The Cost of Service

The Toronto Star is reporting that Joe Badali’s restaurant has backed down from a proposed $2 levy against their servers to cover the costs of cleaning aprons.

A popular Toronto restaurant has backed down after trying to claw back most of the extra 20 cents an hour it has to pay its minimum-wage waiters.

Joe Badali’s, on Front St. at University Ave., told servers it would start charging them $2 a shift to cover the costs of washing their aprons and providing notepads and cash envelopes.

This charge would essentially strip the staff of any increase they might expect to reap in yesterday’s rise in minimum wage.

While Joe Badali’s now says they will leave the charge at the current 50 cents per server per shift to cover cleaning costs, even that seems a little miserly to me. Laundry bills are part of the cost of running a restaurant, and servers or staff shouldn’t have to pay for the cleaning costs of items necessary to the job like aprons or chef’s whites. Having worked at establishments where there was an enforced uniform that had to be purchased from head office (a tacky little vest while working as a barista at a local coffee chain), I’d even go so far to say that uniforms that cannot be readily supplied by the servers themselves (ie. white shirt, black pants) should be offered to staff free of charge.

What’s next – is Joe Badali’s going to start charging the dishwashers for soap, or the bartenders for ice?