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July 13, 2022

Calls are being made for President Biden to embrace a program that will boost wages for restaurant workers.

Nadia Velazquez, House Small business Committee Chairwoman, alongside 15 Members of Congress have sent a letter to the President asking him to support a wider rollout of the ‘High Road Kitchens’ program.

The initiative provides training and funding to restaurants that commit to paying a living wage and following equitable recruitment and employment practices.

For restaurant business owners, knowing about and participating in schemes like the High Road Kitchens can be an invaluable resource to vital training and funding. The High Road Kitchens scheme confirms the importance and value of being an equitable employer and paying employees a living wage.

Paying and treating workers fairly is vital in securing loyal workers and operating a fair and reputable business. The High Road Kitchens program provides assistance on how to raise wages while maintaining profit, a vital attribute in the current business climate, where employees are demanding higher wages and fairer working conditions.

Millions of Workers No Longer Willing to Work for Poverty Pay

In the letter to the President, the lawmakers wrote: “We are writing to you during a crucial moment in which millions of workers are no longer willing to work for poverty and subminimum wages, thousands of small and medium-sized businesses are raising wages to recruit staff, and the policy landscape to heed your call to raise the minimum wage and end the subminimum wage for tipped workers is more favorable than it has ever been.

“At this crucial moment, we write to ask you to support the broad adoption of High Road Kitchens, a program that has been shown to increase wages for restaurant workers while maintaining restaurant profitability across multiple states and localities.”

High Road Kitchens Launched in 2020

The High Road Kitchens scheme was launched in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. So far, it is running in three states – California, Michigan, and West Virginia, and in three cities – Chicago, New York, and Boston.

Since launching, the program has provided grants to hundreds of restaurants. Additionally, it has supported restaurants with technical assistance and training on how to raise wages profitably. The scheme also continues to provide restaurant owners with information on how to improve and increase race and gender equity in the workplace and on providing advancement opportunities for employees.

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