Minimum Wage Increase
In November 2016, the voters of Colorado passed a ballot measure to increase the minimum wage for tipped and non-tipped employees. Each year through 2020, small business owners must either absorb the increased labor costs or pass the expense onto the guests through price increases on the menu or a service charge.
Restaurant owners in Colorado have experienced a competitive labor market and smaller profit margins as a result of this ballot measure. In 2017, Origins was able to keep menu prices steady; however, moving forward in 2018 it is necessary to implement some changes for the business to be sustainable.
After careful review and consideration, the Origins management team has determined the simplest and most equitable method is to provide a small service charge on each bill so that guests see that the charge will be passed on directly to the front of house and kitchen employees.
Origins will be implementing a 2% service charge or coperto [koh-PEHR-toh] effective January 1 to offset the increase in labor cost anticipated for 2018. Shortly you will be seeing a charge on your bill with the word coperto indicating the service charge, i.e. a $25 bill will only incur a $.50 service charge.
While this charge is minimal we are sensitive to our guests’ expectations. This fee will be in lieu of price increases on most menu items except in cases where suppliers have also been impacted by the minimum wage law. Furthermore, the coperto is not a substitute for customary gratuity.
What is Coperto?
Coperto is a per-person fee due to many types of restaurants in Italy and it means cover charge. The fee varies from 1 to even 5 € (in the most famous and expensive tourist places). It might seem a very strange habit, but for Italians is a normal thing.
The coperto habit has its origins in the Middle Ages. At that time many people used to stop at inns, but, in order to save money, they only ate food brought from home. The innkeepers, unable to sell them their food, started, therefore, to charge these customers for the place they occupied (posto coperto) and for the use of cutlery and plates.