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Wage War Against Low Wages

Colleen Hannegan

I stopped for lunch at Wahoo’s for a fish taco yesterday,in Laguna Beach, Ca. I had a client work day across the street, so the idea of my lunch break looking out over the ocean while I enjoyed one of my favorite meals, sounded perfect. The weather was cooperating nicely. Sun, breeze, not too hot, clear skies out 25 miles to Catalina Island.

The employee behind the counter, was genuinely happy I’d come in to order. She liked me so much, she offered me a FREE chicken taquito to go with my fish taco. She smiled and asked if I’d like some FREE lip balm and a tube of FREE sunscreen, also. ?? Ok, sure! Seemed like I’d chosen a day to have lunch where they were giving out FREE stuff. I noticed the posted sign on the cash register that read today was a special FREE offer day.

The pleasantry that I was greeted with, continued with the waitress, who brought my lunch to me outside on the patio, the employee who collected finished plates from guests, offered water to others and made sure each customer was being served well. Not one customer went unnoticed or neglected.
The order counter, the kitchen and the staff making their rounds kept a fast pace and shared smiles with everyone. They acted like they really owned the place.

When I was finished basking in the sun and enjoying my delicious lunch, two employees made sure they said goodbye, thanked me for coming in and wished me a good day.

Fish tacos. $3.00 I can’t recall when I’ve had such care put into my experience about eating out. Not for $20, $35, or $75 (for two)! I put in a call and left a message for the store manager to express my appreciation and delight at how well these Wahoo’s employees were trained to treat the customers above and beyond.

And I wanted to know, are they getting paid above minimum wage? Are they receiving performance-based incentives to reward and to share in the success of this restaurant? Is part of the store profits being fairly distributed as bonuses for such commitment and excellent work?

Paying your employees well, is very good for business. Cost and Trader Joe’s are known for paying way above minimum wage to employees. I’m hoping Wahoo’s is following that good idea.

Employees want two things.
1. A fair and equitable place to work.
2. A decent living wage for great work performance (and bonuses!) and to share in profits they had a direct role in creating.
Let’s add a third thing. To be appreciated by your superior for your efforts.

If you are pay your staff better than they could earn at the competitor and tell them how much you appreciate their work, your bottom line will always be better.

Wahoo’s in Laguna Beach is rockin’ customer service.

I sure hope the boss is showing his appreciation every pay-day.