The number one argument GOP corporate parrots use against raising the minimum wage is that it will kill businesses. When Seattle put in place a plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, lawmakers, lobbyists and CEO’s focused on the business most likely impacted: Restaurants.
Restaurants have a long-standing tradition in this country of passing the burden of paying their servers on to their customers in the form of tips, and lawmakers have made it easier by allowing them to pay them a pittance in the amount of $2.13 an hour. On a slow night, servers sometimes walk away with next to nothing but a loss of eight hours of their lives.
Data out of Seattle, courtesy of The Big Picture, shows that the wage increases aren’t deterring people from opening restaurants, and contrary to popular pig-headed GOP belief, restaurants aren’t closing their doors.
Permits for new restaurants have remained consistent. The number of restaurants in Seattle isn’t decreasing due to fear of people earning the living they deserve. Since 2013, when the new minimum wage laws were first introduced and looked like an absolute certainty, the number of places to eat in Seattle has increased:
Papa John would probably disagree, but let’s face it; nobody cares what he thinks.
In the midst of the debate and fear-mongering by people who may be able to afford one less luxury vehicle a year due to the law, one Seattle restaurant has put all their eggs in the $15 an hour basket, choosing to enact the full wage increase years ahead of schedule.
Ivar’s, a popular seafood chain in the area, has given every employee a raise to the $15 an hour and enacted some clever policies to cover the cost.
They increased their menu prices by 21 percent and posted that they no longer encourage tipping. They don’t forbid tipping, and customers have made it clear that they will still tip for good service. Of the 21 percent increase, 17 percent will go to the servers for lost tip revenue and the other 4 percent will cover the wage increase.
Ultimately what Ivar’s is saying is that realistically it only takes 4 percent increases in food prices to cover a $15 minimum wage, and that applies to every employee in the restaurant, not just servers.
Outside of Seattle, Ivar’s is increasing their wages to $11 an hour with a 3 percent increase in costs to cover the cost.
Seattle will provide the country with the data it needs to determine if the wealth inequality we’ve experienced since giving more to “job creators” and less to those who make their businesses successful skyrocketed in the last three decades.
So far it’s not looking good for those who side with greed.