Just a tip


Although I don’t eat out a lot, when I do, I like to support vegan restaurants. And admittedly, when I can, I like to support vegan desserts. I do it for the cause – you know, so they will continue to have vegan desserts – or that is what I tell myself.

I have always tried to tip the wait staff well – over 15% – and give it to them in cash.
But when I saw a video (not vegan, so heads up) put out last year about some of the workers in the “supply chain” of a restaurant, I was appalled.  And I realized maybe just tipping the wait staff was not enough.
In addition to being paid low wages, many restaurant workers don’t have health insurance or any benefits such as sick leave. Clearly it is not just restaurant workers (we know that the plight of farm workers is dire), as this description fits many who work in the service industry, but since we are about food here at Food Empowerment Project, that is what I want to address in this particular blog.
As with many issues facing our society, it is easy to not see what is right in front of us, especially if we don’t want to. Sometimes it takes a disaster to reveal these everyday realities, as was the case with the most recent large hurricane to hit the US.
Hurricane Sandy’s devastation was not as obvious as Hurricane Katrina in revealing inequities in our systems, but as the powerful Atlantic Monthly article “The Hideous Inequity Exposed by Hurricane Sandy” pointed out, some of it was:
Those with a car could flee. Those with wealth could move into a hotel. Those with steady jobs could decline to come into work. But the city’s cooks, doormen, maintenance men, taxi drivers and maids left their loved ones at home.
I am a solutions person, and it grieves me that I cannot create solutions for every injustice I encounter, but I always try.
And this is what I have been doing. In addition to tipping the wait person, I ask if they split their tips with the busser and the dish washers. Thus far, I have been impressed with the honesty of the people I have spoken with. For those who do not split, I have either been able to give tips directly to bussers or I have been able to ask the wait staff to give the tip to the dish washer. At many of the smaller restaurants I eat at, they do split the tips – so I try to give them a larger tip. (For the most part, this reflects vegan and/or vegetarian restaurants in the Bay Area, LA area, and a few other states I have traveled in recently. And while I know it sucks when I find out that some vegan restaurants treat their workers pretty badly, too, that’s a topic for another day.)
At one vegan restaurant, I was excited when I heard the wait person push open the door to the back and say, “Guess what, Antonio, you got a tip!”
Now, is this greatly impacting the wages for those workers? Of course not. But I would like to think that it is indeed planting seeds for the restaurant and those who work there that these issues are important and the workers are not hidden behind the kitchen door.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. I find this article frustrating. Do you ever think that the reason manufacturers DON'T provide you with their suppliers is that they need to protect their source? Not for reasons that are due to child slavery but rather if they disclose their source another manufacturer will swoop in and buy up their raw ingredients? I'm appalled that you outwardly bash companies that do good for this earth, fight for our rights (i.e. Amy's & Organic Trade Association). Shame on you. Get your facts straight and quit painting all companies with the same brush!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I believe you are commenting on our work on the worst forms of child labor in the chocolate industry.

    We have at least a hundred companies that have disclosed the country of origin for their chocolate – both large and small companies that care more about being transparent about such an important issue.

    Also, we are not asking for the name of the farm, producer, or even city and state. It would be hard for a company to steal a supplier based on only knowing the country of origin.

    We do not bash any company – we are only asking for transparency. Most consumers who care about these issues, want to know.

    And we are thankful for those companies that care.

Leave a Reply

shame on albertsons

WHAT YOU CAN DO

Please sign and share the petition to Safeway/Albertsons’ CEO Vivek Sankaran right now and tell him that all neighborhoods need access to fresh food!

Please sign our friends, at Birchwood Food Desert Fighters, petition to Albertsons, asking them to remove ALL grocery noncompete clauses affecting the Park Manor Shopping Center.

Call Safeway to complain:
1-877-Safeway
(1-877-723-3929). *

Call Albertsons to complain:
1-877-848-6483.*

Call Safeway to complain:
1-877-Safeway
(1-877-723-3929). *

Call Albertsons to complain:
1-877-848-6483.*

* Suggested language and details: Please make a polite phone call and keep in mind the person you are speaking to probably has no idea about this policy—most people don’t. You just need to stay on the line for a customer service representative. For Safeway, they will ask you for your full name and phone number and if you have a Safeway card number.
 
Suggested language: “I am calling to log a comment against a Safeway / Albertsons policy that sometimes puts restrictive deeds on its former properties and prevents other grocery stores from moving in, sometimes for 10 years or more. This has impacted community health. I would like Safeway / Albertsons to end this policy immediately.”
 

If they ask questions you cannot answer, feel free to provide our email: info@foodispower.org and remind them you are calling because you disagree with this practice.

Order some of our leaflets to share with others by emailing info(at)foodispower.org.

 
 

Join us by taking a stand in front of your local Safeway / Albertsons! Find a demo to attend here.

Want to organize your own demo? We can send you leaflets and posters. Contact us here for additional details.

 
 
Take action on social media with hashtag #ShameOnSafeway & #ShameOnAlbertsons and tagging Safeway & Albertsons.

Thank you for wanting to take a stand against a corporation that is impacting the health of Black and Brown communities and low-income neighborhoods.

Skip to content