Stillwater cafe now charging customers a "minimum wage fee"

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Oasis Cafe says the minimum wage increase will cost it $10,000 yearly, and it's passing some of that on to customers.
:::: UPDATE :::: River Oasis Cafe getting killed for "Min Wage Fee" on Yelp

Last Friday, for the first time in nearly a decade, Minnesota's minimum wage went up. The first in a series of incremental hikes brought the wage floor from $6.15 to $8 per hour for relatively large companies, and from $5.25 to $6.50 for small ones.

As you'd expect, some businesses aren't thrilled about that -- especially bars and restaurants, as the new law doesn't include a tip exception.

See also:
Mark Dayton backtracks on comments about tipped employees making lower minimum wage [AUDIO]


But the Oasis Cafe in Stillwater is generating a stir for transparently including a "Min Wage Fee" on all customer checks: Morse might not mind, but over on Facebook, Amanda Gutierrez put Oasis on blast for the fee in her caption to another photo of a check from the cafe:

minWageFee.jpg

Here's Gutierrez's caption:
Wow! You couldn't just increase your prices by 35 cents for two meals? Don't you wonder how that makes your employees feel, making them look like the bad guys to their customers. Shame on you. (For the record, I took this photo off a friend's FB page. I wasn't a customer there, nor will I ever be now.)
Oasis Cafe itself responded to Gutierrez's criticism in a series of comments. Here are some of the (unedited) highlights:
WIth regards to why we're charging a $.35 fee to cover the recent $.75 increase in in minimum wage...we estimate the increase in labor cost will will cost our company more than $10,000 per year...which has to be offset by an increase in revenue in order to operate profitably. Rather than increase the prices of our menu items, we chose to charge a flat fee. If the state of Minnesota would pass tip credit, like 43 other states have done, none of this would be necessary. For what it's worth, we pay our people very well. Our dishwashers start at $10/hour, our cooks start at $12/hour and our servers average more than $20 when you consider what they earn in tips...

It certainly was not our intention to put our servers in a bad spot. We're just trying to figure out how to offset what is a very real cost. Dividing a projection of how much our labor cost will increase by a projection of how many orders we'll process seemed like a reasonable and transparent way to cover our cost increase. And while I think your "shame on you" comment was a little harsh...we appreciate and will try to use your input to get better...

With regards to your previous comment about thumbing my nose at the law change...you're right....part of my thinking was to shine a light on this matter...which I truly believe is in the best interest of both my business and employees!
The minimum wage promises to be a campaign issue this fall, as just yesterday, GOP gubernatorial Scott Honour released an economic plan in which he promises to freeze the minimum wage before future incremental increases take it up to $9.50 an hour for large employers in 2016.

Send your story tips to the author, Aaron Rupar. Follow him on Twitter @atrupar.





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412 comments
TrishM
TrishM

They might want to review what they are collecting in Sales Tax.   The Stillwater rate is 7.125%, isn't it?  7.29% ($1.02) is charged on this receipt.   There's some additional "other income" on top of the minimum wage fee.  

Shutupidiot
Shutupidiot

All you rejects will soon be paying much much more for your craft tap beers and your quinoa appetizers. The .35 hike this restaurant is choosing to enact will pale in comparison to hikes you will see at local mom and pop restaurants and tavers that MAKE UP this beautiful Twin City Area.

I wholly endorse the minimum wage increase. But for tipped employees that can earn $15-$40/hour. Why?!?! Dayton should have worked harder to represent the bar/restaurant owners.

This is not about greedy owners trying to make more money, this about keeping a business in business and employees employed in our neighborhood.

Being in the tipped service industry for many many years, earning tips made up for 80% of my income. The hourly wage is not what will make or break your monthly budget for the average tipped server or bartender.

dhillmsp
dhillmsp

One wonders - are they advertising this on their menu or elsewhere in the restaurant? If not, isn't that deceptive advertising? It sounds like I wouldn't know what the _actual_ cost of my meal is until I get the check.

https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=325F.69

Look at Subdivision 1.

