New Restaurant Lobby Group Fights Back Against National Restaurant Association

Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards in Employment hopes to raise tipped minimum wage, win mandatory paid sick days

Last week, the Restaurant Opportunities Center United (ROC United) announced the formation of a new restaurant association, an alternative to the ubiquitous National Restaurant Association.

RAISE (Restaurants Advancing Industry Standards in Employment) was founded to lobby for livable wages (tipped and non-tipped), paid sick days, and affordable health care access, among other issues, a press release says.

RAISE was founded as an alternative to the NRA, ROC United co-founder and co-director Saru Jayaraman told The Daily Meal over the phone, when many small business owners found that the NRA just happened to lobby against standards they believe in. "More small business owners see that the NRA doesn’t speak for them," she said.

"We’re totally open to talking to the NRA," Jayaraman added, but they'll be rivals "as long as they’re actively lobbying for things that we’re actively lobbying against."

In addition to raising minimum wages and offering paid sick days, RAISE goals also include improved workplace health and safety, diverse and equitable employement, career advancement opportunities, and responsible immigration reform.

"Small businesses are really leading the way on these issues and profiting from them," Jayaraman told The Daily Meal over the phone. "It's a way of doing business that is actually more profitable and sustainable in the long run."


So far, RAISE has signed on Tom Colicchio, Mario Batali, and Ilan Hall to help the promotion of their ideals. Their first political move? Lobbying behind the Fair Minimum Wage Act introduced by representative George Miller, which would raise the minimum wage to $10.10 in three years (with tipped minimum wage at 70 percent of that). Tipped minimum wage is currently $2.13 an hour.