In order to attract the best talent, you may need to refine how you operate your business. The suggestions listed below will be most effective accomplished with a trusted and objective SBDC advisor.

Efficiency Gains

  • Review and understand your business’s financial statements
  • Look for ways to help manage costs
  • Provide training to drive efficiency
  • Look for Employer Tax incentives

Sales Strategies

  • Use a point-of-sale system to track inventory rather than manually tracking
  • Increase online sales to help lower labor costs
  • Upsell to drive more sales
  • Create product or service bundles to help generate sales without increasing labor
  • Use a subscription or annual sales model
  • Offer ancillary products from other small businesses
  • Partner with other businesses to sell your products
  • Leverage low or no-cost marketing such as social media
  • Move your business model toward high revenue streams
  • Communicate with consumers and pass along costs as a Fair Wage Fee (See examples below)

Supplier Relations and Sourcing

  • Ask for better terms or discounts from suppliers
  • Find efficiencies in bulk purchases or timely purchases
  • Have an understanding of cost of goods sold and a plan for what cost of goods sold should be – find national averages
  • Create product or service bundles to help generate sales without increasing labor
  • Offer ancillary products from other small businesses 


Fair Wage Fee Example Messages

To provide fair, living hourly wages for all staff, we have adjusted our model to include a 15% Fair Wage Fee on each order. Rather than paying the tipped minimum wage of $2.13/hour, the average hourly wage at Caboose is $15/hr.  In this model, tipping is not required, though much appreciated.  Caboose Brewing Company, Vienna, VA


Why 22%?  We believe the traditional restaurant compensation model is broken. It fails to provide the kind of stability and equality of pay we owe to our employees. There is currently a deep pay disparity between those working behind the scenes, in kitchens and dish rooms, and our front-of-house service staff, despite both teams being critical to the guest experience. This is largely a product of the customary tipping system in the U.S. -- a system that data has shown suffers from bias and discrimination and which this pandemic has laid bare the vulnerabilities. We feel compelled to offer a different business model to our employees, our community, and the industry as a whole; one that ensures workers receive fair and equitable pay in a transparent way.


At Eastern Point, we offer all of our hourly team members between $17 and $21 an hour, and work to offer them sufficient hours of work per week to earn a living wage.  We cover 50% of health, dental and vision insurance premiums for our hourly team members after 90 days of employment and 100% of those premiums for our managers after 30 days. We believe good pay and an open dialogue leads to a stronger, happier team, and ultimately, a better experience for you as a guest.


A 22% living wage charge is added to all dine-in, take-out and delivery orders, instead of manipulating menu prices. This 22% goes directly to payroll and benefits for our team—100% of it. We aim to increase benefits as the business becomes more stab, once we are able to get to the other side of this pandemic.  Based on our experience and research, we think this is the best way to help bring positive change to the hospitality industry. 

Should you tip too? You are welcome to add gratuity, we will split it evenly among the hourly team members working during that shift. Our managers never receive any portion of the tips left for the hourly team.


We will continue to seek new and innovative ways of operating restaurants that create a better life for employees and a better community for our neighbors and guests.

Thank you for supporting us in this journey. The Duck and The Peach, Washington, DC

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