Tags: Minimum Wage

No Need to Publicize Minimum Wage Surcharge

Wednesday, 20 August 2014 09:12 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Why has a Minnesota restaurant added a surcharge to every customer’s bill?

There is indeed a reason . . . but there are some disastrous implications that decision could have for their public relations.

Recently, the state of Minnesota instituted a 75-cent minimum wage increase. In response, according to reports, the Oasis Café in Stillwater began adding a 35-cent surcharge to every customer’s bill. And, for some reason, they decided to print this on every receipt.

A surcharge to cover the wage hike might be rough enough from a public relations perspective, but to be so brazen about it just invites critiques. Sure, the raise will cut into the business’ profits, but it could have responded by raising prices or working to increase customers.Admittedly, the money has to come from somewhere – and the frustration with government over-taxation makes sense.

According to the restaurant, the wage hike will cost the restaurant more than $10,000 each year. Diners and consumers understand that added costs mean higher prices. That’s how all this works. But a 35-cent increase on the most popular menu items would hardly even be noticed, while a line item surcharge on a receipt certainly would be.

The restaurant is trying to prove a point with this very public display of frustration — makes sense, but what will it do for business?

Otherwise why make such a public protest, one that will certainly frustrate and possibly enrage some loyal customers? You know what? Forget possibly — because enraged is exactly how their customers got. And with smartphones, they could share their outrage right from their tables.

Customers began a massive negative public relations campaign for Oasis — while siting in Oasis.

The social media response was even more damning.

How could the owners not see this coming?

Are they that blind to the negative public relations potential of a move this blatant and disrespectful to their customers? Unfortunately so. Worse, they may not be the only ones.

Ronn Torossian is one of America’s foremost Public Relations executives as founder/CEO of 5WPR, a leading independent PR Agency. The firm was honored as PR Firm of the Year by The American Business Awards, and has been named to the Inc. 500 List. Torossian is author of the best-selling "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations." For more of Ronn Torossian's reports, Go Here Now.


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Why has a Minnesota restaurant added a surcharge to every customer’s bill? There is indeed a reason.
Minimum Wage
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 09:12 AM
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