By Bethany Jean Clement
The Seattle Times.
IN $15 NEWS, RENEE ERICKSON is eliminating tipping at her (great) restaurants The Walrus and the Carpenter, Barnacle and The Whale Wins.
She’ll institute a service charge of 18.5 percent, with “a smaller wage gap between back of the house and front of the house workers” (which is great), while providing health insurance and matching retirement savings for all, and maintaining everyone’s current total take-home pay.
It’s a fraught topic, and feedback on social media has been mixed, but Erickson and her partners say, “The only people we are cutting pay for is ourselves.” They’ll also revisit the possibility of eliminating the service charge and raising menu prices at such a time when there’s less worry of driving customers away.
While there are many ways to handle $15 (and critics of all of them), Erickson’s choice is an admirable one. (You have until the end of May to go say goodbye to her original Boat Street Cafe; she’s closing it to concentrate on her other and upcoming spots.)