Earlier this month, two Minnesota-based restaurant chains announced plans to start charging their own servers for their customers' credit card fees, as part of a plan to help offset a recent state minimum wage increase. But after an online backlash, the owners of the Blue Plate Restaurant Co. announced today that they have "resumed paying the credit card fees on servers tips immediately" — and plan to bump servers' salaries to $9.69 per hour, more than 20 percent more than the state's current minimum wage.
Employees of Blue Plate, which owns eight restaurants, were originally incensed that the credit-card fee collection — roughly two percent — was framed as part of a memo that read: "Today you are getting a raise! … It is a well deserved raise. We know that you work hard, every shift, every meal, every day." In today's press release, Blue Plate owner David Burley said: "Before we were founders we were servers... We've reflected and decided to try a different approach that will give our communities a clear indicator of who we are as a business."