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Are you an ethical diner? Here’s how to select the best-run restaurant for your next meal

We all enjoy eating out at restaurants.

The food is typically well-prepared, and who doesn’t enjoy being waited on by a young go-getter who is eager to please and provide the Ultimate Dining Experience?

Ok, well maybe not every restaurant you eat at ends up being the Ultimate Dining Experience, but go with us on the concept here.

Let’s look at this from another viewpoint – if you were going to work at a restaurant, would you rather work at a restaurant that provided the Ultimate Employee Experience, or one that treated all of their employees without care?

How to be a Better Restaurant Customer: Stop Sabotaging Your Own Dining Experiences
How to be a Better Restaurant Customer: Stop Sabotaging Your Own Dining Experiences

That’s where the RESTAURANT OPPORTUNITIES CENTERS UNITED  comes into play.

Their goal is to publicize which companies treat their employees well, and which ones could be doing better.

They took a close-up look at 186 different restaurant chains across the country and evaluated them on the following criteria:

  • Tipped wages (minimum wage is $2.13 if you receive tips, and tips+wages must total a minimum of $7.25)
  • Non-tipped wages (minimum wage is $7.25 if you do not receive tips)
  • Paid sick days and proper overtime pay
  • Opportunity for advancement

You can read the ROC NATIONAL 2012 DINER’S GUIDE (A Consumer Guide on the Working Conditions of American Restaurants) here

So which restaurants faired poorly?

Practically all of them.   All the usual suspects are there, especially if you rattle off the name of your Favorite Fast Food Chain.  Web Watch would be doing a disservice by listing the whole number of low-ranked restaurants here, or the ones that ROC was involved with in legal issues.

But there were a few standouts that do deserve a shoutout or two for treating their employees right:

  • Avalon
  • Ben’s Chili Bowl
  • Busboys and Poets
  • Chaya Restaurant Group
  • Colors
  • Comida
  • Cowgirl
  • Craft
  • Crema
  • El Fuego
  • Elephant Bar Restaurant
  • Five Guys Burgers and Fries
  • Freshii
  • Good
  • Good Girl Dinette
  • The Gorbals
  • Guerilla Cafe
  • Homegirl Cafe
  • Houlihan’s
  • In-n-Out Burger
  • Inspire BBQ
  • Jack Rose
  • Jose Andres
  • La Palapa
  • Las Chicas Locas
  • Le Petit Zinc
  • Local
  • Nextar
  • Neyow’s Creole Cafe
  • One if by Land
  • Pizzaiolo
  • Russell Street Deli
  • Seva
  • Slow’s BBQ
  • Sugar Bliss
  • Todai
  • Union Square
  • Wolfgang Puck’s Grille
  • Yola
  • Zinerman’s Deli
  • Zingerman’s Roadhouse