SEATTLE -- Ivar's has decided to raise workers' wages at their sit-down restaurants to $15/hour starting Wednesday. This comes as the city's minimum wage is set to rise to $11.
"Over the course of a year we want everyone to be the same or better, than they were in 2013, and 2014. And we've told them that," said Ivar's President Bob Donegan. "That's our goal to keep them whole."
The restaurant will be telling customers that they no longer need to tip separately. Customers will see a 21% price increase in their food (so a $10 item will now be $12.10). The restaurant says 17% of that increase will go to workers to make up for lost tips, and 4% will pay for the wage increase.
While menu prices will increase 21%, the actual increase for consumers will be 4% because the food markup includes the previous tip, Ivar's said.
Susan Cadish, who treated her family to lunch on Monday, said she'd still come back and tip for a large party.
"I think they work hard, harder than the normal person realizes. And I think they deserve the whole 15," Cadish said.
Other customers, who have waited tables in the past, wasn't sure it was an improvement in pay.
"i wouldn't know how to feel about that," said Brennan Lony. "It is good to have a nice confirmed higher wage, but then again there are those good nights where you make a lot of money (with tips)."
The system will go into effect at Ivar's Salmon House this week and at its Acres of Clams restaurant when it reopens in July. The waterfront location is currently closed due to work on the seawall.
Ivar's 50 quick-service and stadium locations will move to an $11/hour minimum wage, even outside of Seattle. Prices at those locations will go up about 3% to cover the increased labor cost.