Bumping wages up by $5 would cost $94,000 annually, on top of rent, food, and other overhead costs, not including her own salary.
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First of all, although the word "annual" is used, their not talking about a yearly raise. They are talking about the total health cost of just one wage increase added up over one year, that would remain a liability each year - people's wages aren't exponentially increasing (unfortunately).
Second, your assumption that everyone is working full time is almost certainly wrong - another reason why restaurant workers still don't make all that much even after an increase in wages.
Finally, if you read the article carefully, you'll see that the numbers come from the anecdotal report of the business owner. To change them would be misquoting, and frankly it's pretty rude to assume a business owner can't calculate their own payroll numbers better then you can.
On the bright side, though, at least your comment shows that a $5 minimum wage increase doesn't have as much effect on payroll as you might expect, which does a lot to support arguments for increasing wages.
Less sympathy for the W Hotel.
My reaction, "You cheap fucking bastards. Why didn't you just increase menu prices by 5% and pay a living wage before the law said you have to and stimulate the economy, increase employee retention, decrease retraining costs and generally have a happier labor force. It would have been simple. You cheap fucking bastards!"
When you realize the difference between $10/hr at McDonalds and $15 is a large soda costing $1.20 instead of $1.00...
This is the same hand waving we've always heard from business. If they don't open their books, how do we know what difference $94,000 makes? Out of what? What's your sales? Your margins? Costs? Profit?
Correlating this restaurant's downturn-- when the competition is doing well! -- only raises more questions. We're going to need to see your books for the last several years. Restaurants flourish and then fade all the time. It's hard to believe that this one is a victim of wages when most others are not; the real cause is elsewhere. We don't even know if this place normally is in the black this time of year.
But everybody loves a scapegoat. I'd expect every failing business in Seattle to pin the blame on $15/hr. Why wouldn't you? The alternative is to take the blame yourself and how is that a good business decision? Obviously the better PR move is to not admit fault.
I'm always going to assume any owner who doesn't open their books is playing the victim for PR purposes. They can say anything they want and get away with it, and if they can, they will.
And they represent what percentage - or rather fraction of a percentage - of an establishment's clientele?
This would make some sense if a business were doing this voluntarily, and needed to explain why their prices have gone higher than the competitor's. But they didn't care to do that. Now they're whining.
It's not as if these costs are in any way unpredictable, which could justify "things changed so fast, we have to balance the books until we can update prices."
Also, this is Orwellian: "A 2% surcharge is added to all purchases to [...] help keep our prices low."
A sign on the wall for a while explaining a price increase would have been better, if an owner just has to whine.
Ballard Annex Oyster House had something like this back in September and it pissed me off.
I will not dine where a surcharge for a small party is imposed. If I find a 5% add on, I will tip 5% rather than 15% and tell the server that since they have a 'living wage' mandated by their betters, that they don't really need any tip from me. I have had events at the Garage and if I saw a 5% plus a 20% tip surcharge on my bill, I would firmly but politely tell them to lose the 5%.
A few diners seeing any signage to the effect of this charge, would do well to calmly get up and depart, and tell the staff exactly why.
No mention here that it is much easier and cheaper for a business to add a surcharge vs. changing the prices of each meal. Think a little bit about it. Plus the wages are going up every year so most of the these restaurant owners are adjusting constantly. They also don't know how it will impact the costs of their supplies as their local suppliers also have increases in wages to handle.
Why so much hate? Everyone is calling business owners cheap, while complaining about their own pocketbooks. If you want employees to make more, you have to pay more. That is how it works, period. A 61% raise can not be absorbed from the profit.