Restaurant workers for the Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse dining chains will soon be guaranteed a higher minimum wage.
Starting Monday, hourly restaurant workers at both chains will earn at least $10 an hour in wages and tips combined, with further increases to $12 an hour to be phased in through 2023.
The raise makes Darden Restaurants Inc., the brands’ Orlando, Fla.-based parent company, the latest business to institute a wage floor higher than the federally mandated minimum as legislators, business leaders and activists debate better compensation for low-skilled workers.
On average, hourly restaurant workers at Darden already earned more than $17 an hour in combined wages and tips, the company said. As of May 31, the company employed 167,000 hourly restaurant workers. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic. Darden temporarily furloughed 150,000 people from its total workforce of 177,000, although a significant portion had been brought back before the start …