Until now, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act has forbidden cooks and dishwashers from receiving any part of this money. The new law reverses this restriction in the seven states — including California, Oregon and Nevada — that do not have separate minimum wages for tipped and non-tipped workers.
Even as the minimum wage is rising in many Bay Area cities, staffing shortages have become endemic in the local restaurant industry, exacerbated by the pay disparity between servers and cooks. “Our servers are making a minimum of $30 an hour, and yet in the back of the house, some (cooks and dishwashers) are making half that,” said Shahvar, whose restaurants use a traditional tipping model.
Some Bay Area restaurateurs are compensating for high labor costs by switching to counter service. Many others have attempted to reduce the pay disparity with tip-free pricing and automatic service charges. But these alternatives can be controversial. A few restaurants that eliminated tips, such as Bar Agricole in San Francisco, added them back after customers and staff revolted.
If you hit a paywall on the link to the above SF Chronicle article, here is a link to the mobile SFGate version which might help: