CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A pair of Charleston restaurants recently added a line for gratuities to their patrons’ bills.
But the new line diners at Tempest and Five Church Charleston will go to kitchen staff, not servers.
It’s an effort to hire on new employees and keep current ones as many restaurants continue to struggle to find people to work.
The Tip the Kitchen initiative, started by the 5th Street Group which owns and manages the two restaurants, helps provide kitchen staff members with a more substantial income.
Customers will notice a second tip line on their bills at these restaurants labeled for “Chef Gratuity.” The customer is not obligated to leave a tip for the kitchen staff, however whatever is left will be matched by the ownership group, up to $500 per day.
Officials with the 5th Street Group say the initiatives was sparked by the pandemic, but they hope it will change the food and beverage industry forever.
“Now, it can be a career to a lot of people, which is really exciting to see a lot of young cooks eager to learn,” Tempest Sous Chef Tyler Cook said. “Now, they can make a living wage while doing it.”
In the past 12 days since the initiative started, it has helped pay kitchen staff members, across the group’s three restaurants, about $18,000 in additional income. This equates to about $74 per day per worker, in addition to their hourly rates.
“I do think it’s our responsibility as survivors of COVID, from a business standpoint, to try to do the right thing moving forward and to make a real impact that people can really feel,” 5th Street Group owner Patrick Whalen said.