As for the whole "aren't they smart for making it a fee not subject to sales tax" thread...it's still income. If they have broken it out so that it isn't subject to sales tax, it'll get hit with the income tax. Isn't that higher? And if that's the case, aren't they screwing themselves to make a point? Not that they're not already, mind you....

Evan Nicole Sewell
Evan Nicole Sewell

Does no one understand economics? If you raise min wage obviously the prices of everything will increase. That's why $10 ten years ago would get you more then $10 now.

marshmallow_roar
marshmallow_roar

Wow.  Nine dollars for Corned beef and hash.  Thirty-five cents for minimum wage increase seems like a bargain.  If you doubled it to 70 cents and doubled their increase, I'd be even happier.

jimbojones
jimbojones

Frankly, there isn't enough data here to really nail this down. We don't know for sure if this is a $0.35 surcharge per ticket, or if it's based on the ticket amount. We don't know what their ticket average is and we don't know gross sales, either. However, if the fee is based on sales, then that $0.35 is 2.5% of the $14.00 amount shown on the ticket, which is what you'd expect the impact of the $0.75 raise to be if their labor cost was 25%, which would be typical. This still doesn't let Oasis off the hook, though. This was a poorly done political statement, pure and simple.The only way this would have been less tacky is if they also called out on their tickets every increase in food costs, energy, rent, paper goods, insurance, etc.

ljames02
ljames02

The restaurant claims their wait staff makes $20 an hour after tips and they are upset that the state raised the minimum wage to $8 and hour? That makes no sense

owlmoonrising
owlmoonrising

My friend and I just spent 2 days in Stillwater on vacation.  We ate out there twice.  I am happy that we didn't support an establishment that uses public shaming of its hard-working employees for their own gain.  I'll remember that name, and will not bother darkening their door on our next trip.  Minnesota----your minimum wage is really sad.  Making Iowa look progressive!

Elisa Vicuña
Elisa Vicuña

It seems unnecessary for them to claim that the minimum wage increase will impact their budget if they're already paying their employees more than minimum wage.

Renae Wesenberg
Renae Wesenberg

I lived in Stillwater for 7 years and never ate there and now never would!

Sandra Olmsted
Sandra Olmsted

Just raise the prices to cove the new expenses. Since tips are based on a percentage of the tab, they go up as well. And guess what? The State gets more $$ in sales taxes.

Nathan Trimbach
Nathan Trimbach

This time next year: "Stillwater Cafe who charged customers a minimum wage fee closes its doors".

Michael Bellerue
Michael Bellerue

All of that was covered prior to this charge. Congratulations, you're bad at math.

Chris Porto
Chris Porto

If your profit margins are that small that you can't afford to pay the employees minimum wage, than you probably didn't have a very good business to begin with

Kelsey Scootaloo Isakson
Kelsey Scootaloo Isakson

or you're unaware of the costs of food, their lease, paying back for equipment to open the business, menus, advertising (I assume), yearly tax. that shit adds up. open your own business. see how "easy" it is to keep it running while trying to make a profit.

Bailey Staben
Bailey Staben

While I agree that the .35 is no big deal, I do wonder why it was necessary if they are already paying more than minimum wage. They are a business and can charge whatever costs and fees they want. We, the consumers, also have a choice to go there or not.

Kelsey Scootaloo Isakson
Kelsey Scootaloo Isakson

the point of owning a business is to make money... there is NO other reason than to make money. so either way, you're dumb.

Kelsey Scootaloo Isakson
Kelsey Scootaloo Isakson

I hope you idiots realize that businesses big or small are raising prices. this business is too, but being honest without raising all fees. what's an extra .35 cents. you ignorant fucks don't know how hard it is to raise a business. if you don't like this shit, don't shop At fuckin wal-mart or mcdonalds. those are the REAL places fucking over their employees. did you read the starting wages for this cafe? that's pretty awesome considering the places that can actually pay more, aka the evil empire, don't.

