Hospitality group raises minimum wage, eliminates tipping

Owners of a group of restaurants, hotels and bars in Eau Claire have eliminated tipping and have raised their minimum wage to $16 an hour.

The Pablo Group says it's following a trend that aims to improve pay equity for all employees.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Wisconsin's hourly wage for tipped workers is $2.33.

"Every employee within Pablo Group is now making at least $16 per hour and those working more than 20 hours per week are offered benefits, including health care and a 401(k)," the company said on its website.

Pablo Group owns six bars, hotels and coffee shops in downtown Eau Claire. The owners say its pricing will be adjusted to accommodate the higher wages.

Pablo Group hospitality director Rita Dorsey says wages varied at its different establishments prior to the change.

"You know that you’re at least walking out the door with a certain amount of money that hopefully will help you budget for your bills and let you know what you can afford and can’t afford to do," said Dorsey.

Dorsey said the move by hospitality businesses to increase wages while discouraging tipping is definitely a trend in the industry, Wisconsin Public Radio News reported.

"I mean, we’ve already seen it happen in Madison," said Dorsey. "We see it happen in Minneapolis, just over the border in Minnesota, we’ve seen it happen in larger cities, too, and we’ve seen it happen in smaller cities."