App rates restaurants on catering to workers’ needs; 9 Philly restaurants included

A new restaurant guide is now available as a cell phone app. But it makes no mention of the quality of the food or service.

It rates restaurants by how they treat their employees.

The Restaurant Opportunities Center, a national organization advocating for people who work in one of the largest industries in the world, has just published the 2013 “Diner’s Guide to Ethical Eating.” It rates restaurants based on how well they pay their employees (at least $5 for tipped workers, $9 for untipped workers); whether they offer paid sick days; and opportunities for professional advancement.

For years, consumers have been asking about how their food was treated before it got to the plate. Now it’s time to ask after the server, says ROC co-founder, Saru Jayaraman.

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“Really observing the success of the food movement in having consumers ask every time they eat out — is this local? Is this organic?

“We want to replicate its success by having consumers also ask, as a consumer, I would love to see you paid sick days,” said Jayaraman. “And just say that. Not to tell people where to eat, or not to eat. It’s about giving consumers tools they need to speak up every time they eat out, or send a tweet through our new iPhone app if they feel uncomfortable speaking up.”

The guide rated 150 of the largest restaurant companies in America, including Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Capitol Grille — all of which fared poorly due to lawsuits related to wages or discrimination.

The guide also acknowledged locally owned restaurants in several cities. Nine Philadelphia restaurants were rated, up from one restaurant in the 2012 edition.

Jayaraman says Philadelphia is one of the more progressive cities when it comes to restaurant workers, based mostly on the passing of Councilman Jim Kenney’s gratuity protection bill last year, and an attempt to pass a paid sick day bill this year. Last week, City Council recognized the efforts of those nine starred restaurants in the ROC guide.

The Philadelphia restaurants included in the ratings are:

The Belgian CafeBlissFareFergie’s PubGrace TavernLil Pop ShopMonk’sNodding HeadTequilas

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