Business is people. Whether its our customers, our vendors, or us the employees – it’s all about people. In our seventh year of being open COVID brought this idea which has always been at the forefront to mean something new. In our industry two topics that are continually targeted as problems with no clear-cut solutions are livable wages and affordable health care.
Regardless of the fact that we’re not mandated to provide health insurance for our employees, or that we’re a very small company and costs are much higher – we aren’t who we are without our people. That is why we made the decision to provide benefits to our employees. And not the kind of benefits that are just window dressing. Actual health benefits that aren’t too costly for the employees to receive.
We’ve also changed our pay structure. Typical restaurants in the state of Florida pay their servers a tipped wage of under $6/hour and their kitchen staff an hourly wage or salary. The result of this in some establishments is servers end up making at least double what kitchen staff does, if not triple or more. Both sides of the house (servers and cooks) work hard, have their own expertise, but because our business has changed drastically in the last twenty years one side now receives disproportionately more compensation.
We’ve never viewed this as fair and could never figure out a solution. Because of COVID we were forced to change our style of service from full service to pub style and we found our solution. Every employee now, from the delivery driver to the dish washer to the bartender are in the tip pool. Everyone shares every dollar that is tipped by customers because everyone contributes. We can’t preach we’re a team, and then value one responsibility more than another."