By Hayley Peterson
A Pittsburgh restaurant just banished tips and in return, started paying employees a $35,000 salary with benefits.
The restaurant, called Bar Marco, is also giving its workers health care, 500 shares in the company, and paid vacation.
“America needs to realize that working in the restaurant industry is an occupation,” Bar Marco co-owner Robert Fry told Eater.
All 20 of Bar Marco’s employees have signed the new contracts, which state that they will work a maximum of 40 to 44 hours per week and get two days and one night off a week. Employees will also get 10 paid vacation days per year.
“This is truly touching and incredible,” employee Csilla Marie Thackray wrote on the company’s Facebook page. “So proud to be a part of such a phenomenal and supportive company.”
Full-time salaries are rare in the restaurant industry and the minimum wage for tipped workers is meager. In Pennsylvania, the tipped minimum wage is is $2.83.
The restaurant has been inundated with resumes from prospective workers since announcing the changes.”All of our current employees have seen and approved the contract,” Fry told Pittsburgh Next. “They will have a lot of responsibilities, too — like being present at bi-monthly finance meetings. We want complete transparency. We want people who want to be part of what we are doing and who want to grow with us.”
Fry worked with long-time employees to craft the new compensation plan, according to Eater.
If Bar Marco employees still receive tips despite the ban, the money will be donated to a program that the restaurant runs that teaches kids to cook.