(CNN)As debates around raising the minimum wage across the country continue, one coffee shop is taking the plunge.
Amethyst Coffee Company in Denver has raised its prices by 50%, an effort to both eliminate the tipping system and provide its employees with a stable, living wage.”If there ever was the time for this, it is now,” the local coffee chain announced on Instagram. “We raised our prices to include gratuity and better financial compensation for our team because we need to figure out a more sustainable future for our industry. As always we will field questions.” View this post on Instagram
If there ever was the time for this, it is now. We raised our prices to include gratuity and better financial compensation for our team because we need to figure out a more sustainable future for our industry. As always we will field questions 🦠💸⏳
The move came back in May, just days before Amethyst reopened its shops amid the Covid-19 pandemic. A latte, previously $4.50, is now $6.75. A mocha, previously $5.50, is now $7.50. And adding non-dairy milk will cost an extra $1.50.The effort to eliminate tips comes from the idea that tip culture, the shop said in an Instagram reply, is abusive.Read More”It’ is problematic that baristas do so much unpaid emotional labor at a price that is subject to the guest’s discretion,” Amethyst said. CNN reached out to Amethyst for comment, but has yet to receive a reply.The new pricing, the company argues on Instagram, eliminates the need for tipping and ensures that its employees are paid fairly.The company is aiming to pay employees $50,000. The new pay will amount to about $27/week at 35 hours a week, the company said. Before the pandemic, the base pay for employees was $12/hour, plus an average of $9 an hour in tips, Amethyst said.And even though the prices are rising, the company wrote on Instagram that the difference in prices is really just a rise of about 20-30%, depending on what people tipped.Though many commenters seem to be OK with the new prices, some complained they are simply too high. One person wrote she would never pay $7.50 for a mocha. The coffee company hit back.”By saying that you wouldn’t pay $7.50 for a mocha you are effectively de-valuing the coffee itself and the labor of a barista,” the company wrote in a reply. “You are saying that the barista doesn’t deserve a quality of life that is subject to people tipping or not.”The company pointed out many people pay upwards of $12 for a cocktail, beer or glass of wine. The federal minimum wage, set at $7.25 per hour, hasn’t gone up since 2009. Though some states have individually decided to up their minimum wages, some businesses have taken matters into their own hands.Dan Price, the head of Seattle-based Gravity Payments, set a base salary of $70,000 for employees in the Boise, Idaho, office last year, when the office opened — four years after doing the same in Seattle.Price says the higher wages have transformed the lives of his employees. They have been able to grow their families, more than 10% of employees have purchased a house for the first time and individual 401(k) contributions have more than doubled.