Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has redefined many conventions of the American workforce. Initially, employers were faced with mandatory restrictions that led to lay offs and lawsuits, and for some businesses, inevitable closures.
Now that things are headed towards a degree of normalcy, many business owners are realizing they are not equipped for what the new normal may look like. The food and beverage industry, an industry known for lower wages, a lack of benefits, and long hours, is at the forefront of this.
For those working in a restaurant during the pandemic, clocking in for a shift was often a moral dilemma, as employees were forced to leverage their own health and safety against restaurant wages. As government assistance programs were expanded, many restaurant employees opted to not return to work and instead use this as an opportunity to pursue further education or other career options.
When we made the decision to reopen our Petoskey location, post-pandemic, we knew that we would have to be conscious of the new paradigm and make proactive decisions. The first and most simple step was paying livable and equitable wages. The starting wage for our baristas in Petoskey is $13 per hour plus tips, which average around an additional $6 an hour per barista.
In addition to wages, we want to ensure our baristas feel safe and empowered within the space, heavily relying on their opinions towards cafe operations and pandemic-related limitations or restrictions. All things considered, we’ve opted for a model catered towards speed, efficiency, and ease of use.
We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how we want the new iteration of Populace Petoskey to look, and we’re incredibly excited to be able to share that experience with our new staff and all our new and returning customers.