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February 7th, 2013
08:38 AM ET

Behind the kitchen door: New book takes a critical look at the restaurant industry

How much do you know about the people who work at your favorite restaurant, how they're treated, and what that means for the food served at your table?

The new book, "Behind the Kitchen Door," takes a critical look at conditions for restaurant workers, revealing an industry rife with low wages, next to no benefits, and often unhealthy work environments.

Author Saru Jayaraman is the co-founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC), which works to improve wages and working conditions at restaurants, and she joins Starting Point today to discuss the revelations made in her new book.

"Restaurant workers make as little as $2.13 an hour... They can’t feed themselves when they’re feeding America," Jayaraman explains. "They often don't have paid sick days, so two-thirds report cooking, preparing and serving food when they're ill with the flu."

Jayaraman also discusses the disparity between opportunities and pay afforded to white and minority workers, explaining that after conducting more than 6,000 surveys, they found that there’s a $4 wage gap between workers of color and white workers.


Filed under: Restaurant Industry