The ‘South Park’ Creators Have Reportedly Doubled Casa Bonita Servers And Bartenders’ Hourly Wages (With A Catch)

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone recently revealed that they spent a maddening $40 million to revamp Casa Bonita in Lakewood, Colorado. They also promised that the food would be much better than the seasoned-cardboard-like fare of yesteryear, but so far, the general public has only been privy to soft-opening evenings (by invitation) with a grand-opening date still under wraps.

When that happens, not only will the camp-out movement presumably wind down in the parking lot, but tipping culture will also be shaken up, too. What Parker and Stone are doing on that subject might be revolutionary. They’re actually eliminating customer tips for servers and bartenders. Instead, they’ve boosted those wages up to $30 per hour from the existing $14-$15 range.

This will do a few things, including shifting the onus for providing a living wage away from customers and onto their employer. Also, one can imagine that morale between front-and-back-of-house staffers might be affected by evening the playing field in overall hourly wages. Friction is not unheard of on that subject in many restaurants, after all, but Axios reported the news and suggested that there could nonetheless be some backlash:

In the days before Friday’s public opening, the restaurant called employees to a meeting at which they were told to sign new contracts within a day or quit, according to one employee who spoke with Axios, describing conversations with other colleagues, as well as documents provided to Axios from another employee.

The employees asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution and because of a confidentiality agreement.

Axios further points out that the new hourly wage will allow workers to more easily able to predict their income. Yet this also potentially could take away from those servers and bartenders who do a bang-up job of gathering tips on their shifts, particularly those premium Friday and Saturday nights when a restaurant is more likely to be jam packed. Some people were bound to be upset by any changes at all, and presumably, prices for food will be higher than they would otherwise be with tips on the table.

Still, customers should appreciate the transparency, rather than to see surprise gratuities on their tickets at the end of a meal. Also, Casa Bonita workers will see their health insurance kick in after 60 days, which is more than many restaurants provide in benefits. It remains notable that Parker and Stone continue to do things differently, and we’ll have to wait and see what effect this has on other restaurants in the Denver area and across the U.S.

(Via Axios)