Charlotte’s 5th Street Group Reaches Million Dollar Milestone for “Tip the Kitchen” Initiative


Charlotte’s 5th Street Group is pleased to announce that its initiative, “Tip the Kitchen,” has generated over one million dollars for its back-of-house staff as of today. The program, which was established in April of 2021, was created in response to helping address the wage gap between the front-of-house employees and the culinary team. 5th Street Group ownership matches collective kitchen tips up to $500 a day per restaurant.

The “Tip the Kitchen” initiative adds a second line on each receipt to give patrons at 5th Street Group restaurants the opportunity to tip (or not to tip) back-of-house-staff, including the chefs, line cooks, dishwashers and prep cooks who are essential to the restaurant’s success. 5th Street Group guests are responsible for contributing $550,000 to the initiative and 5th Street Group ownership matched $450,000. Additionally, 5th Street Group ownership contributed $183,000 to supplement the server’s tips for any tips that were split between the server and the back-of-house tip, known as the ‘backstop.’

“While we do not have a year’s worth of data, we estimate that the Tip the Kitchen initiative has raised our operational costs by roughly 1.5%. However, this is a very small price to pay to move all 400 of our employees into the middle class or beyond,” says Patrick Whalen, owner and CEO of 5th Street Group. “We are grateful to both our guests and our employees for successfully partnering on such a worthy enterprise.”

In addition to providing a livable wage to all 5th Street Group employees, Tip the Kitchen has allowed the 5th Street Group restaurants the ability to operate close to, or at, 100% fully staffed.

5th Street Group began in 2012 with the opening of Church and Union Charlotte in North Carolina. The group went on to open Church and Union Charleston in South Carolina in 2015 and Tempest in Charleston in 2020. La Belle Helene in Charlotte and Church and Union in Nashville both opened in 2021. In addition, 5th Street Group will open Ophelia’s Lounge in Nashville in 2022 and Church and Union in Denver in 2023.