Common Roots is a values-driven business. We believe you shouldn’t have to compromise your values when you go out to eat and drink. Serving good food and drink is what we do, but we also strive to serve our community. Our vision has always been to create a business that matched our values and served as a community resource, and we’ve accomplished much in the last 10 years. Here’s more about what we do.
Fair Wages, No tips
We have adjusted our prices to guarantee all staff a fair wage and benefits, without added tips. We believe it’s our job as employers to price fair wages in, even if that’s not the norm in our industry.
Now, the real cost of paying all our employees a fair and decent wage plus benefits is built into the price of the meal you eat. You don’t need to worry about how much to tip, and our staff doesn’t need to worry about fluctuations in their income based on the generosity of our customers.
We want Common Roots to be an exceptional place to work, with respect in the workplace, benefits, and other things that are taken for granted in most sectors of our economy. We believe consistent, fair wages are a basic standard we should guarantee to all employees.
We believe in equitable pay rates between our front of house and kitchen staff and are not comfortable with the norm in many restaurants — servers working hard, but at times making much more after tips than similarly hard-working kitchen staff.
All employees at Common Roots are paid at least $15 per hour with benefits including paid time off and a retirement contribution match. All employees averaging 30 hours or more per week are eligible for health insurance benefits.
Good Ingredients, No Compromises
Since first opening in 2007, we have made everything from scratch with as many local and organic ingredients as possible. For us it’s never been a fad or a marketing ploy — it’s always been an unwavering commitment. If we can buy it local or organic, we will. We update our menu seasonally and are always searching out the best ingredients available.
All of our meat purchases are local and grass-fed, free range, and/or organic. All our milk is local and organic, and the cheeses we use are almost all local and most are organic.
In season, we get most of our herbs and an array of other ingredients from our garden behind the cafe. Find out more about our garden.
To hold ourselves accountable and because we believe customers deserve to know the real story behind what they are eating, we track all sourcing numbers by dollars spent. Every month we provide customers updated sourcing numbers - check them out here!
Supporting Our Community
One of the most rewarding things to see at Common Roots is the diverse array of informal community meetings that happen every day.
Our private meeting room, the Common Room, is available for meetings and events of all kinds and seats approximately 25 people. Find out more and book the room here.
We support many different community causes. With a large volume of requests, we focus our donations on food, beverage, and gift card donations to organizations that are involved with our local community, work on farming and food access, and other related issues. If you would like to request a donation please fill out this form or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2009, we purchased two run-down rooming houses immediately behind the cafe. The houses were renovated into duplex apartments, while the back of the lot (formerly a paved-over parking lot) was transformed into our garden. Sincethen we’ve been growing more good food and helping people think more about where food comes from. We welcome school groups and others to tour the garden. Contact us to schedule a visit or to find out more!
We believe in supporting other local businesses. We make as many purchases as possible from other local businesses. We avoid national distributors whenever we can — you won’t see any US Foods or Sysco ever delivering to us. We are members of MetroIBA (Independent Business Alliance) and are actively involved in helping them build the Buy Local movement.
We also believe it’s important to stand up on public policy issues. Too often the “business perspective” on issues is dominated by voices that largely represent big business. We stand up for common sense policies that are good for our community and are also good for business. We played a lead role in support of Earned Sick and Safe Time in Minneapolis and support other policies that are good for business and good for our local economy including increasing the minimum wage and paid family leave. We are proud to be members of the Main Street Alliance of Minnesota, a group of progressive businesses leaders standing up on these and other issues.
Standing up for Immigrants and Refugees
As small business owners, we see our restaurant as a community gathering place. We felt that we could not remain silent while xenophobic, hate-filled rhetoric that has entered the mainstream. We put up a sign to make it clear to Muslims, immigrants and refugees in our community that they are welcome in our place of business and that we stand by their side and that hate has no business here.
We encourage customers who are interested in helping to support our local immigrant community to sign up to volunteer.
All our food waste is composted – since opening in 2007, we've diverted hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste from landfills. And all of our to-go serviceware is compostable. The interior of our restaurant was designed using as many sustainable materials as possible, from reclaimed barnwood flooring and table tops to our counter made of recycled cardboard to salvaged materials used throughout, including lighting, windows, patio planters and more.
We operate in an energy efficient way, with a high efficiency hood system, water heater, and more. Our lighting is almost entirely LED.