We Believe in Fair Wages
For 25 years we’ve cultivated connections, relationships and gratitude to bring Good Real Food to our community and be the change we want to see.
One change we’ve long struggled to make is addressing the pay equity gap between our servers and kitchen staff. The hard truth is that the people who make your food take home significantly less money than the people who serve it. This inequity has been fostered and reinforced by a dual wage structure — one that governs the front of house where tips subsidize pay and one that governs the back of the house, where the pay is based on a market rate that is low by most career standards. This dual wage structure and tip dependence are at the core of most restaurant business models in the United States and until recent years, we here at Birchwood Cafe accepted this as the norm.
Today, we clearly see how the practice and legacy of tipping are not aligned with who we say we are. Respect, teamwork, equity, and interdependence are values we embrace yet tipping always fostered a front of house/ back of house dichotomy that ran counter to these values. If we truly believe that all our employees deserve reliable, fair pay and that kitchen and service staff are equally essential and should be equitably compensated, then it is our responsibility to adopt a wage structure that supports our beliefs.
As of July 1st 2019, we no longer accept tips. We do add an 18% Fair Wage Share service charge to each check. The Fair Wage Share is not a tip, it is part of our new compensation plan to ensure more equitable wages and enhanced benefits for ALL employees. Fair Wage Share is added to all dine-in guest checks, take out orders, house made retail foods, bakery and holiday meal orders. All staff have a hand in creating good real food and our employee pay scale now reflects that. We've left both tipping and the front of house/back of house dichotomy behind to come together as One House where all employees; dishwashers, servers and cooks, are equally valued and more equitably paid —without tips.
Fair Wage Share
Provides reliable, consistent income to all employees
Narrows the existing pay gap between the servers and kitchen staff
Raises the pay rate floor to $15 per hour
Enhances our employee benefits (Health Insurance, Paid Time Off, Simple IRA, Meal Plan)
Supports a sustainable business model that aligns with our values
This change has been years in the making and our decision to add a Fair Wage Share, rather than increase prices was intentional, both to lend transparency and to be a talking point to raise awareness.
Fair Wage Share is the next step on our path to fulfilling our mission to connect people to where our food comes from and ultimately, to each other. We are truly grateful for your engagement and support.
Good Real Food is...
Made from scratch
with minimally processed & freshly farmed or foraged ingredients.
Sourced from farmers
and producers with honest hearts and clear intentions.
Prepared with produce that is
grown naturally & without pesticides,
and with animals that are raised humanely.
Prepared with respect
for the integrity & identity of the ingredients,
with precise execution & technique, beautiful presentation,
and the best flavors possible.
served by those with generous souls
and the desire to take care of people.
Paired with thought & consideration
for what it’s being consumed with,
where & when it’s being consumed,
and who is consuming it.
Found in a place that
supports local agriculture & fair trade practices,
and invites its community to be active participants in the process.
Eaten by those who care
about where their food comes from
and how their food is grown, treated, handled, and prepared.
Part of a food system that is
transparent, fair, just, and accessible to everyone;
it’s goal is the mutual benefit of all participants.
Taking into account the
well-being of the entire system
and all its components at every step.
Fostering community, revealing connections, and inspiring gratitude;
seeing how food connects us to each other, ourselves, and the world around us.