ROC-Michigan released Behind the Kitchen Door: Inequality & Opportunity in Metro Detroit’s Growing Restaurant Industry in 2010, the most comprehensive study of Detroit’s restaurant industry ever conducted. The research included 501 surveys of restaurant workers, 32 worker interviews, 37 employer interviews, and government data analysis. The findings illustrated the great need for reform that can achieve a sustainable industry in which workers, employers, and diners can prosper together.
- The median hourly wage in Detroit is $8.32, though 12.9% of workers in Detroit make a living wage.
- 95% of workers surveyed do not receive paid sick days.
- Many of the workers surveyed experienced wage violations. Almost one third (31.7%) have worked off the clock without pay.
- Metro Detroit is largely geographically segregated- low-wage restaurant jobs are concentrated in the City of Detroit, while higher-paying jobs are concentrated in the suburbs.
- The low wages and few benefits for restaurant workers have an impact on the consumer. Nearly two-thirds (60.9%) of restaurant workers surveyed have worked in a restaurant while sick, increasing the likelihood that their illness will be passed on to consumers.