As if we don’t have a hard enough time making money at our job, our sneaky ass government has just gone and passed a new law that is really going to take some money out of our apron. A couple of years ago, the law changed that made it virtually impossible to add the automatic gratuity to large parties and we know how much that hurts us every time we see a party of sixteen show up to your section, stay for for hours and then throw you $10 like they’re really doing you a favor. Well, here is the latest way we are going to pay to wait tables.
Just last week, the senate passed a new bill called Food Handler Card, SB 704. Plenty of us are used to having to get a food handlers card and it’s not that big of a deal. The difference now, is that it will be required to renew every 12 months and it will cost $350 every time you get the new one. It will be required of everyone who waits tables anywhere in the United States and Puerto Rico with the exception of a few districts in Kentucky. And guess who has to pay for the fucking license: we do!!
Pursuant to Senate Bill 704, enacted into law in 2016, all retail food handlers, as defined, will be required to obtain a food handler card after taking a food safety training course and passing an exam to obtain a license which will be good for 12 months from the date of issue. The fee for such exam will be $350.00 and will be a requirement of any/all service employers who shall be serving food with the exception of the aforementioned districts. The guideline document was compiled by a stakeholder working group comprised of members of the National Retail Food Safety Coalition (NRFSC), the National Conference of Directors of Environmental Health (NCDEH), and the National Restaurant Association (NRA). The frequently asked questions and answers in the document are intended to provide guidance for food handlers, local enforcement agencies, industry, and training providers as this law is implemented and becomes effective on January 1, 2017.
The law will not go into effect until January 1, 2017 so we have some time to let that settle in, but how did this happen? How have we not heard anything about this law until it is too late to do anything about it? And do I want to avoid this yearly fee enough to move to a certain district of Kentucky?
Gene Lee, president and chief executive officer of Darden (Olive Garden, Longhorn Steakhouse, etc.), had this to say about the law: “We feel this new bill will improve the overall safety and excellence that we will be able to provide to our guest. While we understand this may be a financial burden for some of our staff, overall, it is a wonderful thing and we look forward to embracing the change.” When asked if Darden would ever consider paying for the card on behalf of their employees, he said, “At this time, there are no plans for that. The staff will be responsible if they want to work with the Darden company.” And it’s not just Darden, it’s every restaurant in the country.
Of course I am furious and you should be too. This is just another way for someone else to make money while taking money away from us! Fuck that! Do they think we are rich and that we can afford to spend $350 every twelve months on some bullshit food handlers license? It’s probably too late to do anything about it, but I did find a place where you can lodge a complaint. If we all do it, maybe, just maybe, we can get this piece of shit legislature overturned. Please click here and do that now!