Beer Bar Owner Says Tip Wage System ‘Not Enough’
After months of careful reflection throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, one craft beer bar owner in Indiana has decided to completely restructure his business model to ensure his employees are taken care of. The Pint in West Lafayette said earlier this month it is transitioning away from a tip wage system to paying employees $15 per hour.
Owner Patrick Hagmaier talked about the decision in an interview with Around Indiana Reporter Mary-Rachel Redman.
“In the service industry, everybody in the room’s your boss and that’s a really tough thing to deal with because we rely on customers to make up the entire wage for the people that work for us and unfortunately, that means that one bad day, a few bad tables is the difference between putting food on your table or paying rent,” said Hagmaier.
Indiana follows national minimum wage for tip wages, which is $2.13 an hour, which Hagmaier says is not enough for people to live off of.
“For our particular part of the country, $15 an hour is considered at this point, a decent living minimum wage for our cost of living. Now in reality, were a lot of people making that amount of money in the first place off of tips? Yes, a lot of people were, but not everybody was. What we can’t do is focus on keeping the good shifts to be really good and have the bad shifts be really bad and every week sacrifice somebody for the bad shifts.”
To compensate for paying the higher wages, customers at The Pint will pay $1 more for each pint of craft beer. Hagmaier says, however, other items on the menu will remain at the same price.
“If it takes people having to pay a little bit more for us and it takes us having a little bit of a hit on the profitability end, it’s worth it to better the lives of our employees.”
Hagmaier says his hope is the move is something the community will support to help make up the difference. His employees say they are thankful for the decision.
“It definitely makes me want to put more effort into everything that I do,” said Donovan Samphier, an employee at The Pint. “Showing that I am appreciated in this job definitely makes me want to put my best foot forward.”
Employee Taylor Jones says she hopes other employers will see what The Pint is doing and step up themselves to take better care of their employees.