Saturday, March 28, 2015

Restaurateurs Weigh In on Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage

Ahead of what will undoubtedly be a shift for the local food scene, Eater asked Seattle-area restaurant owners to weigh in on the impending wage increase. Here's what Angela Stowell,Brendan McGill, and others have to say about how it might change the dining habits of residents and impact the future of restaurants.

Screen%20Shot%202014-06-09%20at%2010.36.22%20PM.pngManu Alfau
Chef/Owner, La Bodega
I wish they would've done a little more research on how it would affect small businesses. I am all for people making more money, but I think it's meant for larger corporations like McDonald's, Target, Walmart to have this wage hike.

I don't think it's a bad thing but for smaller businesses, only the super strong will survive. It will mean that only owners who are willing and able to work every day at their own businesses to reduce labor costs will survive. I also have a five year lease, so I'll be able to make a decision about whether to sign or and go forward or not, but other businesses might not have that.

Screen%20Shot%202014-06-09%20at%2010.32.24%20PM.pngJeremy Hardy
Owner, Coastal Kitchen and Mioposto
This is a game changer. The myriad of unintended consequences it too complex to really understand; even for restaurant veterans. There was incredible anger generated by a series of callous, recession causing, big-bonused bad actors on Wall Street while the rest of us were falling into the recession abyss. Those guys in Wall Street must be chuckling—like the invasion of Iraq the 15Now folks missed the target by about 3,000 miles. But we sit in the crossfire.
As a lifelong liberal I have always been angry when businesses and politicians decry the loss of jobs over a CPI $.40 minimum wage increase because that is ridiculous. This is different. We cannot survive if we continue doing business as usual. I hope the public will continue to support their favorite spots while everybody figures this thing out. We are going to adjust using all of the tools at our disposal; pricing, reducing menu offerings, look at operating hours, reducing labor where we can and certainly not opening another business in our beloved Seattle. Our business model will need to change. In a business whose goal is "to build community one relationship at a time" this reduction in labor is going to make that even more difficult.
We have raised 100's of thousands for schools, Lifelong AIDS Alliance, Mercy Corps, tsunami survivors, Darfur, the victims of Oso, and countless other non-profits over the years while providing health insurance, education reimbursements, and ongoing training for our employees. It falls somewhere between feeling sad and feeling betrayed that this grenade has been dropped on us.

Screen%20Shot%202014-06-09%20at%2010.35.55%20PM.pngBrendan McGill
Chef/Owner, Hitchcock, Hitchcock Deli
I think what people need to realize is that the money will have to come from somewhere. With a group like mine, where ethics in sourcing come before profits, we run a very slim margin. To pay my staff more, I need to either buy worse food or raise my prices, and I'm not willing to start buying commodity meats or fish from larger, questionably managed fisheries.

I'm supportive of livable wages and am honestly somewhat excited for this social experiment. If one hour of minimum wage can be used as a metric, things will go fine. If a roast beef sandwich made with high quality bread, hormone and antibiotic-free beef and aioli with organic and free range eggs now costs about one hour of minimum wage, my estimate is that after the wage hikes it will still cost about one hour of minimum wage. There seems to be a fallacy that instead of lining our richie-rich pockets, business owners will simply break off a little more for their employees. I barely get paid $15 an hour.

And the thing is, most of my employees already make $15 an hour, if not much more in the servers' case—it may be a base of $10-$14, plus tips from the pool, staff meals, or vacation pay. Without those factors being considered and fighting to stay in the black (as if every restaurant isn't perpetually fighting to stay in the black), we won't be able to show our staff the respect of allowing them an espresso drink whenever they're dragging, or to use the same high-quality foods for staff meals that we offer our guests. I've enjoyed not running a corporate ship the way the large hotels I've worked in operate: highly punitive where cost-control is concerned. For them it's about maximizing profits, but for me it's going to be about staying in business.

Screen%20Shot%202014-06-09%20at%2010.33.24%20PM.pngAngela Stowell
CFO/Owner, Ethan Stowell Restaurants
We fully support an increase of the minimum wage to $15, however, we feel that all W2 income should be considered when calculating that wage. Restaurants work on very small margins and Washington already has the highest minimum wage in the country at $9.32 an hour. Under this plan, servers and bartenders, who already make an average of $35-$40 and hour in W2 income, will see an immediate increase in their pay while the cooks, who make around $15 an hour, will have stagnant wages for upwards of seven years.

