Restaurant employees have one of the most physically demanding occupations, nevertheless, many professionals in the field continue to be chronically underpaid.
The fact that employees often have to depend on tips from customers in order to generate a pay that can support a living adds another layer of worry to an already tough working environment.
But the proprietors of a restaurant in San Francisco have been challenging the conventional wisdom for years with their “tip-free” business model, which ensures that every member of their staff receives a decent salary in addition to full benefits and even a portion of the restaurant’s earnings.
When Jennifer Piallat took over as manager of the famous brunch eatery Zazie in 2015, she eliminated the practice of leaving tips for the staff.
And in order for Piallat to maintain such a business model, it was necessary to raise the cost of everything on the menu by twenty percent. She was prepared for resistance, but the reaction of the clients was unexpectedly positive to the adjustments.
If customers liked the new policy, then employees probably liked it even more. A revenue share equal to twenty-five percent of each and every item on the menu is distributed directly to the staff members.
Piallat is now in a position to provide all of its full-time and part-time workers with paid sick leave and vacation leave, fully funded health and dental insurance, paid maternity or paternity leave.
She made light of the situation by joking, “The only one losing money is me “Even though my accountant is against it, I went ahead and did it.”
Additionally, Piallat is of the opinion that total openness in the workplace is essential to maintaining a positive environment; so, she displays a spreadsheet with all of the relevant numerical data.
Because of these shifts, three of Zazie’s long-time employees have been able to become co-owners of the French restaurant during the course of its history.
In January of 2020, Piallat sold Zazie to three of its workers who had a combined total of fifty years of experience working at the restaurant: the restaurant’s executive chef, one of its waiters, and the general manager and, currently, Piallat is an owner of the company to the extent of 25 percent.