Acorn Cafe is proud to be a non-tipping establishment.
In May 2022 we decided to join other food service establishments worldwide in a tip-free service model designed to pay our staff a reliable living wage and promote equitable service at Acorn Community Cafe. You may notice a price difference of up to two dollars on some of our menu items, and tips will no longer be accepted or expected. To balance the loss of tips, hourly positions now start at $18/hour.
So, why the change? We view service workers as people first, and believe they shouldn't have to rely on our customers' charity in order to pay bills and enjoy life. Our employees work for us providing our guests with great service, so why should you be responsible for paying them? Service is one of few industries in which an employee's wage is dictated by the customer - but we think that should change.
Tip culture perpetuates sexist and racist income imbalance, and allows for rampant abuse in the service industry. Brian Palmer from Slate summarizes the problems with tipping culture this way:
"Studies have shown that tipping is not an effective incentive for performance in servers. It also creates an environment in which people of color, young people, old people, women, and foreigners tend to get worse service than white males. In a tip-based system, nonwhite servers make less than their white peers for equal work. Consider also the power imbalance between tippers, who are typically male, and servers, 70 percent of whom are female, and consider that the restaurant industry generates five times the average number of sexual harassment claims per worker. And that in many instances employers have allegedly misused tip credits, which let owners pay servers less than minimum wage if tipping makes up the difference."
And while we're glad Oregon supports minimum wage requirements for tipped employees, Tipping Is A Legacy of Slavery by Michelle Alexander notes that tip culture "allows a work force that is close to 70 percent female and disproportionately women of color to be paid a subminimum wage."
Besides all the universal reasons to do away with tip culture, we have a somewhat unique service model at Acorn Cafe because of our partnership with 86 Hunger, which allows us to serve non-paying guests during regular service hours along with paying customers. Removing the option to tip helps to eliminate perceived bias in our service between paying and nonpaying guests, and reinforces the idea that everyone deserves excellent hospitality.
We feel this move is better for us, our staff, our guests and the future of hospitality. All together, we love restaurant service - but tip culture has never been something we felt good about supporting. We're glad to be moving toward much-needed change in an industry we are passionate about, and are grateful that you've taken the time to read our thoughts. We welcome feedback by email at email@example.com