America's Worst Restaurants Based on How Poorly They Treat Workers

Have a hankering for Panera or TGI Fridays? Maybe not when you learn how their workers love.

A new guide ranking the restaurant industry based on chains' treatment of their workers has some grim statistics on many national chains, from fast food to more upscale sandwich and coffeeshops.

It's getting the attention of "foodies," too. When we think of "healthy" foods, then, says Mark Bittman, we need to look beyond the ingredients and also focus on the labor. And we should think twice when we haggle over tips, too--for many workers in the industry who are mostly women, tips make all the difference. Bittman begins his blog post about the report with this all-too common subtext of a food service job description:

Help wanted: Salary: $19,000 (some may be withheld or stolen). No health insurance, paid sick days or paid vacation.  Opportunity for advancement: nearly nil.

He continues later:

Yet though you can’t be a card-carrying foodie if you don’t know the provenance of your heirloom tomato, you apparently can be one if you don’t know how the members of your wait staff are treated. We don’t seem to mind or even notice that our servers might be making $2.13 an hour. That tip you debate increasing to 20 percent might be the difference in making the rent.

Gawker combed through the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United report (pdf link) that prompted the Bittman post. The report ranks restaurants based on health insurance, leave, opportuntites for advancement and minimum wage. and highlighted the worst offenders. Here's the first portion of their list.

Bob Evans
Boston Market
Buffalo Wild Wings
Burger King
California Pizza Kitchen
Captain D's
Carl's Jr.
Chart House
Cheesecake Factory
Chuck E. Cheese
Church's Chicken
Cold Stone Creamery
Cracker Barrel

Click through for the rest.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at June 13, 2012, 6:35am