‘Minimum wage equals mediocre person’: A Florida deli was flooded with 1-star Google reviews after its viral hiring sign drew a huge backlash

A waitress is taking a customer’s order at a table. There are other customers and another server in the background.
A waitress takes an order from a customer at the reopening of Langer's Delicatessen-Restaurant in Los Angeles on June 15, 2021.
  • A deli has drawn swift backlash for its hiring notice, which calls minimum wage workers "mediocre."
  • The Florida Jason's Deli location was flooded with 1-star Google reviews after the sign went viral.
  • The sign said staff should work like two people for $12 an hour and outdo the owner for $15 an hour.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

A deli in Florida has drawn swift backlash after posting a hiring notice that called minimum wage workers "mediocre" people.

A hiring notice for the Jason's Deli location in Melbourne, Florida, went viral after a Twitter user posted a photo of it on Sunday, writing "Saw this at a deli in town, this realllllly doesn't sit right with me."

The sign notes that the deli is hiring for all positions and reads, "Minimum wage equals mediocre person."

The sign also details expectations for workers at various levels of its pay scale.

The deli says $9 an hour is for workers who are in their first job and "willing to learn." For workers who have "some experience," the deli would pay $10 an hour. Staff making $11 an hour should be "reliable" and "multi-taskers," according to the sign. For $12 an hour, the deli expects that an employee "works like 2 people." At that hourly wage, the deli also wants workers to be "better than most" and bring "zero drama" to the workplace.

The sign says workers making $13 an hour should be "supervisory material." At $14 an hour, the deli wants a worker who "cares like the owner does" and "brings positivity to the environment." For $15 an hour or more, the deli expects an employee who "outshines and outperforms the owner."

The location was bombarded with 1-star Google reviews after the tweet went viral.

"Stay away if you want a job that respects you," one reviewer wrote.

"They refer to minimum wage employees as 'mediocre people' and are wondering why nobody wants to work there. Screw the owners, do yourself a favor and don't support this terrible business," another 1-star review reads.

"Pay your workers," a third review put simply.

Read more: Employees are quitting their jobs in record numbers. Here's how to tell if you're losing people for the right reasons.

On Twitter, users also sounded off in the tweet's comments to express their disapproval of the deli's expectations.

"If I'm working like two people I should be getting two salaries," one user wrote.

"If you do more work than the boss, why would they pay you $15/hr instead of giving you the bosses [sic] salary?" another person commented.

The sign has since been taken down.

"The manager of our Melbourne, FL, location did post a sign with the intent of letting prospective applicants know that we encourage upward movement for all of our employees through our Career Path," Jason's Deli President and COO Ragan Edgerly told Insider. "While the pay scale does reflect the average starting pay rate in that market, the descriptions used do not accurately reflect Jason's Deli's hiring practices and the sign was immediately removed."

Many companies across the US are struggling to fill open positions at existing wages as workers leverage the tight labor market to demand better pay. In response, some companies are offering incentives like raises and education benefits to attract workers. Jobs site Indeed says the number of job listings that offer incentives on its platform has doubled in the past year.

Edgerly says Jason's Deli is feeling the effects of this labor crunch.

"Jason's Deli is facing the same hiring pressures that are common across the country right now and we are aggressively hiring highly motivated people," he said. "We are also extremely committed to offering a competitive and fair wage."

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