Paloma Mohler
Paloma Mohler

Have you been to Oasis Cafe? It is a pretty small place so before u make up number swing by. They have great food , reasonable prices and friendly atmosphere . The owner is always there greeting clients and he is always working pretty hard

Chris Porto
Chris Porto

Paying your employees is the cost of doing business. If you don't want to pay them, than don't run a business.

Jon Eisenberg
Jon Eisenberg

They should pull on their big boy and girl pants and adjust their business model as needed just like everyone else in the world does to every other change that comes down the road. Speaking of roads, when they get a special assessment for road repairs or street lighting, do they tack on a surcharge for that? Do they add a "fee" when their water and sewer bill goes up? Of course not. Because this is all about politics.

musket62
musket62

You people absolutely amaze me. This is another form of tax is it not? When government mandates an increase in wages, it is an indirect tax. It's right there in your face and now you can't face what you voted for.You all want to piss on the rug but none of you will allow your faces to be rubbed into it. This fee posted on the ticket is not  intended to punish the worker but to illustrate to you simple minded people how much more you will now be paying. You cheap bastard will most likely now not go to the establishment or you will reduce your tip to offset the increase. When the server loses his or her job your "compassion" for the "working poor" will fly out the window and you'll all remain pathetic and fake like you've always been.

Laura Busch
Laura Busch

35 cents extra? I have no problem with that.

Marty Richie
Marty Richie

Surprised? That's what every business will do when you raise the cost on them. From Apple to your local grocery store, they all do it

Trent Heiss
Trent Heiss

duh...how do you think economics works?

Michael Mitchell
Michael Mitchell

Republicrats. You can't teach stupid. And you can't teach cheapskate.

Kirk Burback
Kirk Burback

Want to see the voting stats? The election night totals are all available on the MN SOS website. The sixth congressional district is a big area, or don't you know what that is?

Mitchell Otterson
Mitchell Otterson

It is a unusual forced cost. So it is normal to list additionally on a bill. A liquor tax, conservation fee, hospitality tax, ect are listed separately, but never the extra cost of bottling the booze, the energy, paper, or maintenance costs. The was the business owners choice rather than upping the price on his product. What would it matter if 20 years from now the guy charges a $50 or $100 labor fee, but your burger and fries are still $7.50? Rather than it being $57.50 or $107.50 for the same burger and fries. It all costs the same. He is just showing you what government actions are costing you and proving that when they just hand out raises, things cost more.

Shutupidiot
Shutupidiot

You're an idiot. Hope you fall in a manhole today

hinder
hinder

Why blame the cafe? they are just being honest about why the price went up. They could of added the .35 to food or drinks, however they placed were straight forward about why the costs went up.

kldrshadow
kldrshadow

hhhhmmmmm...so by adding the charge of $0.35 after the tax as a special minimum wage fee they make sure the customer does not get an extra tax on top. Nice. And if they were to raise their prices all around instead of just adding the fee the bill would be a lot higher as would the tax, even if they only bumped each food and drink item up by $0.20. $0.20 by how many food/drink items per order X tax =???

Kind of slick on their part. 

Shutupidiot
Shutupidiot

Yeah right. I'll be sure to spend plenty of money there to keep then in business. God Bless America and it's free enterprise

Shutupidiot
Shutupidiot

Tasty food, great prices, great waitstaff that do not feel shamed about their job.

DavidFoureyes
DavidFoureyes topcommenter

@musket62 Do you imagine it easier for a server to find a new serving job, or an ignoramus to start a new business?

kldrshadow
kldrshadow

And by adding it as a separate fee instead of just paying out a bunch to Redo their menus charging more per each item, the Government isn't getting a higher tax per meal ;)

If they raised the menu to charge an extra $0.05 to $0.25 per food or drink item then the bill would be higher therefore so would the amount of tax on the bill...wonder how long before the government throws a fit because they want the few extra cents per meal from this restaurant in taxes....

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