It pays to be an employee at Park Grocery Deli and Bar.

An event at the Guelph restaurant on Saturday was held to recognize the establishment as being the city’s first restaurant that’s a living wage employer.

A living wage is calculated based on the cost of a variety of living expenses including shelter, healthy food, finding savings, and getting education.

“It would be cool to see other restaurants take a page from this book,” said employee Gabbi Teri.

Teri has worked in the restaurant industry for years, but says the past five months at Park Grocery since it opened has been different.

“Living wage is a complex calculation to figure out,” said owner Court Desautels. “It takes two individuals to be able to live with two children, be able to pay basic living services for their child, and allow for a bit of savings as well.”

The calculation for Guelph comes out to $16.90 an hour.

The starting wage at Park Grocery Deli and Bar is $17 an hour.

Desautels says that out of the 250 living wage employers in Ontario, only six are restaurants.

“It sets a standard,” said Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie. “I’m glad we’re promoting it to send a signal out to other employers in town that this is what it takes.”

General minimum wage in the province is $14 an hour. For liquor severs it’s $12.20 to account for gratuities.

“Now that we have living wage its really nice because we can tell the guest hey you don’t need to tip,” said Teri. “With a lot of restaurants it feels like it’s the guest’s job [to tip].”

The living wage for Waterloo Region is $16 per hour according to The website says Perth and Huron Counties living wave is $17.44.