As the debate over the minimum wage and the role tip income should play in satisfying the minimum wage obligation for tipped employees continues on the federal and state level, a restaurant in Minnesota recently joined the fray.  Rather than raise prices gradually in response to the recent increase to the Minnesota state minimum wage, the Oasis Café has attached a mandatory $.35 “minimum wage fee” charge to each order, expressly to highlight the impact of the minimum wage increase on their operation.

This “small business” response to a change in the minimum wage serves as a microcosm of the different forces impacting the discussion, such as businesses for whom compliance with minimum wage requirements is the most pressing, typically industries involving lower wage workers and smaller profit margins.  Watch this space for further legal developments impacting the minimum wage on the federal and, importantly, state level, for both tipped and non-tipped employees.