Business Booms after Stillwater Cafe adds Minimum Wage Surcharge

Updated: 08/20/2014 7:28 AM
Created: 08/19/2014 4:45 PM
By: Jay Kolls

The owner of Stillwater's River Oasis Cafe imposed a surcharge on all customer tabs Aug. 1, and he was caught up in a spirited debate that spread across the country. 

Craig Beemer says he did not add the 35-cent surcharge to take a political stand. Beemer says he calculated the minimum wage increase for all of his servers, and rather than increase menu prices he added the small surcharge on to all his customers' checks.

Since then, over two weeks ago, Beemer says he has been flooded with criticism and support, and he's even appeared on national television political talk shows. 

"I am an unwilling participant in the minimum wage debate this has caused," Beemer said, adding that Gov. Mark Dayton called his surcharge a "tacky move" in a newspaper publication.

However, Beemer says his business the past two weeks is the best his restaurant has ever experienced. Beemer says every one of his employees supported the surcharge idea before he implemented it.

Beemer says he's invited Dayton to the River Oasis Cafe, but the governor has not yet responded.

Minneapolis/St. Paul

Scattered Clouds
80° | 60°
  • Feels like: 79° F
  • Wind: W 16mph
  • Humidity: 32%