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sam hart speaks


So yes, we paid for our James Beard nom. We did that by paying the people who created that experience, our employees, what they deserve. Here at Counter-, we have been vocal and offensive with our belief in paying a liveable wage – showcasing companies with a liveable wage and not doing business with any purveyor or supplier without one.

For Counter- 2.0, our new standalone space that opened in December, we installed a laundry room, because we couldn’t find a linen cleaning service that paid employees a liveable wage. We switched a few of our provisioners to align with this new company policy, and within weeks a few companies reached back out letting us know they gave 20+ people raises to fulfill these guidelines. Change was happening.

We have 17 full-time employees. The average salary at Counter- and Biblio is $60,312, including the bonuses and commissions we pay based on performance and gross sales. No full-time employees here are hourly, and the average work week is 47 hours.

They all receive at least four weeks of paid vacation and a stipend to pay for, on average, 85% of their health, dental, and vision insurance. I informed our investors and business partner that I would not take a raise that would put me above the average pay at the restaurant group. I bring home a salary of $55,000 per year — 9.12% less than the company average — and no bonuses. We’ve made this happen by allotting 40 percent of our operating costs to labor; the industry standard ranges from 25 to 30 percent.


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