Some friends and I sort of kicked up the ruckus this week over Boundary Stone’s opposition to an increased in the tipped minimum wage. Many folks have covered it as if we think Boundary Stone treats their staff poorly and we’re out to get them, while nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve put together the below open letter:
Dear Owners and Staff of Boundary Stone:
First off, we want to thank you for being an anchor to the Bloomingdale community. Quite simply, we love what you guys are doing. As residents of Bloomingdale, Truxton Circle, Shaw, Logan Circle and other nearby neighborhoods, we have enjoyed being regular patrons of your establishment. We’ve never had a poor experience. Your food has always been tasty, your staff always friendly, your drinks always stiff. We have no reason to doubt your assertion that you pay your staff well, and yours is an example for other establishments to emulate.
We were disheartened to see your public opposition to an increase to the tipped minimum wage. We understand your employees are well taken care of. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case at all establishments. Tipped wage workers not receiving at least minimum wage is a problem that runs rampant in the service industry. Even among those who do receive the minimum wage, the average annual salary of a DC server is only $24,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is far too little to live on in a city with such a high cost of living.
Again, we understand that Boundary Stone workers are paid far better than this, but opposing an increase in the tipped minimum wage enables bad actors to treat their workers unfairly. But with multiple decades of service industry employment combined, we’re concerned.
It is important to note that several states make no distinction between traditional and tipped minimum wage. California is among those states, and it is home to some of the finest bars and restaurants in the world. Clearly, service workers and owners can thrive in such an environment. Still, we understand you may have concerns about increased labor costs. We would be happy to pay more for the superior service and product we have always received at Boundary Stone if it means workers across the city are guaranteed a fair wage.
We hope you consider the example of Meridian Pint, another of our favorite bars. Owner John Andrade originally opposed a bill that would guarantee paid sick days to tipped workers. After a dialogue with his customers, he began providing paid sick days to all employees. Meridian Pint seems to be doing just fine and Andrade announced this month that he is opening a third restaurant.
We look forward to a dialogue about tipped minimum wage and hope you will retract your opposition to an increase in the tipped minimum wage so we can return to Boundary Stone for seitan wings, bacon burgers, and one of the best whiskey lists in DC.
Regular Customers of Boundary Stone
Asher Huey, Bloomingdale/Truxton Circle
Richard Allen Smith, Bloomingdale/Truxton Circle
Sabrina Stevens, Bloomingdale/Truxton Circle
Mike Sager, Eckington
Kyle Weidleman, Shaw
Sara Lang, Shaw
Bridget Todd, Columbia Heights
Emily Crockett, Petworth
Chris Stergalas, Trinidad, Shaw 2011-2013 customer since opening week
Gabe Gonzales, Trinidad, Shaw 2011-2013 customer since opening week
Mikey Franklin, Rockville/Dupont Circle”