One Pacific Northwest restaurant chain has found a new way to tackle the region’s rising minimum wages.

Restaurants Unlimited, Inc., a Seattle-based restaurant group with locations in nearly a dozen states, has added a one percent “living wage” surcharge to all bills. The company, which runs restaurants in 10 states, owns Stanford’s, Newport Seafood Grill, Henry’s Tavern and a number of other restaurants across Portland.

Diners can expect to see the one percent surcharge applied to their entire bill, according to a company spokesperson. For the company’s other restaurants in states that have sales tax, including Washington, the surcharge will be applied before tax. The revenue from the surcharge is added to a separate payroll account.

Restaurants Unlimited is among many restaurants across the country using novel approaches to tackle rising minimum wages. Several Portland restaurants, including Biwa and Nonna, have experimented with adding a “health and wellness” surcharge designed to help pay for health insurance and other employee benefits.

And earlier this year, a number of Portland restaurants, including Le Pigeon and Park Kitchen, ditched tipping and increased prices to help offset wages and compensate both servers and kitchen staff more equitably.

— Samantha Bakall

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