Ethical Dining? How Very App…ealing!

A new smart phone application available in the United States allows diners to choose establishments that support fair working conditions for their employees.

Author Annalisa Dorigo, 10.06.15

A new smart phone application available in the United States allows diners to choose establishments that support fair working conditions for their employees.

Eating-out is a much-loved leisure activity. Whether on a budget or splashing out, nothing beats the feeling of sitting down to a meal that you didn’t have to prepare, at a table that you didn’t have to set, and using crockery that you won’t have to wash up afterwards. Food, ambiance and service all add up to make the experience a true act of self-indulgence.

Yet, read in between your antipasti and your main, dig a little deeper into your panna cotta, and the picture of a restaurant sector awash with low wages, discrimination and poor labour mobility is likely to emerge.

The issue of workplace justice is precisely the concern of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United (ROC) in the US. With nearly half of restaurant workers living in or near poverty, and with 90 percent of female workers living off tips experiencing sexual harassment, ROC’s campaigning to raise the the minimum wage of tipped workers, which in some states is as low as 2.13 USD per hour, is an urgent call.

The organisation has been successful in highlighting and combating malpractices and workers rights violations in the work place, such as stolen tips and wages. And now, to help them further increase public awareness on the issue, they have released their new Diners Guide App enabling diners to find restaurants whose workplace practices are as digestible as their food, i.e. those establishments who meet ROCs standards on wages, benefits and promotion practices.

The app also allows diners to add new restaurants to the list which features those who are doing good by their employees, and it encourages customers to challenge those who do not. Further it provides information about jobs within the most popular restaurants in major cities such as Los Angeles, Washington and New York.

Whether you live in the US or whether you are just planning a trip there, this app is guaranteed to make your dining out experience that little bit more enjoyable.

Here’s a video by Saru Jayaraman, Co-founder of ROC:

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