New York Times Magazine November 15, 2015
New York Times March 28, 2014
SF Chronicle January 30, 2014
We are excited to announce that Camino has changed to a no-tipping system. This is a system that Camino considered adopting when we first opened but, frankly we chickened out—we were afraid to upset the accepted system of tipping in our opening days.
Since then, the world has changed a little bit—minimum wage is on the top of everyone’s mind right now and the Bay Area is leading the state and the country. Measure FF which passed with over 80% approval has Oakland’s minimum wage increasing from $9.00 to $12.25 an hour starting in March. And conversations are happening around the country about increases to $15.00 over the next few years.
At Camino we feel that the existing model of “minimum wage plus tips” for waiters, hosts and bartenders is outdated for the kind of restaurant that we are and what we expect from our employees. The imminent increase in minimum wage is giving us the opportunity to change the system so that it better reflects the culture that we have created at our restaurant. A culture that values all work by paying our employees’ wages instead of relying on customers to tip them.
As working owners, we have tried to instill a sense of teamwork at Camino—a place where each member of the team—waiters, bartenders, cooks, hosts and dishwashers—are all involved in serving our guests. And yet, we have been paying them as if we are running two separate businesses.
What we hope this means for you is that you can come to Camino, have a great meal, and pay your bill without the concern of tipping. We want you to feel confident that we have staffed our restaurant with the most capable employees and that every one of them has your best interest in mind. Our employees are our greatest assets, and we feel that that compensating them fairly for their work is crucial to their well-being and to the success of our restaurant. We hope that you feel the same.
We are aware that this is a big change to a widely accepted system, so we are happy to engage in thoughtful conversation about this issue. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you think or if you have further questions.
Here’s to a bright new day for the restaurant business here in the Bay Area, and someday, perhaps nationwide!
Russ and Allison