Most dining guides focus on the basics: How does the food taste? How is the service? How fancy is the decor? But none of this information prepares diners for showing up at a recommended establishment only to realize that all of the black employees are kept in the back, all of the bussing staff is Latino, and only the pretty white people are allowed to earn tips in service. Further, with the legal minimum wage for service workers at a disastrously low $2.13 an hour, how can we be sure that hard service work is being rewarded with a living wage?

The Restaurant Opportunities Centers United has released a different kind of resource, The National Diners’ Guide, that evaluates restaurants by three criteria: provision of paid sick days, wages of at least $9 per hour for non-tipped workers and $5 per hour of tipped workers, and opportunities for internal advancement. Armed with this information, consumers can spend their hard-earned money at business that treat workers fairly instead of at those that are part of the problem. Workers who do not get sick days are more likely to infect  your food with whatever is making them sick, and the inability to advance internally has kept minority service workers at an income standstill or pushed them into the fast-food segment for decades. Instead of contributing to the status quo, let’s use our dollars wisely!

Read more about this free resource at Colorlines.

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  • African Mami

    This article made me hmmmmm…I need stats on black employees bussing, while whites and Latinos busting in the front house of the restaurant.

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  • whilome

    I co-own a chain of restaurants and one partner wanted to not hire a manager because he had a long ponytail and didn’t look “all-American”. The man is Native American. I was like, “How ‘American’ can you get?” The arguments for a “clean-cut” look really masked blatant racism. The candidate was just fine when he was in the back of the house, working his butt off for us. Yet, my partner didn’t want him to be the face of the organization in our posh location.

    This comes on the heels of some awkwardness with our black employees. This one partner is working out his own intra-racial demons because he completely changes how he speaks around black men who work for us. I had to check his ass because, in essence, he’s a bougie Black man who has something to prove and it’s manifesting itself in perpetrating typical hegemonistic behavior. And, yes, this man is BLACK.

    I finally figured out that it makes him feel better to have a stable of whitefolk working for him. A kind of “look at me now” thing that I will never truly fathom. But, I pulled rank and looked after my employees. But I’m telling you now, discrimination in the service industry is no joke. And don’t think it’s just The Man that’s doing it. The bruh that becomes The Man can do it, too.