The food service industry was one of the hardest hit by the pandemic during 2020 - most were closed for months, many had to pivot to delivery or takeout, and even a couple here around town added outdoor dining bubbles to keep people socially distanced.

It's also meant that a lot of restaurant employees have either been let go or saw their finances severely diminished. So one business here in town is trying to help out their workforce - Hunter Bay Coffee Roasters in Missoula has added a 15% COVID-19 gratuity to its bills, with all of that money going directly to their employees.

So, to be clear, the employees aren't asking for any additional tips beyond this 15% gratuity, so this is taking that place (although, I'm sure you could tip more if you chose to). It's an automatic gratuity that gets added to the bill, and is explained to customers before they order anything at Hunter Bay. So you may be spending slightly more than you originally planned, but you're also helping out people who've been working hard throughout the pandemic and could use the assist.

I'll be curious to see if other places around Missoula try to do something similar for their employees. I know a lot of workplaces have had difficulty hiring people this year, but a little guaranteed extra cash would probably go a long way to incentivize people to come back.

Have you stopped by Hunter Bay Coffee Roasters recently and noticed the new change to your bill? How do you feel about it?

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