Dining establishments are embracing the future of work, where power rests with the employees rather than the employer.

An Australian café located in New York City’s West Village and Greenwich Village is now owned by its employees. As of March, Banter’s employees were each given a 10% stake in the business this year, a percentage that will grow as the business expands. Under this new financial model, the restaurant plans to be 80% employee owned within the next 20 years. “We increase ownership and receive dividends, which is just extra money in [the employees'] pocket because of business profits,” Banter representative Jaimen Sfetko told Time Out.

Donna, a cocktail bar in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood that shut down during the pandemic, will reopen in the West Village this spring as a worker-owned restaurant. Owner Leif Huckman told Eater that the move allows “everyone [to] participate in the equity of the business.”

Astor Wines and Spirits, established in 1946 and located in Noho, Manhattan, transitioned to a worker-owned model at the end of last year. Operations manager Doug Yacka compared the financial plan to a “superior form of 401(k)” according to Curbed.

A new form of worker perks, folding employees into high-levels of the business gives everyday workers a chance to own and participate in the future of a company, no matter the size. In a volatile economy where stocks rise and dip, the restaurant industry is offering workers a way to invest in themselves and their local lives instead of larger, distant companies.

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