Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) United, the national restaurant workers’ organization that works to improve wages and working conditions for the millions in this country who work in the colossal hospitality trade, has released its second annual consumer guide National Diners’ Guide to Ethical Eating 2013. It’s the latest update to the organization’s dining out compendium, but unlike similar volumes published by others, this one rates and ranks restaurants on how they treat their employees. Like earlier editions, it assesses working conditions at some of the highest revenue-grossing restaurants and national chains in America based on worker pay, provisions for paid sick days, and equal opportunity for advancement. In this one, some local restaurants get high marks, but overall, as an industry-wide snapshot, it’s far from flattering. It’s particularly critical of the practices at chain restaurants. This year’s release also comes with a new smartphone app that can be downloaded for free.
Local do-gooders highlighted include Fergie’s Pub, Monk’s Cafe, Belgian Cafe, and Tequila’s. While those restaurants “take the high road to profitability” through fair wages, paid sick time, and opportunity for advancement, large, national chains like Boston Market, Capital Grille, Godfather’s Pizza, and KFC all do not meet the organization’s criteria to be considered a good employer, or simply chose not to respond to ROC’s questionnaires.