Seattle Restaraunts Warn Of Changes From $15 Minimum Wage

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by BethSucks, Mar 23, 2015.

  1. BethSucks

    BethSucks Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    I'd like automated ordering, works great on Virgin America airlines:

    Seattle restaurant industry warns of fallout as $15 minimum wage nears
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    FILE: June 2, 2014: Labor activists at minimum-wage rally at City Hall, Seattle, Washington.

    Seattle restaurants are warning that the looming hike in the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour could soon force them to cut back their staffs and raise prices.

    For an industry with a slim profit margin to start with, the wage hike could have a profound effect, even as supporters say it will benefit the economy in the long run.

    The increase, up from $9.32 an hour, is set to be phased in starting April 1. The initial minimum wage will be $11 an hour. Employers with 500 or fewer workers must increase their pay to $15 an hour by January 2019. Larger employers, having 501 or more workers, have just two years to raise their worker compensation to $15.

    Many owners are concerned over what the changes will mean for business.

    “It will be difficult to staff the front of the house as well as we have before,” Brendan McGill, the chef and owner of the Hitchcock Restaurant Group, told FoxNews.com.

    Although McGill supports the minimum wage increase, he noted that, “less people will be fighting over each other to fill up your water.”

    The Seattle Restaurant Alliance worked with a mayoral task force from the beginning in an attempt to find a compromise benefiting both restaurants and workers, Anthony Anton, CEO of the Washington Restaurant Association, told FoxNews.com. However, his association did not support the final outcome and is now warning about the impact.

    The looming wage hike ensures the model for how local restaurants operate is going to change. It used to be that 36 percent of profits go to labor, with 30 percent for food and 30 percent for any other expenses. This leaves about a 4 percent profit margin for most restaurants. With such a big wage hike, restaurant owners are looking for new ways to keep that profit. This means looking at raising prices, having fewer employees, using automated ordering systems, changing tipping models, and more, Anton said.

    “It won’t be one thing. This is too big a change to have a silver bullet,” Anton said.

    In a survey conducted in 2014 by the Washington Restaurant Association, the top four responses of what restaurants predict they would have to do were: raise prices, lay off employees, reduce employee hours or close their business entirely.

    Anton predicts the Seattle restaurant industry may experiment heavily with the newer automated ordering systems as well, but it is still too early to tell what will ultimately work.

    The 15Now movement, however, is in full support of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Ty Moore, the 15Now national organizer, told FoxNews.com that “15Now had a central role in initiating and organizing the grassroots pressure campaign in Seattle.”

    The movement really took off in Seattle after the 2013 campaign and election of Kshama Sawant to the Seattle City Council as a “socialist alternative” candidate. 15Now’s prediction, according to Moore, is that any job losses that do happen will be more than compensated for by job gains because they are putting more wages in workers’ pockets. These sorts of changes were seen in San Francisco where they led the way in city-wide wage increases, according to Moore.

    When asked if 15Now thinks the new increase could negatively affect small businesses, Moore pointed to the provision where smaller businesses have two extra years to increase their wage to $15 for each employee.

    In September, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray proposed a new division of the Seattle Office of Civil Rights -- called the Office of Labor Standards – to focus on educating the community about new requirements including the minimum wage rules, paid sick leave and other worker policies. A senior policy analyst told FoxNews.com that the Seattle Office for Civil Rights has been receiving hundreds of calls from employers in the Seattle area who are eager to comply and learn more about the wage increase ordinance.
     
  2. Bosch76

    Bosch76 2016 Politics POTY Gold

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    let them serve cake.
     
  3. goldtopper

    goldtopper Well Known Heterosexual Gold

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    Duh, because we didn't know this would happen.
    Fucked themselves right out of work. Just another reason they are too stupid to be paid $15 for unskilled work.
     
  4. JameGumb

    JameGumb We're all out of toner!

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    I already have a McDonald's here with a computer you can use to order your food if the cashiers are all busy. And every walmart has at least 4 self check out isles. It sucks but that's the wave of the future and these entitled low skilled workers demanding the world given to them is just pushing this shit faster.
     
  5. JameGumb

    JameGumb We're all out of toner!

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    Oh look its the white knight of the entitled Millenials.
     
  6. BethSucks

    BethSucks Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    If you're going to a nice dinner it's one thing but if you're going to Chili's who fucking needs the server other than to bring the order, it would be especially nice to pay automatically, no waiting for a check and then for the server to bring it back.
     
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  7. Ferris Bueller

    Ferris Bueller floating around

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  8. HigherPrimate

    HigherPrimate Well-Known Member

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    I don't do fast food often but when I do, I'd much rather use a machine to take my order than the ex con or special person behind the counter.

