent min wage fee. Small price to pay... literally. pic.twitter.com/EL6IINBZZj
Here's Gutierrez's caption:
Wow! You couldn't just increase your prices by 35 cents for two meals? Don't you wonder how that makes your employees feel, making them look like the bad guys to their customers. Shame on you. (For the record, I took this photo off a friend's FB page. I wasn't a customer there, nor will I ever be now.)Oasis Cafe itself responded to Gutierrez's criticism in a series of comments. Here are some of the (unedited) highlights:
WIth regards to why we're charging a $.35 fee to cover the recent $.75 increase in in minimum wage...we estimate the increase in labor cost will will cost our company more than $10,000 per year...which has to be offset by an increase in revenue in order to operate profitably. Rather than increase the prices of our menu items, we chose to charge a flat fee. If the state of Minnesota would pass tip credit, like 43 other states have done, none of this would be necessary. For what it's worth, we pay our people very well. Our dishwashers start at $10/hour, our cooks start at $12/hour and our servers average more than $20 when you consider what they earn in tips...The minimum wage promises to be a campaign issue this fall, as just yesterday, GOP gubernatorial Scott Honour released an economic plan in which he promises to freeze the minimum wage before future incremental increases take it up to $9.50 an hour for large employers in 2016.
It certainly was not our intention to put our servers in a bad spot. We're just trying to figure out how to offset what is a very real cost. Dividing a projection of how much our labor cost will increase by a projection of how many orders we'll process seemed like a reasonable and transparent way to cover our cost increase. And while I think your "shame on you" comment was a little harsh...we appreciate and will try to use your input to get better...
With regards to your previous comment about thumbing my nose at the law change...you're right....part of my thinking was to shine a light on this matter...which I truly believe is in the best interest of both my business and employees!
Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.