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Portland restaurant Kachka replaces tipping with a service fee for customers

The owners of the Russian-inspired Portland restaurant say the tipping system is rooted in inequality.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Kachka, an acclaimed Russian-inspired Portland restaurant, will replace tipping with a 22% service charge when it reopens from its holiday break Thursday.

The business's owners are instituting the fee to support their wage equity plan, which they recently announced on Kachka's website. The plan includes a $25-an-hour starting wage, free health care coverage and profit-sharing.

"We fell in love with the hospitality industry because we love taking care of others. In reality, we came up in an environment that never considered taking care of its own. For too long the restaurant industry has propagated a system of inequality, racism, and discrimination," owners Bonnie and Israel Morales wrote. "In opening our own business, we could finally correct these inequities, but were scared to make waves in an established system. It's time to break from the dysfunctional status quo."

The biggest change for customers will be no longer choosing a tip amount for servers and other staff.

"We know that it’s a big ask for our guests to relinquish control over tips, but we hope the last eight years have shown that we are trustworthy operators with no ulterior motives," the Moraleses wrote. "We want you to know that by being a patron at Kachka, your money is going to a small business striving to create a positive and enriching workplace."

Read the whole story at the Portland Business Journal.

Watch the conversation on this story on KGW's Sunrise Extra


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