This Labor Day Weekend Watch Out for “Living Wage” Surcharges on Restaurant Bills

Yep, it’s happening. To deal with the pressure of offering $15/hr. and or increased wages to employees, one Pacific Northwest restaurant chain decided to add a one percent “living wage” surcharge to all bills.

Restaurants Unlimited, Inc., a Seattle-based restaurant group, operates restaurants in 10 states. It owns Henry’s Tavern, Newport Seafood Grill, Stanford’s, and several others in Portland.

Regardless if it’s food or just drinks, diners can expect to see a one percent surcharge applied to their entire bill– before sales tax. The income from the surcharge is added to a separate payroll account, the company states.

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The Oregonian reports that restaurants in Portland are taking similar approaches to offer “living wages” to their employees.

Restaurant Biwa and Nonna added a “health and wellness” surcharge to all bills. The surcharge is designed to fund health insurance and other employee benefits.

Le Pigeon and Park Kitchen, other eateries in the Portland area, ended the option for diners to tip, instead increased its prices. They hope the adjustment will compensate its servers and kitchen staff more fairly.


Bethany Blankley

Bethany Blankley is a political analyst for Fox News Radio and has appeared on television and radio programs nationwide. She writes about political, cultural, and religious issues in America from the perspective of an evangelical and former communications staffer. She was a communications strategist for four U.S. Senators, one U.S. Congressman, a former New York governor, and several non-profits. She earned her MA in Theology from The University of Edinburgh, Scotland and her BA in Political Science from the University of Maryland. Follow her @bethanyblankley &

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