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Left to Right Back Row: Vatche Moukhtarian of Cracked Pepper Bistro; Rocco Paolilli of Ovidio. Left to Right Front Row: Mike Shirinian of Elbow Room and Riley's Brew Pub; Pat LaRocca of FIVE Restaurant; Elena Mastro of Parma; Jimmy Pardini of Annex Kitchen; David Fansler of Pismo's Coastal Grill, Westwoods BBQ & Spice Co and Yosemite Ranch; Emily Spinazola of Fansler Restaurant Group; Chenchula Sudana of Brahma Bull; Liz Noble of Shirinian Hospitality Group; Julia Kim of Wassabi; KC Choi of Wassabi; and Tony Sciola of Campagnia. Image via Fairness to Kitchen Workers

published on April 24, 2018 - 12:42 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

A group of local restaurateurs is applauding new legislation that gives all hourly kitchen workers a chance to share tips left by restaurant guests.

The signing of the Federal Omnibus Spending Bill brought a new provision allowing back-of-the-house workers, including dishwashers and cooks, to participate in tip-share programs. Before, they could only receive voluntary tokens of appreciation from house staff “which were typically meager at best,” according to a news release from the restaurant owners.

The owners of such eateries as the Elbow Room, FIVE Restaurant, Parma, Annex Kitchen and Campagnia wanted to publicly express their support for this new law “in the spirit of fairness.”

“When it is a busy night in a local, full-service restaurant, servers and bartenders can easily make $35-$60 per hour in tips,” stated Dave Fansler, owner of Pismo’s Coastal Grill, Westwood BBQ and Yosemite Ranch. “Our servers and bartenders are working hard, but the kitchen staff is working just as hard to provide a quality culinary experience for guests, but not sharing in any extra financial benefit provided by tips left by the guest. This is strictly an issue of fairness.”

The new law reverses tip-sharing exclusions to kitchen workers in seven states, including California.

The owners hope to education the public on “historical unfairness to kitchen workers” through a campaign titled Fairness to Kitchen Workers.

“The new law offers a clear path to true fairness and highlights the true meaning of teamwork,”said Fansler. “I believe that Fresno restaurants will embrace tip sharing as a means of recognizing the essential role that the kitchen plays in delivering a top-notch service and dining experience for our guests.”

This group includes Fansler; Mike Shirinian of the Elbow Room and Riley’s Brew Pub; Pat LaRocca of FIVE Restaurant; Elena Mastro of Parma; Jimmy Pardini of Annex Kitchen; Vatche Moukhtarian of Cracked Pepper Bistro; Emily Spinazola of Fansler Restaurant Group; Rocco Paolilli of Ovidio Ristorante Italiano; Chenchula Sudana of Brahma Bull; Liz Noble of Shirinian Hospitality Group; Julia Kim and KC Choi of Wassabi; and Tony Sciola of Campagnia.


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