GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Tuesday was the day the employees of HopCat, McFadden's and Stella's in downtown Grand Rapids were going to receive every penny brought into these three bars.
Until the Michigan Liquor Control Commission heard about it.
The owners of the bars, Mark and Michelle Sellers, first heard of this idea from a small Chicago bar they used to frequent.
But the idea stayed with them, and after the huge crowds and huge sales during ArtPrize, they decided it was time to bring back the idea. So they told their "kids" -- the cooks, servers, bartenders, barbacks and bussers -- what they had in mind.
They "don't have any kids. But we feel like we have 150 kids here at the bar, so this is our family. This is a way to show our family how much we love them," Sellers said.
Every single penny made from food, beer and shirts was to go into the hands of the people who cooked it, served it, poured it and cleaned it up. And not just the profits from the day -- the entire sales. They were going to add it up and divide it.
But the MLCC said no.
The proceeds from alcohol sales can not go directly to the workers, the commission said. There is the potential for incentivizing over-service. That is, the employees may prod a patron to drink more than they normally would because they would be receiving the entire cost of that alcoholic drink.
The Sellers told 24 Hour News 8 they would comply with the MLCC directive.
But they didn't give up on their plan. Instead, the food proceeds from Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday will go to their staffs. They figure that will even out what they expected from the original plan.
Marie VanderWall is one of the cooks. For her, working one shift, it could mean $300 to $400.
"It's a really cool thing that they're doing," she told 24 Hour News 8 about the original plan. "I mean, they're not taking any money from it at all. So it's really nice for them to do this for us."
Though Mark Sellers is worried he might "lose my shirt," he's convinced it will pay off in the end.
And as VanderWall said, "It's just about the fact that they care and appreciate us. It makes us want to work harder."
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