    We have Wawa here and they all have machines for the deli that work great. No reason Burger King, McDonalds, KFC all can't do that.
     
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  9. HS Cult Leader

    HS Cult Leader Elite Member Gold

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    I was just hearing the other day about all the people that are broken up over their favorite classic/landmark restaurants that have shut down in Seattle recently, and they just don't understand why? :facepalm:
     
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  10. HigherPrimate

    HigherPrimate Well-Known Member

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    Also if they can find a way to get robots to make the food, I'd be okay with that too.
     
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  11. Thikken Vaney

    Thikken Vaney What's everyone looking at?

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    And not a single job nor amount of business was affected...

    Seattleites support this anyway.
     
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  12. HS Cult Leader

    HS Cult Leader Elite Member Gold

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    Why Are So Many Seattle Restaurants Closing Lately?

    Reasons behind February’s rash of shutterings explored, and why more may come
    By: Sara Jones

    Posted March 04, 2015

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    Little Uncle is closed in Pioneer Square, but their takeout window on Madison has reopened

    Last month—and particularly last week— Seattle foodies were downcast as the blows kept coming: Queen Anne’s Grub closed February 15. Pioneer Square’s Little Uncle shut down February 25. Shanik’s Meeru Dhalwala announced that it will close March 21. Renée Erickson’s Boat Street Café will shutter May 30 after 17 years with her at the helm (though, praise be, original owner Susan Kaplan will expand her neighboring Boat Street Kitchen into the space and continue serving the Boat Street paté, the amaretto bread pudding with butter rum cream sauce and other favorites).

    Furthermore, less than a week after he was named a James Beard Semifinalist (Best Chef: Northwest) for his work at northern Italian restaurant Spinasse, Jason Stratton announced he would be stepping down from that restaurant and his others—Artusi and Vespolina—immediately to head to Spain.

    What the #*%&$* is going on? A variety of things, probably—and a good chance there is more change to come.

    First, some old-timers report they’re simply ready for a change. Both Erickson (also of The Whale Wins, The Walrus and the Carpenter, Barnacle and two new upcoming projects on Capitol Hill) and Stratton have had their hands in many pies for some time, and they say it’s time to narrow focus on their other restaurants (Erickson) or to take a break and regroup (Stratton, after seven years at Spinasse).

    “That’s a long time to put in anywhere,” Stratton told Eater.

    Next, even great-tasting restaurants battle tough odds—especially new ones (Shanik and Pioneer Square’s Little Uncle location both reached two years; Grub reached two and a half). The National Restaurant Association doesn’t have exact failure rates for restaurants in their first few years, but media relations and public affairs director Christin Fernandez reports that according to census data, about 60,000 restaurants open and about 50,000 restaurants close in an average year.

    Statewide, Anthony Anton, president and CEO of Washington Restaurant Association and anti-minimum wage lobbyist, says that each year in Washington, 17 percent of restaurants go out of business or change hands. In Seattle, with approximately 2,300 restaurants, that translates to approximately 400 closures or sells expected—“in a good year,” Anton says.

    Why do restaurants close? According to Fernandez, there are many reasons "from ownership changes and concept switches, to operational cost increases and failure to thrive.” Last July Komo’s Naomi Tomky named location as its first of six reasons why “awesome restaurants close”—which Shanik chef-owner Meeru Dhalwala and Little Uncle proprietors Wiley Frank and Poncharee Kounpungchart have both told devotees is their main reason for shutting.

    In Shanik’s case, South Lake Union requires a much more substantial bar presence and more casual overall atmosphere, Dhalwala (of Vij’s and Rangoli in Vancouver) has learned, than the Vij’s-inspired elegant Indian dining house she built.

    As for Little Uncle (which has reopened its Madison Avenue takeout window since the Pioneer Square restaurant closed), Frank and Kounpungchart originally expanded to their basement space on Yesler to extend their menu and host gatherings, but ultimately learned that “bigger is not better. We have come to the conclusion that the Pioneer Square location ultimately does not fit into the goals of our professional life and personal life. Passing the Pioneer Square location on will give us the opportunity to refocus and find a better way to build Little Uncle,” they told Eater.

    In addition to location, Tomky cites that good restaurants also close because of overly good (and thus pricey) ingredients (“Farm-to-table stuff doesn’t often pay off,” she writes); strange menu items (foie gras, pig ear, etc.) that alienate some; too much concept or too little; poor atmosphere (too loud or too quiet, uncomfortable high French bistro seats, no purse hooks, etc.) and poor management (ranging “from the chef/owner who tries to do it all himself, to the one who doesn’t do enough and loses employee confidence (and effort).”)

