The Charlotte Observer

Leah & Louise adds service charge in lieu of tipping to ensure employee benefits

- BY MELISSA OYLER moyler@charlotteo­bserver.com Melissa Oyler: @melissaoyl­er

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

Instagram: @leah_and_louise

 ?? ALEX CASON CharlotteF­ive ?? Subrina and Greg Collier are the owners of Leah & Louise at Camp North End.
ALEX CASON CharlotteF­ive Subrina and Greg Collier are the owners of Leah & Louise at Camp North End.

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