Asheville Sustainable Restaurant Workforce
The Asheville Sustainable Restaurant Workforce is a local worker founded, worker funded, advocacy group. We aim to improve the economic environment and human rights of restaurant workers in WNC through awareness, advocacy, and action. Although we don’t participate as one yet, we are a community. ASRW is an attempt at that noble goal- to become a community, to share empathy and use our voice as workers to seek representation and improved conditions. We are the foundation of Asheville’s hospitality economy and we deserve a seat at the table!
New Campaign Campaigns
Let concession workers keep their tips!The US Cellular Center hosts amazing performers that draw big crowds of drinking patrons. Annual events like Warren Haynes Christmas Jam and the SoCon Basketball Tournament bring returning patrons. These visitors develop lasting memories based on their yearly trips to our scenic mountain town. The City of Asheville runs the US Cellular Center and the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium. Patrons of both arenas can order food, soda, cocktails, beer and wine at concession stands located throughout each venue. Alcohol sales are high during these big events and require responsible alcohol service and bartenders that know how to hustle. Ok, so imagine you’re at one of these shows and you find yourself thirsty for a cold one. You pay for your awesome, local craft beer. You leave $1 or $2 a for the person who poured your beverage. Do you assume your $1 is for the person who served you? Workers that are busy pouring beer, making change and managing the crowds are forced to tell you they can’t accept your kind tip. This holds up the line for service and patrons are often confused and annoyed. Sometimes guests insist and walk away. Workers were made to sign a document acknowledging that if they were caught accepting any tip, they could be fired. Of course, we know good folks still leave tips for direct service. Sometimes there are tip jars out, sometimes not. At the launch of this campaign, workers report they receive NO CASH TIPS even as they are being collected. It’s bad customer service if patrons want to tip and can’t. It is also a combative policy to workers that fear job loss if they accept a tip. We need tip transparency at the US Cellular Center/Thomas Wolfe Auditorium and these workers deserve their tips. Join our campaign by signing this petition for change. Thanks for your support!!4,156 of 5,000 SignaturesCreated by Alia Todd and Samantha Simpson
Pay support staff what they deserve!Tupelo Honey Cafe is synonymous with the idea of Southern hospitality. There are always biscuits on the table and your sweet tea glass is never empty. In fact, the restaurant is so hospitable that within 5 years it’s been able to open 10 new locations across the Southeast and has announced plans to expand beyond the region and double locations over the two years. However, patrons might not know that this growth has come at a personal cost for employees. Tupelo Honey Café employees know that with growth comes change. We have absorbed our fair share of change. From eliminating free food while working to scrapping incentive based pay raises for tipped employees, it’s getting harder and harder to feel like a valued member of the team. We have also watched as our company pads its profit margins and expands the brand on the backs of the lowest paid employees and their families. Over the past couple of years, corporate management decisions have diminished the reasons we loved working for this company. Support staff (bussers/back servers) are an essential part of any well-organized and profitable restaurant. They provide support and heightened efficiency, allowing wait staff to give personal and professional service. In the summer of 2014 the company chose to maximize profits and drastically cut wages for support staff -- who used to be called bussers -- by over $3/hour. Not only does this mean that some of these support staff can no longer pay the bills or keep food on the table, but servers themselves are having a harder time making sure the customers at the table are happy too. Alia, a bartender, is a working mom and the main breadwinner of her household. Halley, a server, is a college student supporting herself while working towards her degree. When support staff is not compensated fairly, it has the ripple effect of increasing the number of servers, thereby reducing earning potential for all front of the house staff. That’s hundreds of dollars each week that could go towards paying bills and buying groceries. We are tired of complaining within our location and wishing that the company would change. This wage cut was the last straw and we knew we had to take action. That’s why we started this petition. Right now, Tupelo Honey Cafe is growing at an astounding pace and they have a choice to make: do they want to stand by their original values as a company or do they want to drive down wages of those at the bottom? According to their own website Tupelo Honey Cafe says: “We commit to paying above the industry average in every job category.” According to a 2014 interview with the owner of Tupelo Honey, Steve Frabitore stated that “none of their employees are paid minimum wage; rather, they are a Living Wage Certified business and aim for their pay to be greater than the 75th percentile of the industry average.” All we are asking is that Tupelo Honey live up to their own standards and reinstate the wages of support staff (technically called back servers) to their original levels of $5.15 per hour. Right now it is a company wide wage policy for back servers to be paid a federal minimum meant for servers ($2.13 per hour). This base wage for support staff is below local and national industry standards. If you want to "hire the best people in every position", you have to be sure those people can earn a living. Good food shouldn’t just be about the bottom line — it’s about fellowship, service and always having a seat at the table. Join us if you would like to see Tupelo Honey put its own values into action by reinstating wages for support staff.1,285 of 2,000 SignaturesCreated by Alia Todd and Hayley Ingram