Café adds controversial ‘minimum-wage fee’ to customers’ bills

Minnesota diners were shocked to find a “minimum wage fee” added to their meal tabs at a Stillwater restaurant this week, days after a wage hike went into effect Friday.

Irate diners decided to shame the eatery, Oasis Café, posting on its Facebook page a picture of a receipt showing the 35-cent add-on for a two-person party, according to the local Fox affiliate, Fox9.

“Wow! You couldn’t just increase your prices by 35 cents for two meals?” Facebook user Amanda Guiterrez posted on Oasis Café’s page, promising not to patronize the restaurant again. “Don’t you wonder how that makes your employees feel, making them look like the bad guys to their customers. Shame on you.”

Oasis cafe receipt

Oasis Cafe responded to the criticism in a comment to a post on its Facebook page, saying the restaurant needs to offset the minimum wage hike to protect its profits.

“We estimate the increase in labor cost will cost our company more than $10,000 per year … which has to be offset by an increase in revenue in order to operate profitably,” Oasis Café said in the post. “Rather than increase the prices of our menu items, we chose to charge a flat fee. If the state of Minnesota would pass tip credit, like 43 other states have done, none of this would be necessary.”

Many spectators to the fallout are calling Oasis Café’s move a political ploy.

“If it isn’t for a political reason, I would suggest just raising your menus prices accordingly,” Facebook user Dylan Meyer wrote. “When cost of business increases and the business chooses not to find ways to cut costs, consumer prices must be increased. I think your customers will understand that concept.”

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