The newly released ROC National Diners’ Guide 2012 provides information on the wage, benefits, and promotion practices of the 150 most popular restaurants in the United States. The Guide lists responsible restaurants where you can eat knowing that your server can afford to pay the rent and your cook isn’t working while sick.
With over 10 million workers nationwide, the U.S. restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors in the country’s economy, even during the current economic crisis, according to Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC-U.) The group says despite the industry’s growth, restaurant workers suffer under poverty wages and poor working conditions.
“If you care about sustainability – the capacity to endure – it’s time to expand our definition to include workers. You can’t call food sustainable when it’s produced by people whose capacity to endure is challenged by poverty-level wages,” the New York Times’ (all things food related writer) Mark Bittman wrote in an opinion piece earlier this week.
Not surprisingly, most of the most notable abuses occur at the bigger companies. (There’s a list at the end of this post.)
There’s a few surprises on the good list though: Five Guys Burgers and Fries and In-N-Out Burgers offer their employees paid sick leave and offer all their non-tipped workers more than $9/ an hour.
There’s also a few notable high-end restaurants on the list including Ilan Hall’s The Gorbals in Los Angeles. Hall, is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York and the pastry program at the school’s Napa Valley campus who has worked for Tom Colicchio at Craft and for Mario Batali at his Spanish tapas place, Casa Mono, both in New York. Most people recognize him as the guy who won the second season of “Top Chef.”
Take a look at the list of worst restaurants for workers’s below and download ROC-U’s report at Rocunited.org/dinersguide.