The good, the bad and the ugly featured in new list


Wednesday, November 30 2011, 11:02 PM

Waiters prepare the dining area at Craft, an American restaurant located at 43 East 19th Street in New York, U.S., on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009. Manhattan's best French eateries -- Le Bernardin, Jean Georges, Daniel -- charge about $100 for dinner. But at Craft in the Flatiron District, it's possible to build a superb meal for $60 or so. Photographer: Tom Starkweather/Bloomberg NewsThere’s a new Zagat-style guide for restaurants — but the ratings have nothing to do with how their food tastes.

Instead, a labor group is ranking some 150 of the nation’s top-earning eateries on how well they pay and treat their workers.

“Many restaurants serve up poverty wages, lack of sick leave and discrimination,” said Saru Jayaraman, co-director of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United.

The guide, which is being released Thursday, gives points to restaurants that have paid sick days and promote from within.

It rewarded those that pay more than $5 an hour to workers who get tips and $9 to those who don’t. The federal minimum wage is $2.13 for tipped workers and $7.25 for nontipped workers.

Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio’s Flatiron hot spot Craft was among those that got a perfect score. Fast-food joints Five Guys and Chipotle got major points for offering sick days.

Capital Grille, Olive Garden and Red Lobster got zeros across the board and little frowny faces in their listings.

A spokesman from parent company Darden Restaurants Inc., which owns all three chains, insisted its workers are treated well. While the company does not give paid sick days, Darden does offer access to affordable health care and lets workers reschedule shifts if  they are sick, said spokesman Rich Jeffers.

He added that 49% of the company’s managers were promoted from within– just below the rate that would have gotten them at least one point in the guide.

Some diners at Olive Garden off the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn said the low rankings for the chain ruined their appetite.

“That’s not good. I just spent $40 on two lunches– so I know they have the money,” said Elmhurst, Queens artist Cole Hutchings.