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Detroit Restaurant Owner Lucy Carnaghi Explains Why Roses’s Fine Food Pays Workers More

A former server and now owner of a Detroit restaurant, Carnaghi favors abolishing the tipped minimum wage.

Rose's Fine Food.
Rose's Fine Food.
Michelle and Chris Gerard
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

More and more cities and states are eliminating tipped minimum wage, and Michigan may be next. With that in mind, Luci Carnaghi, co-owner of Rose's Fine Food on Detroit's east side, penned an op-ed in The Detroit Free Press today detailing why her restaurant is tips-optional.

For servers, living off tips and a sub-minimum wage can mean "scrambling to make ends meet" or, in fine-dining, "incessant fighting over the ‘best' tables, the ‘best' shifts, and pushing as much as possible on customers to increase the bill and up the chances of a higher tip," she says. Carnaghi writes:

So when the day came that I was able to start my own restaurant, doing right by my employees was a no-brainer. At Rose's Fine Food — a restaurant I co-own with my cousin, also a longtime restaurant worker — we start all our employees at $10 an hour.

Paying employees fairly has benefitted my restaurant, not hurt it. It has boosted morale and reduced turnover, allowing me to retain the good employees who form the bedrock of my business and save money on training.

Not everyone supports ending tipped minimum wage. One recent study by Moody's Investors Service found that abolishing tips and raising wages would "eat into restaurant' profits," with casual dining chains being hit hardest.

Rose's Fine Food

10551 E. Jefferson, Detroit, MI Visit Website