Minimum wage was how much when you started?
Before I joined the Navy, it was $2.65. Five days from now, it’ll be $13.50. I read that the buying power of those old dollars back then have shrunk to 22 cents. So today, it would take $10.45 to match the buying power of $2.65. Inflation? I took Econ 101 at SFCC, before I was kicked out for excessive absenteeism. I called the Navy – I wanted back in.
I’m Frank Schoonover, the owner of the Taco Del Mar located in Wandermere. Yes, it’s true, I got the boot from a community college. “Don’t be like me!” I tell young employees, at fitting times. Friends, minimum wage is taking a big leap upward this New Year. I’ve got no bias for, or against, especially after all my research into its history and meaning. But, I want us all to understand that businesses with thin profit margins, such as small restaurants will be in a state of shock. Not because of the minimum wage itself, but because of its sudden, dramatic rise. Smooth increases are much easier to digest. Same for you, subtle menu price increases are much easier to stomach over time.
Last month I took my daughter to lunch, she had the bread bowl soup, I bought the half turkey sandwich, which by the way, took me 7.5 bites to consume. That’s 79 cents per bite! It’s a habit of mine to analyze my restaurant’s pricing with others. Cost per bite is relative though; it depends on what you place value on. As a restaurant owner I stress over details to ensure value for our customers. My prices will increase sharply, but so will my stress. BTW, my burrito will jump from 46, to 57 cents per bite.
As I said through a previous post, we’ll continue to develop our young workers, but even more so, as their wages take them to a new tax bracket. Your money is earned. If you decide to spend it at our restaurant, then we must earn it. I employ six young adults at minimum wage, one above minimum, and two on salary. There has never been any owner compensation, only owner contribution. Karma from my college days? No. Instead, it’s a privilege to serve both employees and customers. Pay us a visit. Watch our minimum wage crew serve Spokane. Review our work. Reflect back on your starting wages. How far have you come since?