    And for Seattle restaurateurs recently, there is also another key consideration. Though none of our local departing/transitioning restaurateurs who announced their plans last month have mentioned this as an issue*, another major factor affecting restaurant futures in our city is the impending minimum wage hike to $15 per hour. Starting April 1, all businesses must begin to phase in the wage increase: Small employers have seven years to pay all employees at least $15 hourly; large employers (with 500 or more employees) have three.

    Since the legislation was announced last summer, The Seattle Times and Eater have reported extensively on restaurant owners’ many concerns about how to compensate for the extra funds that will now be required for labor: They may need to raise menu prices, source poorer ingredients, reduce operating hours, reduce their labor and/or more.

    Washington Restaurant Association's Anton puts it this way: “It’s not a political problem; it’s a math problem.”

    He estimates that a common budget breakdown among sustaining Seattle restaurants so far has been the following: 36 percent of funds are devoted to labor, 30 percent to food costs and 30 percent go to everything else (all other operational costs). The remaining 4 percent has been the profit margin, and as a result, in a $700,000 restaurant, he estimates that the average restauranteur in Seattle has been making $28,000 a year.

    With the minimum wage spike, however, he says that if restaurant owners made no changes, the labor cost in quick service restaurants would rise to 42 percent and in full service restaurants to 47 percent.

    “Everyone is looking at the model right now, asking how do we do math?” he says. “Every operator I’m talking to is in panic mode, trying to figure out what the new world will look like.” Regarding amount of labor, at 14 employees, a Washington restaurant already averages three fewer workers than the national restaurant average (17 employees). Anton anticipates customers will definitely be tested with new menu prices and more. “Seattle is the first city in this thing and everyone’s watching, asking how is this going to change?”

    Despite these serious challenges, however, brave restaurateurs continue to open eateries in Seattle, which, remembering basic supply and demand, also naturally accounts for closures we’ve already seen and more that will come. Capitol Hill alone is carrying on an unprecedented dining boom, and in mid January, Capitol Hill Seattle announced that Nue, Chris Cvetkovich’s modernist global street food joint, was the neighborhood’s 100th food and drink opening in three years.

    Other major Capitol Hill additions from the last few months include Stateside, (Eric Johnson’s long-awaited French-Vietnamese outpost), Tallulah’s (Linda Derschang’s [of Smith and Oddfellows] casual neighborhood café) and Serious Pie Pike (Tom Douglas’s third location of his pizza joint, now open in the new Starbucks Roastery). Moreover, just this week on the Hill, we’ve got news of Lisa Nakamura opening the Gnocchi Bar in the Packard Building on 12th Avenue (formerly the Capitol Hill D’Ambrosio Gelateria Artigianale) at the end of March.

    How to keep these and our other favorite culinary havens in business? With the wage hike around the corner, the imperative seems to have reached a new urgency: dine out.


    http://www.seattlemag.com/article/why-are-so-many-seattle-restaurants-closing-lately
     
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  13. Mr. Potato Head

    Mr. Potato Head ~Would Like to Play~ Gold

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    I'm really on the fence with this shit. There are difinitive pro's and c
    I thought there were some that did that for a while? We have a small local joint here that has the touch screen ordering and I love it.
     
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  14. Thikken Vaney

    Thikken Vaney What's everyone looking at?

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    No agenda there.

    :haha:
     
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  15. HigherPrimate

    HigherPrimate Well-Known Member

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    Every Wawa in my area has had the touchscreen for a good 7 - 8 years or so (maybe even longer...seems like they've had it forever now). It's fantastic. I love not having to talk to people to get my order.
     
  16. I invented that

    I invented that VIP Extreme Gold POTY Politics

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    see post #12.
     
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  17. JameGumb

    JameGumb We're all out of toner!

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    Nah I don't mind a human element at those places. The world needs Ditch diggers too. But the entitlement factor from them will be the death of those almost pointless, but to some important, jobs now. They're doing it to themselves.
     
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  18. Rocinante

    Rocinante Well-Endowed Member Gold

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    The larger restaurants can work around this by making their employees co-owners and giving them shares of the restaurant. The smaller restaurants will just fire everyone and hire family members.
     
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  19. Nemo

    Nemo Beer Can Thick Gold

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    [​IMG]
     
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  20. Bosch76

    Bosch76 2016 Politics POTY Gold

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    Probably cause it has nothing to do with this?