Days after the new state-wide minimum wage increase, restaurants are finding creative ways to mitigate the cost. Yesterday, Aaron Rupar at City Pages reported that Stillwater's Oasis Cafe has added controversial a minimum wage fee to customers' checks.
Now, the Star Tribune's Jon Tevlin is reporting that the Blue Plate Company, owners of restaurants like Highland Grill, The Lowry and Three Squares is, in part, passing the increased cost onto their employees through tip fees. When customers pay for their meals with a credit card, 2% will be deducted from the tip.
On August 1, Minnesota's state minimum wage began the first of an incremental increase that will eventually, by 2016, increase the lowest legal wage paid to employees from $6.15 to 9.50.
The credit card tip fee isn't unheard of. In 2011, Parasole, owners of Chino Latino, Manny's Steakhouse and the new Libertine began passing the cost of credit and debit card fees onto their employees.
Many businesses bemoan the lack of "tip credit" in the new minimum wage standards, where employees like bartenders and servers often make higher than the minimum wage when gratuity is factored into their wage are exempt from the increase.
· Stillwater Cafe Now Charging Customers a Minimum Wage Fee [CP]
· Minimum Wage Fee on Stillwater Cafe Bill Sparks Conflict [MFTC]
· Perfect Storm Rattles Restaurants, Waitstaff [Star Tribune]