Minneapolis restaurants release survey outlining impact of $15 minimum wage without recognizing tips

Minneapolis, MN – Over 100 Minneapolis restaurants have participated in a survey outlining the impact of a city-wide $15 minimum wage that doesn’t recognize tips as income. The most common responses when asked about changes to their business under a one-size-fits-all $15 minimum wage were increases in menu prices, changes to staffing hours, and adopting a service charge.

  • Increase menu prices: 93.52%
  • Changes to staffing hours and levels: 89.81%
  • Adopt a service charge/change tipping model: 63.89%

“Raising prices on budget-conscious customers, reducing the available working hours for staff, and adopting a service charge are all options that hurt customers and jeopardize the income of employees,” said Brent Frederick, co-owner of Jester Concepts that has six restaurants in Minneapolis including Borough, Constantine, coup d'etat, Mercado, Monello, and Parlour. “If the city council forces a blanket minimum wage that doesn’t account for tips, many restaurants will be forced to eliminate tipping and institute a service charge. Tips are the property of the worker who receives them while a service charge is controlled by management. This is a business model we don’t want to adopt, but may be forced to if the city council doesn’t listen.”

Of the participants who said staffing changes would occur, the vast majority replied that changes would be significant.

  • Reduce existing staff work hours: 90.10%
  • Reduce future staff hiring: 75.25%
  • Eliminate some current employee positions: 62.38%
  • Change our tipping model or adopt a service charge: 73.27%

(Note: The two responses relating to adding a service charge are from two different questions. The first question was about general changes to a restaurant’s business model should tips not be recognized as income. The other question was about specific actions a restaurant would take if staffing changes were to take place. A list of questions asked can be found at the bottom of the press release.)

The survey was conducted by the Pathway to $15 campaign through SurveyMonkey of over 100 restaurant locations. Participating restaurants have a variety of service models including fast casual, family style, fine dining, café or bistro, fast food, food truck, and buffet. The number of employees of each participating restaurant range from eight to approximately 400.

Below you’ll find a list of participating Minneapolis restaurants:


Peppers & Fries

Perkins Restaurant

Pizza Luce Seward

Pizza Luce Uptown

Pizzeria Lola



Red Cow

Renaissance Minneapolis (restaurants)


Rise Bagels


Sanctuary Restaurant

Sarpino's Pizzeria

Sawatdee Thai Restaurant


Stanley's Bar Room Northeast

Stanley's on Wheels Food Truck

Surly Brewing Company

Sushi Tango

Taqueria La Hacienda


The Bad Waitress NE

The Bad Waitress Nicollet

The Copper Hen

The Draft Horse

The Local

The Lowbrow

The Malt Shop

The Monte Carlo Restaurant

The Oceanaire

The Rabbit Hole

Tooties on Lowry


Urban Eatery

W Hotel Minneapolis (restaurants)

World Street Kitchen

Young Joni

Zen Box Izakaya

5-8 Club


Be'Wiched Deli

Blarney Pub & Grill Dinkytown


Brasa Rotisserie

Broders' Cucina Italiana

Broders' Pasta Bar

Burger Jones

Cardinal Restaurant and Bar

Chino Latino

Cocina Latina Restaurant

Colossal Café


coup d'etat

CRAVE Café & Deli

CRAVE Restaurant

D Brian's #1

Davanni's Downtown

Davanni's Riverside

Davanni's Uptown

Erik the Red

FireLake Grill House, Radisson Blu Downtown

Five Watt Coffee

George and the Dragon

Greenfield Natural Kitchen

Hola Arepa

Howe Daily Kitchen & Bar

Jimmy Johns

Kieran's Irish Pub



Longfellow Grill

Manny's Steak House and Bar

Marriott Hotel (restaurants)


Mercy Bar & Dining Room

Milkjam Creamery


Murray's Restaurant

My Burger

Northbound Smokehouse & Brewpub

Parkway Pizza

The results of the survey can be found below.

1. What changes do you anticipate making to your business model if the City of Minneapolis passes an ordinance for a $15 minimum age without an allowance for tips or a youth wage? Mark all that apply to your business under a $15 wage with no tip credit.

  • Increase menu prices: 93.52%
  • Changes to staffing hours and levels: 89.81%
  • Change our concept (i.e. counter ordering): 29.63%
  • Reduce restaurant hours: 43.52%
  • Add automation to lower costs : 49.07%
  • Close our Minneapolis location: 25.93%
  • Adopt a service charge/change the tipping model: 63.89%
  • Other: 15.74%

2. If you answered increase menu prices, by how much?

  • Up to 5%: 4.90%
  • More than 5%: 27.45%
  • More than 10%: 41.18%
  • More than 20%: 26.47%

3. If you checked staffing changes, how would you do that? (Mark all that apply)

  • Reduce existing staff work hours: 90.10%
  • Reduce future staff hiring: 73.25%
  • Eliminate some current employee positions: 62.38%
  • Change our tipping model or adopt a service charge: 73.27%
  • Other: 13.86%

4. If you are planning to build, will this influence your choice of location?

  • Yes: 78.30%
  • No: 1.89%
  • Not Planning on Expanding: 19.81%

5. Do you currently employ workers under 18 years old in Minneapolis?

  • Yes: 44.34%
  • No: 55.66%

6. With a $15 minimum wage policy without a separate youth wage, will you reduce your hiring of young workers under 18 years old?

  • Yes: 62.11%
  • No: 37.89%

7. What type of restaurant do you run?

  • Fast Casual: 35.87%
  • Family Style: 29.35%
  • Fine Dining: 26.09%
  • Café or Bistro: 33.70%
  • Fast Food: 2.17%
  • Food Truck: 4.35%
  • Buffett: 4.35%

As the Minneapolis City Council takes action a $15 minimum wage proposal, the Pathway to $15 campaign supports recognizing the total taxable income of restaurant employees, implementing a youth wage, fair designation of employer size, and a reasonable phase-in schedule.

For more information on the Pathway to $15 campaign and how to take action, go to www.Pathwayto15.org, like the Pathway to 15 Facebook page, and follow Pathway to 15 on Twitter at @Pathwayto15