Well, well, well. In a case of “we told you so,” liberals who work in the restaurant industry are finding that 2019 has brought them fewer hours at work. Sure, they now get that beloved $15 an hour (why just $15 an hour? Why not $20 or $25 or even $100 an hour?), but that new minimum wage law they love so much is forcing restaurant owners in New York City to cut hours as well as cut staff and raise menu prices. If only someone had warned them this would happen.
My snark aside (and out of my system), I don’t wish for people to lose hours or their job. But this consequence of raising the minimum wage was foreseen. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry and I have friends who own restaurants. Profit margins are razor-thin, and restaurant owners are advised to be prepared to not pay themselves for at least the first two years. My friends who own restaurants spent the first few years working open to close every day because they couldn’t afford to adequately staff their restaurants. If they had been forced to pay a $15 minimum wage, I’m assuming that they would’ve been forced to close. I don’t know of any restaurants in NYC that have been forced to close because of the city’s new minimum wage law, and I hope none do, but not even a month into the law’s life and it’s already having an adverse effect on NYC restaurants.
Yesterday, CBS News published a report on those adverse effects. The article notes that the $15-an-hour minimum wage is part three of an incremental increase in the minimum wage that began on December 31, 2016. Speaking to a local restaurateur, CBS uncovers the harm the new law is causing:
Jon Bloostein operates six New York City restaurants that employ between 50 and 110 people each. The owner of Heartland Brewery and Houston Hall, Bloostein said the effect of the higher minimum wage on payroll across locations represents “an immense cost” to his business.
“We lost control of our largest controllable expense,” he told CBS MoneyWatch. “So in order to live with that and stay in business, we’re cutting hours.”
Bloostein said he has scaled back on employee hours and no longer uses hosts and hostesses during lunch on light traffic days. Customers instead are greeted with a sign that reads, “Kindly select a table.” He also staggers employees’ start times. “These fewer hours add up to a lot of money in restaurants,” he said.
Zito may not believe in “job replacement,” but the people who are endlessly fighting to jack up the minimum wage forget that the true minimum wage is always zero.