I’ve been waiting for the Dining Guide from the Restaurant Opportunities Center for a while, and it does not disappoint.
Well, scratch that: It does disappoint, but only because they find such depressing norms across the restaurant industry, which now employs nearly 10 percent of U.S. workers. My alma-mater, Applebee’s, came through with straight failing grades: it doesn’t win on tipped wages, regular wages, paid sick days, or advancement.
I’ve found ROC United’s work on the links between food safety/quality and decent work conditions to be persuasive. And they make a compelling case throughout their work that if consumers are going to fret about the conditions under which their food is grown, they ought to at least glance at how the workers involved in that process are treated, too.
Besides noting Applebee’s failings, the Dining Guide subtly reveals an important point: You don’t have to sell food at high-end prices treat your workers well. Most of the restaurants that won high-road designations, in fact, feature entrées priced beneath $20 apiece, and several clock in at under $10.