More Seattle restaurants close doors as $15 minimum wage approaches

Something to note as I’m in SF and dealing with a high min wage already and will be increasing annually, however it always has in SF as it used to increase annually cased off CPI growth.

How Seattle has setup their min wage increases over the next few years is a joke and could crush small biz owners. When min wage goes up, just raise your prices a bit to offset it. In this case, Seattle has chosen to make large companies offer a higher min wage than small employers. Min wage on Jan 1, 2017 for large employers will be $15/hr but only $11/hr for small employers. If you get $15/hr at Domino’s or $11/hr at a local shop, which one are you picking? That’s an extra $320 bi-weekly or $640 monthly or $8,320 annually for full-time Domino’s employees. That’s a big difference for min wage workers. Small employers will be forced to offer similar wages as large employers in order to compete. Large companies can handle the min wage increases easier than small shops or what’s more troubling is how hard it will be to open a new business given the risk of high labor costs.

Living in Paris I’ve seen the impact of putting a high burden on the employer for the sake of protecting the employee.

At an insanely crowded restaurant you’ll see 1 MAYBE 2 waiters simply because it costs too much to hire more. Can you imagine having to pay for a month’s paid vacation for all of your employees?? It makes the service slow, the waiters crazy, and the customers frustrated. The benefit in Paris though is that people expect horrible service.

The other result is that the owner is forced to work him/herself to utter exhaustion because hiring is expensive AND it requires a bunch of regulations including that you must provide a break room. This is what’s happening at the bakery that I’m volunteering at. The husband and wife are the only people working and they are open 6 days a week from 7am-8pm, working before and after their opening hours and also on Wednesday, their day off, prepping.

One of the whole points, to me atleast, that gets forgotten about. Is Restraunt jobs, espicially for pizza are part time jobs that have histroically been filled by high school kids and college kids. Yes we all have a small percentage of Full Timers who are the backbone of our stores.

But like in my store, 70% of my workforce is part time. Half of those jobs are meant for high school/college kids who just need/want to work 15 to 25 hours a week. Requiring me to pay such a high min wage to someone just starting out will crush everyone’s bottom line.

I get that corporation have abused the min wage in a quest to increase there quarterly profifts (i worked for several multinationals who did this). But applying a blanket rule to everyone is not the way to fix the problem.

Here in CO, our min wage is tied to inflation. Not a perfect world, but i can make the necessary changes year over year to compensate. And the economy has time to balance out.

This means more work for me every year, as all my expenses increase and my profit margin shrinks. Even with raising prices every year, there will be a point were it will no longer be feasible to stay in business. The more business close, the less money will be available to be spent, and people will have less money to spend. It will start a negative cycle. With each turn, more people will lose there jobs and less money will be spent, etc … etc…

Hope for ??

In my somewhat myopic opinion there are 2 things that devalue currency, the government printing more money and the government increasing minimum wage. When I started working minimum wage jobs I earned 60 cents an hour. I could go to a movie for just over an hours wage. The kids today can still go to a movie for just over an hours pay.

Yeah, like we didn’t see this was going to happen.

I don’t think there is any question wages need to go up and with the changing economy I don’t believe restaurant work is for high school kids and drop outs anymore.

We pay 10/ hr plus equal tip share at our coffeehouse which has worked out well for us.

15 would be too high in our local economy however.

That right there is the problem, the min wage should be set regionaly not nationally. If they want to set it nationaly it has to be a percentage above cost of living for the area. There are plenty of area’s around the US were $10 is enough to live on, and others where $20 would barely be scrapping by.

My issue with it is that cost of living isn’t anywhere near the same from place to place, even within the same state. For New York City or San Francisco and the like, you would need a minimum of $15 an hour to live. But out here in BFE where we are, you can live on far less. And many people aren’t doing it to earn a living. Teenagers work for gas and spending money. Adults sometimes do it for extra cash.

Valid point. However, I don’t believe there is any place nationally where 7 or 8 dollars would be enough for someone paying bills. My dad worked at GE in the early 80s and started at 9 dollars an hour. I worked at a big company down the road in the early 2000s that started second shift at 8.20 an hour. They cleared 1/4 million dollars in profit weekly…

Out in California the minimum wage increases are all union sponsored. The unions have clauses in their contracts that will trigger an increase for their members if the minimum wage is increased. The unions “contribute” to a political campaign and then the politician will draft a bill to raise the minimum wage. They will market it as a living wage for the 35 year old single mother of 4 that is working at McDonalds to pull on the heart strings of the public. The bill will fly thru process and the union members get a raise.

I have earned and worked with people that make around minimum wage for 30 years now. I have never heard any one say they feel the government should pass a bill that will pay them more. They all know they are starting out in life and will earn more as they proceed thru their life’s journey. They all know minimum wage isn’t meant to be a living wage.

Don’t get me wrong, I am good with higher wages. Higher paid people are happier for the most part. Our average hourly wage is $13.46 as of the first of this year and I have a plan to get it $3 to $4 higher over the next few years. I’m just against fake government intervention. Let the free market take its course.

Here is a good article on the union thing.

Here’s a cute article. Its stating that Oregon small business are begging the government to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. If the businesses wanted that they would just do it themselves. Total fake article! Tomorrow the other side of the will release a fake article on how the higher wages are shutting down all the small businesses.

Kudos to you for doing the right thing for your business and your employees but do you feel all other businesses would do the same with no pressure?

Walmart, the U.S.'s largest employer, who has killed business after business finally raised their minimum to 10 an hour…do you think they would have done that if it wasn’t for all the public pressure? I give credit to them for getting ahead of the curve as there is no mandate in place.

Free markets will always need to be nudged from time to time in order to secure the interests of the majority.

Yes probably, I’m just against government at all levels. Democrats and Republicans alike. I always get a little giddy when we have those government shutdowns.

I our market, a minimum wage increase will probably help raise sales. Many of our customers are in that bracket. Its going to happen so we all might as well enjoy it.

It’s not a huge issue, if you’re an existing successful business. Where it will hurt is new or potential business growth and that’s a very big issue with local economic growth/sustainability and opening a new business (most notably restaurants) was already very risky in the eyes of investors/banks/entrepreneurs. Such an aggressive jump overall will hurt local economies and furthers the wide margins between large corporate businesses and small businesses. Future entrepreneurs just took a big hit.

Wages are just a part of the picture. Most businesses have other benefits of one kind or another for employees. In my business they include paid vacation for full timers, season ski passes, shift meals, bonuses for managers, fully free uniforms, employee raft trips etc etc. The value of those items each year is more than enough to raise wages for all cooks and managers to $15 who do not already make that much. If we were required to give raises those benefits would go away… there is no untapped well of funds available to just hand out money. My guess is that most other businesses would react similarly.