During the COVID-19 pandemic Augustino’s Rock & Roll Deli fast-casual restaurant concept thrived, while traditional sit down restaurants were forced to close their doors.
At that time, diners across the nation became increasingly generous with their tipping behaviors in support of the the struggling industry.
Despite never accepting tips before, the benevolent patrons of Augustino’s Rock & Roll Deli insisted on giving staffers gratuity when they picked up their orders.
Cathy and Jerry Morelli were unsure how to distribute the tips amongst the staff. Should they go to the employees who make the food, the cashiers who took the orders, or the workers who clean up the restaurant?
Furthermore, Augustino’s Rock & Roll Deli received Pandemic Relief Funds, and used them exactly as they were supposed to: To pay their staff.
Even during their bleakest moments, rather than laying anyone off, they both took paycuts so they could continue to pay their employees at both locations their full salaries.
Augustino’s Rock & Roll Deli Culture
Cathy and Jerry Morelli have always paid their staff members a living wage that far exceeds Illinois state minimums, which are $13 for workers over 18-years-old, and a mere $10.50 for teenagers.
Due to the Morelli’s inherent generosity and the restaurant’s fantastic work culture, the teenagers who start their work careers there often stay for years, and most adult employees have been with the company for decades.
Augustino’s Rock & Roll Deli Tips It Forward
With well paid workers and customers who insisted on tipping, the Morelli’s and their staff agreed to use the additional money to provide relief for those struggling with food insecurity during the pandemic.
Because of the kindness of their customers, Augustino’s Rock & Roll Deli has been able to donate more than $10,000 since starting the practice.
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The restaurant currently directs all the funds the receive to The Hundred Club of DuPage County, which is a charitable organization that provides assistance to the families of first responders that have died in the line of duty.
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