Like so many restaurants around the world, the global health pandemic forced us to close our doors to guests. While the shutdown brought on a sense of uncertainty for the future of our business and the future of our employees, it also gave us the opportunity to reflect on all aspects of our offering. In an industry that rarely slows down, COVID-19 forced us to pause and reflect on our values, our best practices, and on the industry as a whole.
In May, we launched our first ever takeaway and grocery offering. While not a lucrative undertaking, it kept the lights on. We did everything we could to ensure our staff felt financially secure, including guaranteed full-time hours to all returning staff, as well as equal distribution of gratuities. This meant that the division between FOH (front of house) and BOH (back of house) no longer existed — we were operating as a team and we chose to be compensated as such.
The arrival of Phase Two meant we were able to open our beautiful streetside patio for dining. This allowed us to rehire more of our servers and bartenders, many of whom were concerned for the health of their individual finances. This led us to a major decision: we eliminated the government of Ontario’s server minimum wage of $12.20 per hour and meaningfully increased all hourly rates. This meant that all staff — whether servers or cooks — were making over $15 per hour plus their portion of gratuities. Facing these challenging times as a team made us realize the value of each and every team member — and it’s time that our compensation structure reflected the true spirit of our team.
Our industry is incredible in so many ways, but the elephant in the room has long been tipping culture. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that the time for change is now. As of September 8th, 2020 all menu items’ prices have will increase to reflect the total cost of dining. By doing so, we are able to:
- Eliminate the racism and discrimination that is built into tip culture
- Compensate our people based on skills, performance, responsibilities and merit
- Offer our team access to an Employee Assistance Program and Health Spending Account to promote their mental and physical wellbeing
- Incentivise our staff to grow in their careers and outperform their peers in the industry
This allows our team to plan for their futures, start a family, buy a house, and hopefully achieve a healthy work-life balance.
We ask guests to please not tip above the price that appears on your bill, as the hospitality is included. You can rest assured, knowing that your server — along with all staff in the dining room and the kitchen — are being fairly compensated for their work as career-focused professionals.
We’re optimistic about these changes and look forward to welcoming our guests back to Marben to experience the genuine hospitality we have been committed to providing for over 13 years and counting.
Chris, Karen & The Marben Team