2.18.2015: @Nihilist_Arbys / Fair Labor


This App Rates How Restaurants Treat Employees

“In a world where shoppers fret over cage-free eggs and organic vegetables, how many are also asking how much their favorite restaurant pays its staff?” Good question, NPR. Now there’s new technology to help the consumer understand that information. An app from Restaurant Opportunities Centers United allows users to browse local restaurants and learn what they pay their staff and if they offer benefits like paid sick leave. Also included: top chain restaurants in the US.

The NPR piece linked above has a lot more information about this, if you’re interested. But this is smart. Digital technology does encourage transparency, and this should extend to workers’ rights and fair practices. It’s also empowering for the consumer to select which businesses to support based on this information.

illustration by April V. Walters
illustration by April V. Walters


To Follow: @NihilistArbys

Awesome Twitter account I didn’t know about: @NihilistArbys. (Though 16,800 people know and follow it, so if you’re one of them, how about a head’s up next time, please?) The account has nothing to do with an actual Arby’s, but is pretty hilarious in its nihilist observations sort-of related to Arby’s. It’s good for a laugh and perhaps a beef-n-cheddar craving. (A recent favorite: “There, at the end of the world, beneath the bloody hooves of those horsemen ushering in the eternal doom, arbys will do 2 for 1 curly fries”)


Are You a Sexist Tipper?

In more good news in proper and fair compensation in the restaurant industry, Toothpick is a new iOS app that wants you to “tip what women deserve.” Except… not quite in a way you’d expect. The app asks you to input the percentage tip you plan to leave and the total of your bill. It then shows you, based on US Census information, how much to tip depending on the gender of your server. Apparently, women servers earn 22 percent less than their male counterparts. The app also encourages everyone to sign a petition to add an Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution. Interesting.


Yelp Sues Company that Charges for All Positive (and Fake) Reviews

Part of my beef with user reviews on sites like Yelp is that they’re hard to confirm as truth. Regardless, though, a solid Yelp rating can really impact a restaurant’s business and bottom line, and tons of people use them when deciding where to eat and what to order. As such, in an effort to keep reviews legit, Yelp is suing a company called Revleap that promises “all positive reviews” for a business.

The suit alleges misleading practices, including using Yelp’s name and branding and the promise of gift cards or other rewards for completing positive surveys about businesses. Also, Yelp wants to “help businesses distinguish between companies that are playing by the rules and those that are using Yelp’s name to make a dollar by taking advantage of unsuspecting small businesses.” Yelp also turned the filing into a blog post to explain directly to businesses and consumers what the company is doing to combat such disingenuous practices. Makes for great press, I guess.


… to The New Yorker, for its humor piece this week: Noma: East Village Walkup Edition.


  • Westminster Kennel Club’s dog show is happening now in New York. The best of breed Australian Shepherd’s name is Bourdain. (His AKC name contains “No Reservations.”) — Westminster Kennel Club
  • Tom Colicchio joins MSNBC as a “food correspondent” — LA Times
  • Why the foodservice industry is ripe for disruption — Food+Tech Connect

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