No hubbub this time: Cafe with 'minimum wage fee' raises prices after recent hike


The Stillwater cafe that drew praise and backlash last summer for charging a "minimum wage fee" following last year's minimum wage hike, has now decided to raise its prices.

Craig Beemer, who owns the Oasis Cafe, told BringMeTheNews Wednesday that instead of increasing the minimum wage fee to offset costs from the most recent minimum wage increase, he decided to raise prices on the menu.

"While the majority of our customers were supportive of the 35-cent fee minimum wage fee, it seemed more fair to customers dining by themselves and groups wanting to split their bill to cover the additional labor cost through an increase to menu pricing," Beemer wrote in an email to BringMeTheNews.

The cafe now charges an additional 35 cents for each menu item, the Pioneer Press says. And no one seemed to notice the change, Beemer told the paper.

That's much different from last summer, when the cafe's minimum wage fee drew both critics and defenders, and news of the fee spread across the nation. News outlets including the Today show, the Washington Post and Fox News Latino featured items on the Oasis.

In the weeks following the addition of the minimum wage fee, business boomed at the cafe. And Beemer told the Pioneer Press that sales were up 20 percent for a 12-month period that ended July 31, 2015.

Leading up to the passage of the minimum wage law last year, many small restaurants and other small businesses argued against it, saying the increase would force them to lay off workers or increase their prices.

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