Shake Shack Founder Joins Push For $15 Tipped Minimum Wage

By Sahid Fawaz

One of New York’s most successful restaurant entrepreneurs, and the founder of Shake Shack, is joining workers in support of $15 tipped minimum wage. reports:

“The battle over tipped minimum wage in restaurants is ramping up: On Tuesday, more than 20 restaurateurs — including Danny Meyer — called for the elimination of a tipped minimum wage in New York, while another set of restaurateurs are hosting a press conference this week arguing against the change.

Currently, the tipped minimum in NYC is $8.70, and that is set to rise to $10 by the end of the year, which is still less than the $15 full minimum wage for non-tipped workers. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Labor will have its final day of hearings on Wednesday, deciding whether or not to eliminate the tipped minimum in favor of paying all staff the same minimum wage.

On one side, restaurant owners part of the Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards in Employment (RAISE) wrote a letter to Cuomo Tuesday arguing in favor of getting rid of the tipped minimum. The group includes Union Square Hospitality Group’s Meyer, Dirt Candy owner Amanda Cohen, Diner NYC Restaurant Group (Marlow & Sons, Reynard) owner Andrew Tarlow, and Gjelina co-owner Shelley Armistead.

In the letter, they say that eliminating the tipped minimum is good for workers and for business. Seven other states — California, Alaska, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington, Wisconsin, and Nevada — have gotten rid of it, and the letter argues that those states ‘have 13 percent higher restaurant sales by population’ compared to New York and also outpace New York in restaurant employment and establishment growth rates.

Though some of restaurants have no-tipping policies, the letter does not call for the elimination of tipping altogether: ‘Tips can act as an incentive or bonus for exceptional service but should not be a substitute for the living base wage that all workers need,’ the letter . . . reads.”

For the rest of the story, visit here.

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