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Is This the End of Tipping?

Though Ms. Van Duser was mortified, she said she knew she had to quietly sweep away the mess. She needed the tip.She said she used to make $150 to $300 during an eight-hour shift. In the spring and summer, she said she often made as little as $25. She has since left service work, because she did not feel safe with indoor dining, and has done some contract outreach work for One Fair Wage.In a recent national study of more than 1,600 workers, conducted by One Fair Wage and the Food Labor Research Center at the University of California, Berkeley, over three-quarters …

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Hurt by Lockdowns, California’s Small Businesses Push to Recall Newsom

Small businesses across the country have suffered from shutdowns that sometimes seem to flare up as suddenly as surges in the coronavirus itself. Restaurants, gyms, corner stores and spas have closed, some after trying to hang in there for months.The pain in California has been acute. Nearly 40,000 small businesses had closed in the state by September — more than in any other state since the pandemic began, according to a report compiled by Yelp. Half had shut permanently, according to the report, far more than the 6,400 that had closed permanently in New York.Few of the pandemic choices that Mr. …

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How a Queens Shaobing Stall Survives a Pandemic

As several restaurants in Flushing, Queens, one of the largest Chinatowns in New York City, shut down amid the pandemic, Yukun Shaobing quietly opened inside a nondescript mini-mall last September — a seemingly inauspicious start.Still, the cramped food stall of about 100 square feet, with no English-language name or advertising, has become a hit in a neighborhood beleaguered by Covid-19 and high rents.The key to that success is an extensive menu of warm and flaky Shandong-style shaobing, baked flatbreads stuffed with savory and sweet fillings that have locals, some of the most exacting critics of Chinese fare, coming back for …

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How a Minimum-Wage Increase Is Being Felt in a Low-Wage City

When the wage went up, Ms. Parra said, she could more easily help with rent and pay the phone and cable bills at the apartment that she shares with her mother, who makes $18.50 an hour at a heating and air-conditioning company.She noted, however, that her wages were not enough for her to live on her own. “I wouldn’t say that we’re poor, but I also wouldn’t say that we’re well off,” she said. “But because there is both of us who have incomes, we’re able to do O.K.”Mayor Jerry Dyer said there …

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The Power Balance Is Shifting in London’s Commercial Real Estate

LONDON — For years, landlords have had the upper hand in London’s real estate market, pushing up rents as businesses clamored for prime locations near offices, tourism hot spots and transport hubs and as the city’s population grew and grew. Restaurants were often locked into leases with clauses that allowed the rent to only go up. Retailers faced increasingly exorbitant rents.Over the course of a year, the pandemic has brought a halt to this arrangement, shifting the power balance between commercial property tenants and landlords.Confronting the alternative of having empty properties, some landlords have loosened their terms, …

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Europe’s Bankruptcies Are Plummeting. That May Be a Problem.

PARIS — Romain Rozier’s cafe should be bankrupt by now.Since the coronavirus hit last spring, sales at the once buzzing lunch spot in northern Paris are down 80 percent. The only customers on a recent day were a couple of UberEats couriers and a handful of people spaced far apart at the counter, ordering takeout.“We’re at death’s door,” Mr. Rozier said, tallying the 300 euros ($365) he had made from the lunch shift, well below the €1,200 he used to pull in. “The only reason we haven’t gone under is because of financial aid.”France and other European countries …

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It Could Be a Great Year, if Your Business Survives Winter

For Ashlie Ordonez, owner of the Bare Bar Studio, a spa in Denver, vaccinations for the coronavirus can’t come soon enough. While she anticipates better days later this year, surviving until then will be a struggle, and she knows the next few months will be lean ones.“I sold my wedding ring so we could pay the bills and keep the doors open,” she said. “I’m sacrificing everything to make it through this pandemic.”Vinay Patel, who manages a chain of nine hotels in Maryland and Virginia, is looking even further out for a recovery: “2022 is when we’ …

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27 Places Raising the Minimum Wage to $15 an Hour

It started in 2012 with a group of protesters outside a McDonald’s demanding a $15 minimum wage — an idea that even many liberal lawmakers considered outlandish. In the years since, their fight has gained traction across the country, including in conservative states with low union membership and generally weak labor laws.On Friday, 20 states and 32 cities and counties will raise their minimum wage. In 27 of these places, the pay floor will reach or exceed $15 an hour, according to a report released on Thursday by the National Employment Law Project, which supports minimum-wage increases. The movement’s strength — a ballot measure to …

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How May We Serve You? For Restaurant Chains, It Depends on the Location

Executives at the Brazilian steakhouse chain Fogo de Chão thought they had seen the worst of it.Earlier in the year, when seemingly each hour brought news of another city or state abruptly shutting down because of the pandemic, executives switched from email to the messaging system WhatsApp to communicate in real time with the general managers of their 43 U.S.-based restaurants scattered around the country.“The first time we heard a state issue a stay-at-home order we were like, ‘What does that mean? What are they talking about?’” said Barry McGowan, the chief executive of Fogo de …

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Pandemic Closures Devastate Restaurant Industry’s Middle Class

Around the same time, the industry was staggering back to life. In Chicago, the Michelin-starred Elske, known for its moderately priced tasting menu, began opening three days a week to offer takeout. “Our first meal was Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes and cucumber salad,” said David Posey, the chef who co-owns Elske with his wife. “We thought we’d go through that in a week. It was enough for one day.”In Nashville, Tony Galzin, the co-owner and chef at Nicky’s, revved up his coal-fired oven and sold housemade pizzas and fresh pasta to go. In Washington, Cork Wine Bar, …

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