Government-mandated wage and benefits programs effect how restaurant businesses compensate employees.  We support these new protections and living wages for workers in our industry!  Oregon legislators just approved a 7-year minimum wage hike that will bring our Yamhill County minimum wage to $13.50 by 2022, and jumps to $9.75/hr beginning this July 1.  As of January 1, 2016, the Oregon legislature mandated paid sick leave for all workers at a minimum of 40 hrs of compensated leave per year. 

Many diners are unaware that, due to our cultural tipping standards and Oregon’s minimum wage laws, your server is likely to be earning three times the take-home compensation of your cook.  Oregon is one of only 6 states in the US that do not allow a tip-adjusted minimum wage, meaning that all servers earn a base wage of the legal minimum (or higher), plus tips on top. We love our servers, and we recognize the special skill-set required to juggle tables, remember orders, and keep diners at ease.  But we also love our cooks, whose skill and attentiveness in the kitchen allows us to serve fantastic food.  With our conventional tipped model, our servers earn an average of at least $30/hour, while cooks earn $12-14/hour, skilled chefs up to $16/hour, and dishwashers earn $10.50/hour.

We think it is time to level the playing field and seek reasonable and fair compensation across front and back-of-house positions.

It is time to re-allocate tipping dollars to a fair and equitable service charge.

Here's what we mean: 

With the minimum wage hike on July 1, The Blue Goat will begin instituting a service charge in lieu of tipping.  We will add an automatic 18% service charge to your bill.  This money is collected by the restaurant establishment and 100% used for employee compensation in the form of wage and benefit increases.  

Distribution of service charge is as follows: 70% goes to server wage/benefits to offset loss of tipped income; 30% goes to kitchen and dish room wage increase/benefits.

(None of the service charge is applied to restaurant profitability.  It is 100% returned to employee compensation.)

We do not encourage tipping on top of the service charge.

We believe that our menu prices plus the 18% service charge cover all expenses associated with your meal, from the purchase of high quality ingredients to high labor from-scratch food preparation to fair worker wages and the provision of knowledgeable and attentive table service.  Removing tips from the equation ensures a cooperative and fair work environment where we can collaborate as a true team to provide you with the best dining experience possible.

Additional benefits of a service charge model:

  • Guaranteed wage for all employees regardless of the season, shift, or business volume.
  • Time off/sick leave covers the actual cost of absenteeism to the employee, not a tiny fraction of their income earning potential for the shift.
  • Eliminates dissension among front-of-house and back-of-house personnel, who all recognize the huge disparity in compensation under a tipped model.
  • Supports a living wage for all restaurant employees.
  • Encourages a cooperative, team-oriented work environment where all employees are contributing to providing the customer the best dining experience possible.


Thank you for helping us care for all of our employees equally, and helping us navigate these new wage and benefit mandates in a way that honors all of our staff.

Questions?  Concerns?  

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