'Today' Hosts Object to Restaurant Charging Extra Fee After Minimum Wage Hike

On Thursday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie noted a restaurant in Minnesota that found "a unique way to offset the added expense" of the state hiking its minimum wage: "The Oasis Café is now including a 'minimum wage fee' on bills. You see it right there on the bill. Totals 35 cents....the cafe's owners say this wage hike is going to cost them $10,000 a year, this is their way of protesting it..." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Guthrie touted: "Now complaints are piling up on the cafe's Facebook page. One man says, 'Look, if you can't afford to pay your employees, then you shouldn't be in business.'" Fill-in co-host Carson Daly chimed in: "I'd rather not know. Hike a cost here or there, get your 35 cents and don't tell me."

Weatherman Al Roker observed: "Because they've probably done it other ways without letting you know." News reader Natalie Morales added: "Right. Without clearly stating it on the bill." Guthrie concluded: "Yeah, all companies do it, right? But they don't necessarily say [they're doing it]."

So it's fine to raise costs for businesses, it's fine for businesses to pass those costs on to customers, but the hosts of Today would just prefer that no one know that a liberal government policy like raising the minimum wage was to blame.


Here is a full transcript of the August 7 exchange:

8:12 AM ET

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Alright, let's do Trending, folks. Minnesota recently raised its minimum wage. So one restaurant has come up with a unique way to offset the added expense. Well, it's not that unique, actually. They're passing on the cost to customers, that happens a lot, but they're actually telling the customers, okay?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Check This Out; Restaurant Charges Customers "Minimum Wage Fee"]  

The Oasis Café is now including a "minimum wage fee" on bills. You see it right there on the bill. Totals 35 cents. Now complaints are piling up on the cafe's Facebook page. One man says, "Look, if you can't afford to pay your employees, then you shouldn't be in business."

But the cafe's owners say this wage hike is going to cost them $10,000 a year, this is their way of protesting it, not only by passing on the cost, which as I say, happens a lot in business, but actually telling the customers was probably the unusual move there.

CARSON DALY: I'd rather not know. Hike a cost here or there, get your 35 cents and don't tell me.

AL ROKER: Because they've probably done it other ways without letting you know.

NATALIE MORALES: Right. Without clearly stating it on the bill.

GUTHRIE: Yeah, all companies do it, right? But they don't necessarily say, "Hey, we're-"

DALY: Or if you say a prayer, then you get 15% off maybe that 35.

GUTHRIE: Yeah, there you go.

MORALES: That was in North Carolina.

TAMRON HALL: The burger wasn't cheap. The burger was $8.00. I mean, if you look at the bill, it's eight bucks, that's not cheap.

GUTHRIE: Yeah. Try $8.35.

ROKER: Apart from New York City.

HALL: Well, yeah, in New York City, but that's not New York. Goodness.

DALY: Right. For us, yeah, that's cheap. Alright, to be continued on that debate.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC