NEWBURYPORT – A new Newburyport restaurant will open its doors Wednesday, welcoming diners for the first full week of lunch, dinner and drinks. The Cormorant is cooking up some interesting concepts – mainly the menu, but also how patrons will pay. No gratuity expected when you get the bill.
“We offer a very competitive salary. We offer paid time off and sick pay. We invest in our staff, they give great service to our customers, our customers want to come back,” explained owner Katie Taricani-Hickey.
Neither of the owners has worked in a restaurant with this no tipping model. But they saw how the pandemic changed and challenged this industry.
“I think employers used to feel like servers, cooks, dishwashers were a dime a dozen. They’re not there. We don’t have that pool of candidates we can trust. When we find them, we want to hold onto them,” said owner Kristen Kilty.
Their newly hired servers start between $19-22 an hour, about three times higher than the state’s service rate for tipped workers. The menu prices are slightly more expensive but not by much.
“This system maybe can’t work right now for every restaurant but it can for us,” Taricani-Kilty said.
Guests pay for the food they enjoy, and servers enjoy knowing their exact take home each week.
“We’re creating this environment where everybody has stability, and we’re creating that for our guests as well,” Kilty added.
The Cormorant is open every day except Tuesday, for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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