Minimum Wage

Seattle's Looming $15 Minimum Wage Seems to Be Costing Restaurant Lives


Shift Washington has a decent roundup on some of the troubles in the Seattle restaurant industry likely influenced by its looming restaurant cost crisis: a raise in the city's minimum wage next month to $15.

Anupam_ts / Foter / CC BY-SA

The Washington Policy Center writes that [restaurant] "closings have occurred across the city, from Grub in the upscale Queen Anne Hill neighborhood, to Little Uncle in gritty Pioneer Square, to the Boat Street Cafe on Western Avenue near the waterfront."

Of course, restaurants close for a variety of reasons. But, according to Seattle Magazine, the "impending minimum wage hike to $15 per hour" is playing a "major factor." That's not surprising, considering "about 36% of restaurant earnings go to paying labor costs."….

"Washington Restaurant Association's Anthony Anton puts it this way: "It's not a political problem; it's a math problem."…..

Restaurant owners, expecting to operate on thinner margins, have tried to adapt in several ways including "higher menu prices, cheaper, lower-quality ingredients, reduced opening times, and cutting work hours and firing workers," according to The Seattle Times and Seattle Eater magazine. As the Washington Policy Center points out, when these strategies are not enough, businesses close, "workers lose their jobs and the neighborhood loses a prized amenity."

A spokesman for the Washington Restaurant Association told the Washington Policy Center, "Every [restaurant] operator I'm talking to is in panic mode, trying to figure out what the new world will look like… Seattle is the first city in this thing and everyone's watching, asking how is this going to change?" 

Scott Shackford saw trouble for Seattle ahead when they passed this minimum wage hike last year.

Previous blogging from me on the empirics of minimum wage laws and a beloved San Francisco science fiction book store that saw itself threatened by that city's minimum wage increase (but eventually saved itself via fan financial support above and beyond sales).

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  1. Wait, Episiarch suffers? That is a noble cause.

    1. Episiarch isn’t welcome in most places of public accommodation anyway, so this will have minimal effect on him. Washington’s constitution is one of the few ever to single out a person by name.

      1. He’s a foodie. He wears disguises and goes to local restaurants. His pseudonym is Hymie Wangdong.

        1. Well that’s still better than his given name of Pubert Balzac Fingerbottom III.

          1. We need to get his GPS coordinates so the people hunting the most dangerous game can find him again.

        2. No it’s not! It’s I.P. Knightley!

          Boat Street Cafe on Western Avenue near the waterfront

          Well at least nowhere I like has gone out of business…yet. Fuck Boat Street and their overpriced brunches.

          1. You should start a new trend of negative tipping–demanding refunds for bad service.

    2. +1 miracle.

      1. He is the Humperdinck of this blog.

    3. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I’ve been doing,

    4. I’ve made $64,000 so far this year working online and I’m a full time student. I’m using an online business opportunity I heard about and I’ve made such great money. It’s really user friendly and I’m just so happy that I found out about it. Heres what I’ve been doing,

  2. Can’t they just pass a new law that forbids restaurants from laying off workers or shutting down? What’s the problem?

    1. We all know that restaurant owners are the 0.00001%, so why can’t they pull a few gold coins out of their swimming pools? The answer, of course, is that they hate the working poor.

    2. Maybe they could tax restaurant closings.

      1. They should also tax layoffs to discourage them. Jesus, this is a whole new cottage industry of government consulting.

        1. I like how some restaurant owners are adding the minimum wage hike directly on the customer’s check. Maybe the leftist hipsters won’t be so quick to demand future increases if they see how it’s directly affecting them (something they don’t normally consider).

          1. Good for them. It’s time the sane start revolting against the fucking insane in this country.

    3. Wedge? Is that you?

      1. ‘Antilles’ can also refer to a bunch of islands in the Caribbean. But yeah, I lifted my handle from Star Wars.

        1. You did not want to be known as “Lesser”?

          1. There’s both a ‘Lesser’ and ‘Greater’ Antilles. Btw, did you know the actor who played Wedge Antilles in Star Wars is also Ewan McGregor uncle?

            1. I did not know that

  3. Foreseeable consequences are not unintended.

    1. I’m pretty sure Kshama “Idiot” Sawant is actually dense enough to have not foreseen this.

      1. That’s not her problem, her problem is she doesn’t fucking care.

        1. No, our problem is that the mongoloids who vote for her don’t care.

      2. Doesn’t matter. The consequences were not just foreseeable, but actually predicted. She owns them, as does every other supporter of this idiotic law.

    2. To the employed: Voting anything but Democratic will result in minimum wage cuts which will mean your wages will go down and you will starve in the street.

      To the unemployed: Voting anything but Democratic will result in cuts to unemployment and welfare and you will starve in the street.

  4. I wonder how much property prices went up just outside of the Seattle border? I mean if I had a brand that’s something I would try before just throwing up my hands and shutting down.

    1. No one is going to go outside the city limits to go to a restaurant. Unless they already live there.

      1. Have you never been to the Maltby Cafe, Epi?

        That’s the best breakfast in the state (according to this rando’s opinion).

        1. No, going to Snohomish from Belltown for breakfast is way too much for me. Though it would be on the way to and from Stevens Pass.

  5. That can never happen except in the loonytarian fantasy universe. Here’s something else in a restaurant that can never happen except in the loonytarian fantasy universe: I was in a Panera recently, and the ordering was entirely automated via a bank of tablets in the lobby.

    1. I prefer to order through a kiosk or tablet. No inane chit-chat and they never get my order wrong.

      1. Yes, but who will spit on your food then? We NEED people for that!

        1. I made up to $64,000 last month spitting in people’s food!

    2. Here in LA, some of the chains have begun to reduce demand for wait staff by installing kiosks.

      I’d like to see the mom and pop’s do that.

