Higher wages pay big dividends for Rose's Fine Food in Detroit

By Guy Gordon - Reporter/Anchor

DETROIT - A new Detroit diner is changing up the economic recipe when it comes to paying its workers.  It pays a base wage that's four times higher than most small eateries.

That sweeter deal for workers is not leaving a bitter taste with customers.

Waitressing at Rose's Fine Foods is Dominica's first job. Most entry level wait staffs make $2.65 an hour plus tips, but Dominica's earns at least $10 an hour and most day $13 an hour once tips are pooled and divided evenly.

"Making $10 an hour is really a plus as far as paying a car note, cellphone, bills paid," she said. "It helps a lot."

Owners Lucy and Molly Carnaghi believe higher wages helps them retain workers, saves on training, and avoids the discord lower wages often foster.

"I don't have to worry about whether I make a $100 more or less this week," waitress Andrea Ridges. "I know what it's gonna be."

Owner Lucy Carnaghi says their wage system also fosters greater teamwork among employees and a more pleasant experience for customers. 

"It doesn't have to be that way if you alter the system to be fairer for the worker,  the guest, the back of the house, the kitchen and feel they are fairly compensated  and servers aren't shaking down guests when they approach a table," she said.

The average lunch order may be a buck or two higher due to higher wages but the place was packed with happy customers.

Customers are invested. When Rose's needed a new sign, patrons pitched in $1,500. Because they hire locally, the money stays here and Rose's returns the favor, offering 10 percent discounts if you live in the neighborhood.

"I'm getting value for that [price] I feel," said customer Ralph Burnett. "Social value and in the quality of the food."

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