The Charlotte Observer
Leah & Louise adds service charge in lieu of tipping to ensure employee benefits
You can put away the tip calculator the next time you visit Leah & Louise at Camp North End in Charlotte. Owners Subrina Collier and chef Gregory “Greg” Collier have announced a new 23 percent tipping charge at the restaurant in lieu of a tip.
Calling it the BayHaven Pledge (to go with the newly named BayHaven Restaurant Group), the fee will eliminate guesswork, create consistency and allow for more employee benefits, Subrina said in a statement.
The average restaurant tipper at Leah & Louise leaves 21 percent already, the Colliers stated. The extra 2 percent will allow for the kitchen staff and management to be paid more. New hires (after 90 days) will also receive health insurance, two weeks off a year, 401K with matching, a holiday bonus and more.
Leah & Louise joins a growing number of Charlotte restaurateurs who are devoting resources into getting better wages for employees. A grassroots effort started by a group of Charlotte chefs on Facebook has put a focus on higher wages and better benefits for the city’s restaurant workers. The 5th Street Group has a Tip the Kitchen initiative and other restaurants are paying workers at least $15 an hour.
“There’s been a lot of conversation about how to change the hospitality industry,” Greg said in a statement. “If restaurants don’t figure out a way to improve for their employees, they’ll continue to lose team members, service will suffer and their bottom lines will shrink. Now is the time for change.”
Additionally, expect to see a few menu changes at the restaurant: A transition will be made from just small plates to a more traditional small and large plate menu items. The cost of food will not increase — but you’ll have the option to get larger portions. And if you’ve tried Greg’s cooking, you know that’s a good thing.
LEAH & LOUISE
Location: 301 Camp Rd, Charlotte, NC 28206
Neighborhood: Druid Hills South