The Great Service Divide NEW YORK

In 2009 ROC-NY released The Great Service Divide, an in depth study of occupational segregation and discrimination on the basis of race and gender in the New York fine dining restaurant industry.  The research included 138 matched pair audit tests, in which whites and people of color applied to the same server positions in New York fine dining restaurants. The tester pairs were matched in every respect except for race and ethnicity. The research also included demographic canvassing of the race/ethnicity makeup of front-of-the-house restaurant positions in 45 fine dining restaurants; analysis of 530 surveys; 40 worker interviews and 40 employer interviews and 40 worker interviews; and census data analysis of the relationship between wages, race/ethnicity, gender, and nativity.

Our Findings

  • White applicants were almost twice as likely to get a job offer despite being given slightly lesser qualifications.
  • White male workers hold the vast majority of livable-wage front of the house positions, such as servers and bartenders, while workers of color hold the vast majority of lower-paid front of the house positions, such as bussers and runners.
  • Workers of color earn 11.6% less than white workers, female workers earn 21.8% less than male workers, and immigrant workers make 9.7% less than non-immigrant workers, even accounting for differences in education, experience, and English ability.

Download the full report here.