Re: “Our View: Augusta shouldn’t stand in the way of Maine minimum-wage hike” (Dec. 26):

As a restaurant owner, I would like to thank you for proving the point we’ve been trying to show since this went to referendum.

People do not understand the tip-credit guideline. The tip credit was put into place for servers whose primary income comes from tips. On any day that servers’ tips plus wages don’t equal at least the minimum wage per hour for their locality, the employer must increase the wage to do so.

For example, if a server works eight hours in Portland, he must get paid $80.80 between tips and wages. If he made $30 in tips and an hourly wage of $5, that would be $70. The employer is required to make up the difference of $10.80 to equal the minimum wage for that shift.

At my restaurant, I’ve had to adjust wages twice in four years, since even on slow days, servers generally make more than $110 before wages.

I personally have no problem with the $5- or possibly $6-an-hour wage, as it will help during busy times to give enough wages to cover taxes, but as it gets higher then that, prices will go up or service charges will be added. At that point, servers will be paid wages only and service will suffer, as there will be no reward for better service.

I believe the minimum wage should be increased, but leave the tip credit in place. This system has worked for years. Ask any server who has been in the business for five years or more and he’ll tell you to keep it the same.

Kenneth Macgowan

owner, Porthole Restaurant