A seat at the table: An inquiry into the treatment of restaurant workers and the “high road” restaurant movement Public Deposited

The restaurant industry is essential to the daily lives of millions of Americans, as consumers and as members of the labor force. Yet, despite the growth and success of the restaurant industry, its workers are paid subminimum wages, lack access to subsidized health insurance and other benefits, and suffer discrimination that occurs along intersecting lines of race and gender. These practices, termed “low road” by Saru Jayaraman, impede the realization of socially just “high road” restaurant. Using grounded theory methodology, literature review and scoping review methods, this research addresses the injustices occurring in full service restaurants by determining what restaurant owners and operators are doing to reject the exploitative status quo and take the “high road”, and how policy reform can aid in their efforts to bring about a socially just restaurant industry that offers adequate wages, benefits, and the opportunity to live with dignity, regardless of race and/or gender.

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