No-tip restaurant offers food for thought on pay, benefits

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Photo courtesy of the AP

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A new restaurant in Philadelphia offers French-inspired cuisine and food for thought: Customers are told they don’t have to tip.

That’s because servers at Girard Brasserie and Bruncherie earn about $13 an hour. They also get sick time, vacation days and health insurance.

The restaurant has reignited debate over working conditions in the food service industry, where high wages and benefits are almost unheard of.

Nationwide, tipped employees can earn as little as $2.13 an hour, with gratuities expected to make up the difference.

Business advocates say that allows restaurants to keep costs down and employ more people. But others say tips don’t compensate for the low pay.

Girard’s owners say their model isn’t easy but makes for happier staff and, ultimately, happier guests.

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