Is it finally time for big changes when it comes to restaurant pay? After years of restaurants testing the waters with no-tipping policies and, in many parts of the country, having to adapt to new minimum-wage requirements, the pandemic (and the unruly diners it has brought with it) may be providing an industry-wide time of reckoning. Many operators are finding that making adjustments to the compensation they offer – whether through their hourly wage, tipping policy, or health benefits – has become a must at a time when the industry is losing workers to other professions. The operators who have found ways to make it work are reporting some early success: According to a recent New York Times report, operators who have changed their compensation structure to ensure a steady living wage – or even simply offering other quality-of-life benefits like flexible schedules, lower health premiums and student debt-reduction programs in its place – are attracting staff. Providing income and scheduling stability stands to help restaurants retain their staff too (and minimize the high costs of employee turnover). Of course, it takes a strong business model to make it work financially, and operators are making such money-saving moves as streamlining menus and adding a service fee to checks to make that possible. As you consider your operation’s strengths and weaknesses when it comes to employee compensation, where are there opportunities for you to improve your staff’s quality of life in meaningful ways? If raising wages isn’t an option, are there ways for you to make your existing positions a better long-term fit with your staff’s personal lives – and minimize your turnover costs in the process?