Service Charge

service moving quickly into dining room
service moving quickly into dining room
many people gathered at tables in a dining room

January, 2024

Why does ESR utilize a Service Charge?

In response to the constantly changing business environment, Ethan Stowell Restaurants (ESR) decided to update our compensation model in 2024 to simplify operations for ourselves, our staff, and our customers. After considering various models, we chose a service charge model where we pay our hourly staff a comprehensive hourly rate. We believe this new approach will allow us to compensate our team both fairly and equitably, attract top talent, provide exceptional guest experiences, and position ESR well for the future.

chef putting a pizza in the oven

How the Service Charge model works

  • A Service Charge is added to each guest check. This Service Charge is retained (100%) by the company.
  • ESR pays the hourly staff an hourly rate based on location, position, experience, tenure in the company, etc.
  • The hourly rate we pay to our hourly staff is in lieu of guests being expected to leave a tip. Gratuities are not expected, however, they are accepted. Some of our guests requested the ability to leave an optional gratuity and therefore our credit card payment process may offer an optional opportunity for the guest to leave a tip. The guest should never feel compelled to leave a tip. Any tips are very much appreciated and 100% of your generosity will be split amongst the hourly staff, never salaried managers.
server walking through dining room

How the Service Charge model impacts the company bottom line

The service charge revenue goes into our general funds and is used to help offset a variety of costs and expenses, much like our revenue from food and beverage. In short, the intent of this model is not to enrich the company financially through retention of Service Charge revenue.


bartender mixing drinks

How does ESR Compensate our Team Members?

We believe in work that is challenging, safe, and gratifying. We believe in teams that bond and grow together. We believe in a livable wage and opportunities for advancement.


  • Competitive pay- Above industry standard
  • Universal Paid Time-Off Benefit
  • Medical, Dental, and Life Insurance Benefits
  • Employee Dining Discount at all ESR restaurants
  • 401(k) Retirement Plan
  • Employee Assistant Program
  • Pre-Tax Cost savings commuter and parking program
  • Supplemental Insurance (Colonial Life Program) - Life & Accident
  • Employee Referral Incentive Program
  • ESR Further Education Fund

If you would like to join our team or learn more about opportunities with ESR please visit our careers page.