Seattle raises minimum wage, businesses close down – liberals COMPLETELY BAFFLED » The Right Scoop -

Seattle raises minimum wage, businesses close down – liberals COMPLETELY BAFFLED » The Right Scoop -: "Conservatives know from common sense and some of us from running businesses that it’s obvious if you raise wages artificially you’re gonna lose some businesses that have a very thin profit. But liberals are idiots. That’s why they’re shocked that raising Seattle’s minimum wage has caused many businesses to go under, even in anticipation of the law going into effect."

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Truth Needle: Is $15 wage dooming Seattle restaurants? Owners say no | The Seattle Times

Poncharee Kounpungchart and Wiley Frank closed Little Uncle in Pioneer Square, but say the decision was based on the space, not on Seattle’s upcoming $15 minimum wage. (Courtney Blethen Riffkin / The Seattle Times)

Truth Needle: Is $15 wage dooming Seattle restaurants? Owners say no | The Seattle Times: "As various outlets got on the bandwagon, headlines grew more strident. The American Enterprise Institute reported “Seattle’s new minimum wage law takes effect April 1 but is already leading to restaurant closings and job losses.” Then Rush Limbaugh chimed in. Meanwhile, The New York Post ran an editorial called “Jobless in Seattle” and Forbes claimed “We Are Seeing The Effects Of Seattle’s $15 An Hour Minimum Wage.”"

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The Rumpus Over Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage And Restaurant Closures

The Rumpus Over Seattle's $15 Minimum Wage And Restaurant Closures: "A couple of days back I gleefully leapt on the story about restaurant closures in Seattle and the effects of that city’s higher minimum wage. There has been a certain pushback from various people to that idea and we might now be able to raise this from a discussion to a rumpus. Who knows, we might get lucky, a few more people join in and we can upgrade it to a brouhaha."

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Conservatives Say $15 Minimum Wage Is Killing Seattle Restaurant Scene, Restaurateurs Disagree | ThinkProgress

Conservatives Say $15 Minimum Wage Is Killing Seattle Restaurant Scene, Restaurateurs Disagree | ThinkProgress: "“That’s weird,” Boat Street Cafe owner Renee Erickson told the Seattle Times when fact-checkers emailed to confirm the Seattle Magazine story. “No, that’s not why I’m closing Boat Street.” Erickson’s three other restaurants remain open, and two brand new ones are in the works in Seattle. “Opening more businesses would not be smart if I felt it was going to hinder my success,” said Erickson, who described herself as “totally on board with the $15 min.”"

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How Other Missouri Cities Are Like Ferguson - NYTimes.com

How Other Missouri Cities Are Like Ferguson - NYTimes.com: "A Justice Department investigation into the operations of the Ferguson Police Department found routine racial bias and a focus on generating revenue through municipal fines. But the patterns identified in the report are not limited to Ferguson; some other Missouri cities of 10,000 people or more look similar by several measures. MARCH 7"



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Charter School in Miami Fails, but Proves Useful on Jeb Bush’s Résumé - NYTimes.com

Jeb Bush in 1998, visiting the school that he co-founded. The school closed nearly a decade later after a rocky financial road. CreditJoe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel

Charter School in Miami Fails, but Proves Useful on Jeb Bush’s Résumé - NYTimes.com: "MIAMI — “That’s where the classrooms were,” said Katrina Wilson-Davis, pointing at the deserted building that housed the school where she was once principal. She climbed the chipped stairs that children used to race down at recess in their cherry-red school uniforms and walked past a street sign that still warns drivers of a 15-mile-an-hour speed limit on school days."

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Evangelicals & ISIS Feel Fine About the End of the World - The Daily Beast

Evangelicals & ISIS Feel Fine About the End of the World - The Daily Beast: "End Times prophecies for Evangelical and the Islamic State are eerily similar. God help us if they ever become self-fulfilling.
What if two mortal enemies both wanted a cataclysmic, world-ending battle, at roughly the same time, in roughly the same place?

Can you say “self-fulfilling prophecy”?"

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Jobless in Seattle | New York Post

Jobless in Seattle | New York Post: "Seattle magazine calls the minimum-wage hike a “major factor,” given that labor costs acccount for 36 percent of restaurant earnings.
Here’s how the center puts it: “The shut-downs have idled dozens of low-wage workers, the very people advocates say the wage law is supposed to help. Instead of delivering the promised ‘living wage’ of $15 an hour, economic realities created by the new law have dropped the hourly wage for these workers to zero.”"

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Census international migration county map - Business Insider

Census international migration county

map - Business Insider: "The US Census Bureau recently released its estimates of how the populations of America's counties and cities changed between July 1, 2013 and July 1, 2014."

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