In response to the recent minimum wage increase in Minnesota from $7.25 to $8, some restaurants have started tacking extra fees onto customer's bills or taking them directly from servers' tips to offset costs. The worst part? It's all totally legal.
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the .75 cent wage hike took effect at the beginning of the month, and is the first increase in the state in the past decade. To compensate, business owners like those at the Blue Plate Co. — which oversees eight restaurants in the area — have resorted to "creative" measures to keep costs down, such implementing a new credit card fee that will ultimately shave about 2 - 3% from servers' tips each time a customer doesn't pay with cash.
Another tactic used by the owner of the Oasis Cafe in Stillwater is a .35 cent "minimum wage" fee added on at the end of customer's meals.
Locals, understandably, are pissed.
"Putting [minimum wage] fees on tickets and passing the cost on to consumers directly is strange at best, and creates an ‘us against them’ mentality while ordering dinner,” Wade Luneberg, secretary and treasurer of MN State Council of UNITE HERE Unions, told the Star Tribune.
“It’s just bad morale when [the owner] drives up in a Porsche, and yet he wants my 2 percent,” a Blue Plate Co. employee also said.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Dept. of Labor considers such loopholes perfectly legitimate, granted the deductions don't result in workers making less than minimum wage. Which means, as long as we continue to live in this great, blue-blooded, capitalist-minded nation of ours, the future of higher minimum wages isn't looking too bright. Go. Freaking. Figure.