St. Paul Café Bans Tipping, Raises Wages

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A St. Paul coffee shop has done away with tipping, and opted to pay their employees higher wages.

“We decided as a rule, as a group, to just ban tipping outright,” Kopplin’s Café co-owner Andrew Kopplin said.

He wanted to find a way to compensate his employees fairly, no matter what shift they worked.

“If you work here in the mornings, you can make a lot of money cuz it’s busier. It’s a coffee shop so at night it’s not as busy,” Kopplin said. “We looked at a lot of ways of dealing with the tips, but then we just finally kind of looked at what about kind of getting rid of the tips.”

Kopplin and his wife, who co-own the café together, took the idea to their nine employees.

“I was totally behind it,” employee Tony Hunt said. “All of us were taken by surprise, but the support was pretty much unanimous.”

Kopplin says all of his employees supported the move.

“We were not going to do it with one person left behind,” he said.

Base pay for employees went from $9 an hour to $12.50.

“They’re all making more and they’re making it more consistently,” Kopplin said. “The paycheck is the same in summer, when it’s our slow season, and at Christmas time when it’s really busy.”

To raise wages, they had to raise prices.

“Everything went up roughly 20 percent,” Kopplin said.

Overall, drinks went up about a dollar, but the customers don’t seem to mind.

“It puts less pressure on me as a customer,” Dave Vidmar said. “I can just know that the price is set and I don’t have to feel guilty about not tipping.”

Kopplin says they have not received much negative reaction.

“Once you’re compensated with money, like once you’re getting paid enough, that’s actually more meaningful than a dollar,” Kopplin said.

He also came up with another way for customers to show their gratitude by sharing their own story.

Kopplin also did a focus group with customers before making the adjustment, and they have not had any issues so far.

More from Kylie Bearse
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