Today, we’re excited to announce the formation of RAISE (Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards in Employment), an alternative restaurant association of nearly 100 business owners across the country aimed at supporting business owners and employers—and the workers they employ. The announcement comes the same week as the National Restaurant Association, employing lobbyists representing some of the country’s largest chain restaurant corporations, is scheduled to come to the Hill for their annual “lobby day.”

“For too long Congress has heard only from the National Restaurant Association—the other NRA—which represents corporate lobbyists in the restaurant industry,” said Saru Jayaraman, co-founder of ROC United. “RAISE represents the voices of small sustainable restaurant owners who make long term profits by providing livable wages and benefits to their employees.”

RAISE aims to support small and medium-sized business owners as they move towards the “High Road” to profitability by raising the standards by which we do business. “High Road” practices include:

· Livable wages, tipped and non-tipped

· Paid sick days

· Access to affordable health care

· Safe and healthy workplace

· Diverse and equitable employment

· Career advancement opportunities

· Responsible immigration reform

· Environmental sustainability

Rep. George Miller (D-CA), sponsor of the recently introduced Fair Minimum Wage Act, and WAGES Act sponsor Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D-MD) joined Jayaraman and several member employers to discuss the need to increase the minimum wage for all restaurant employees, including those who work for tips, and to raise standards in the restaurant industry by supporting sustainable and fair practices. Among the restaurant owners present were Andy Shallal, owner of DC’S Busboys & Poets and Eatonville Restaurants, Teresa Ging, owner of Sugar Bliss Cake Boutique in Chicago, IL and Natan Zion, Owner, The Gorbals Restaurant in Los Angeles, CA.

Rep. Miller’s Fair Minimum Wage Act would reconnect the regular and tipped minimum wage while raising both, stabilizing the restaurant industry just as it is project to grow by 10.6% over the next ten years. Raising the tipped minimum wage will help lift many restaurant workers out of poverty and provide a path to the middle class for millions of Americans.

Learn more about RAISE and its members here.

Download our 2013 Diner’s Guide app here.

Support the Fair Minimum Wage Act & paid sick days for restaurant workers.

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