Minnesota Wage Hike Prompts Restaurant to Pass Costs to Consumers with a New “Minimum Wage” Fee

Our New York employment attorneys applaud the work of Minnesota lawmakers, who recently raised the state minimum wage from $6.15 per hour to $8 per hour. Smaller businesses have more time to prepare for these changes, and they won’t be expected to pay as much as large employers. However, one small restaurant, the Oasis Café in Stillwater, MN, has chosen a public and possibly embarrassing route to show its frustration with the new wage laws.

Customers at the Oasis Café have started to see a new line item on their bills – a flat, 35 cent “minimum wage fee” added to every order. Rather than raising the prices of menu items, the owners of the Oasis decided to make their customers aware of how the wage hike affects them.

“The Oasis management says they estimate the pay increase is costing them more than $10,000 a year,” CBS Minnesota reports. When the restaurant responded to customer complaints on Facebook, they said, “Rather than increase the prices of our menu items, we chose to charge a flat fee.”

The restaurant went on to suggest that if the state of Minnesota passed a tip credit, they wouldn’t have needed the extra revenue. A tip credit reduces the employer’s liability for Medicare and Social Security payments. By not having a tip credit, Minnesota is protecting its tipped workers more than 43 other states.

When Slate.com broke down the costs and analyzed what “$10,000 extra per year” meant for workers, they determined that employees in the restaurant would be earning an extra $2.88 per day. For all that, the owners are still willing to risk public backlash to make their point.

“For what it’s worth,” says Oasis management, “we pay our people very well.”

Are you facing humiliation at work, or do you believe that you’ve been the victim of a wage violation? Call our New York employment attorneys at (212) 688-5640 for a free consultation about your case, or email us at info@jhllp.com.