“You better pay attention,” teachers used to tell lazy students. “Or you’ll end up flipping burgers.”
However, if Democrats continue to wage their war against fast food workers, even burger-flipping jobs might even become unobtainable for the average New Yorker.
Things started going downhill for restaurant workers in July 2015 when the New York Fast Food Wage Board recommended the nice-sounding but completely ridiculous $15 per hour minimum wage for restaurants with at least 30 locations. This was supposed to take effect by December 2018, and what could go wrong? For those who don’t know anything about owning a restaurant (most politicians), it seems like a win-win scenario. Employees make more money and the fast food behemoths strike a blow for equality.
Not so fast.
When I got married, my wife and I opened a coffee house together, which grew into a small café. Though our California establishment definitely didn’t have 30 locations nationwide (and therefore wouldn’t have been forced to raise the minimum wage), it taught me about the difficulties of running a profitable restaurant.
If I had several workers and was forced to pay them a higher amount, I know what I would’ve done: I would’ve hired fewer workers, reduced the number of hours my servers worked, and might even let some go. This would not be reflective of my desire for economic equality, but just of basic math. It’s hard enough to make the numbers add up for profit in that industry without the government mandating salaries.
In fact, it was so challenging I ended up working as chef for an arduous time of life. Though I was proud of the chicken pesto sandwiches, soups, salads, baguettes and brie we served, we barely scraped by. We definitely couldn’t have made it if Big Brother mandated we pay the servers more.
Now that we’re three months past the Fast Food Wage Board’s implementation deadline, we know this is exactly how the restaurant owners in New York responded. According to the New York City Hospitality Alliance’s survey, “The Rising Labor Cost,” the city has experienced the biggest drop in restaurant jobs in almost two decades.
The study revealed “76.50 percent of full service restaurant respondents reduced employee hours, and 36.30 percent eliminated jobs in 2018.” And it’s not going to get any better: “75 percent of limited service restaurant respondents report that they will reduce employee hours, and 53.10 percent will eliminate jobs in 2019 as a result of mandated wage increases that took effect on December 31, 2018.” Also, annual employment growth dropped from 6.67 percent to less than 1 percent even since the “tip wage” (the minimum amount of salary for servers who receive tips) has doubled.
Economist Mark Perry described New York as experiencing a “restaurant recession” due to the politicians meddling into the minimum salary resulting in 3,000 fewer serving jobs.
As a former café owner, I know owners either had to increase their prices (which means they would’ve sold less food) or cut back on their staff. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that these entrepreneurs cut back on staff to stay competitive. This doesn’t take a genius to understand. Of course, not many of those go in politics, especially on the left. And clearly, not many folks who have ever run a small business go into politics either.
Interestingly, do you know who totally gets this principle? The organized labor and anti-poverty groups who push so hard for $15 an hour minimum wage frequently don’t even pay their own workers $15 per hour.
It’s not hard to understand why. Increase costs and you will decrease hiring and employment. Plus, if you raise the minimum wage, rent goes up in that community, which creates another set of problems entirely.
This, of course, doesn’t fit the Democrat narrative, so they ignore it.
However, there’s an old saying that applies in this situation: reality gets a vote. Regrettably, the hospitality workers in New York know this all too well.
Too bad their political leaders don’t.