Most dining guides focus on the basics: How does the food taste? How is the service? How fancy is the decor? But none of this information prepares diners for showing up at a recommended establishment only to realize that all of the black employees are kept in the back, all of the bussing staff is Latino, and only the pretty white people are allowed to earn tips in service. Further, with the legal minimum wage for service workers at a disastrously low $2.13 an hour, how can we be sure that hard service work is being rewarded with a living wage?
The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United has released a different kind of resource, The National Diners’ Guide, that evaluates restaurants by three criteria: provision of paid sick days, wages of at least $9 per hour for non-tipped workers and $5 per hour of tipped workers, and opportunities for internal advancement. Armed with this information, consumers can spend their hard-earned money at business that treat workers fairly instead of at those that are part of the problem. Workers who do not get sick days are more likely to infect your food with whatever is making them sick, and the inability to advance internally has kept minority service workers at an income standstill or pushed them into the fast-food segment for decades. Instead of contributing to the status quo, let’s use our dollars wisely!
Read more about this free resource at Colorlines.