  6. It’s not a political problem; it’s a math problem.

    “The mathematical is political.”

    1. Math is terribly sexist, or didn’t you know? But not nearly as sexist as physics, which “privileges the speed of light over other speeds that are vitally necessary to us.”

      1. It’s the fucking photonriarchy at work.

      2. Math is just very specialized mansplaining.

  7. If your business plan only works when your full time workers are kept in poverty, you have a flawed or possibly evil business plan.

    1. Or your workers are highschool/college students or housewives looking for spending cash, or any of a dozen other options. Not all jobs are for all people.

    2. Well done! I can’t tell if this is serious or not. Winner of the Poe’s Prize for Ambiguous Sarcasm

    3. Full-time restaurant employees don’t live in poverty. And for those with ambition it’s just a short stop on the path to a real career.

    4. If your political plan is to raise prices and keep poor folks from having an occasional night out, and railroading meagerly compensated, unskilled workers out of a job, you have a flawed and possibly evil political view.

    5. If your economic theories only work on a computer model or white board, you have a flawed or possibly evil economic theory.

    6. Bullshit. Not every job is worth a living wage. Washing dishes or cutting up onions, for example. You can’t just make people pay more than what the labor is worth without fucking someone over. And no job keeps someone in poverty. If the job doesn’t pay what you need, you need to get a different job. It isn’t the employers fault that you don’t make what you think you require.

      Not every job has to feed a family. And very few people work in minimum wage jobs for very long. Increasing minimum wage really screws over young people looking for a first job. Someone who you might take a chance on for $7/hour is going to be a much bigger risk at $15. So the young and inexperienced will be priced out of the market and we end up like Europe with 50% youth unemployment because no on in their right mind would hire someone without experience and references.

      1. Monster!

      2. That depends to the extent that employers pay their employees the exact value of their work. In computer models and on whiteboards, that’s true (according to mainstream economics); in reality, where most labor markets can be characterized as oligopsonies, it isn’t unusual for workers to be paid low wages.
        In addition, your suggestion of “get a different job” only works if there are more jobs than workers. Given that unemployment is still relatively high, that particular worker may have to wait weeks for a chance at a job, which is a risk that many people cannot afford. Especially if this is a single-parent household.
        Europe as a whole does not have a 50% youth unemployment rate. Greece and Spain do, but that has more to do with their embrace of austerity policies (higher taxes and spending cuts) than any particular labor market policy. And given that the Europeans tend to do better on certain social indexes and work less, I would guess that the European model (while heavily imperfect) is still more-or-less favorable than our own model. Both are dictated by state/corporate planners, so we’re basically looking at a difference of a few degrees.

        1. Greece and Spain have embraced austerity policies?
          How about the UK, which if magically became our 51st state, would rank 51st in income?
          The so-called European model is fucking awful and heading towards collapse. Good luck with that.

        2. That depends to the extent that employers pay their employees the exact value of their work.

          The exact value of the work is whatever someone has to pay to get it done. Do the words “price discovery” ring any bells?


        3. “In addition, your suggestion of “get a different job” only works if there are more jobs than workers. ”

          well then by all means let us import a few more million low skilled workers so that all of them can live well and grow the economy due to government spending multiplier effects

      3. This^^^, a buddy of mine lives in Seattle and has an 18 yo and a 20 yo looking at college and looking for work while attending school.

        His daughter has a decent gig as a hostess and server at some seafood joint (can’t recall the name, they have one in Bellingham as well on a bluff above Chuckanut Drive.

        The socialist bitch should be known as the author of the Lets drive the teen unemployment rate to 90 fucking per cent. His daughter has made decent money babysitting (as I did 45 years ago when the going rate was 50 cents an hour. It gave me some spending money, watched old movies on late night TV and went home with a couple bucks in my pocket, win/win.

        Progs have zero perception when it comes to unintended consequences. The stupid, it burns. Another unintended consequence is that competition on the babysitting front will likely take money out of responsible teens pockets. K whatever her name is should have a statue built for her. The bitch that screwed teh kids. How many won’t be able to use work to get an education because of her idiocy. It’s sad that the SJW mindset has trumped common sense.

    7. If Social Security only works* by having people contribute for years and die before they can start collecting, you have a flawed and possibly evil retirement plan.

      (by ‘works’ I of course mean ‘limps slowly into insolvency anyway’)

      1. Social Security is even worse than that. Just consider what segment of society has the shortest lifespan (poor black men) and who has the longest (wealthy white women). So, Social Security is a program where black men in poverty toil their whole lives so affluent white women can have some extra spending cash. Like most government programs, Social Security has achieve the polar opposite of its purported goals.

        1. Fewer than 1% of Americans have ever even heard this argument, but it’s so brilliant. Where’s my infographic for this, Reason?!?!

          1. D minus on the trolling, Dr, try giving Tony an ass fucking and report back….ten hut.

            1. F+ for reading comprehension.

    8. Holy crap! He’s onto us!

    9. Ooo, delicious. Another ignoramus.

    10. Two thoughts:

      1. So it’s better for those employees to not have jobs?

      2. Please send me a link to your business’s website, as you surely have a business plan that supports the “living wages” you wish to force on others, right?

    11. While I realize this is snark I have actually seen progtards make this exact argument. If you can’t afford to pay your employees an arbitrarily defined “living wage” you don’t deserve to run a business.

      1. I was told that at Huffington after my first and last innocuous comment there.

        The people in the threads were just plain too stupid to even bother with.

        1. So either young and inexperienced, old and ineducable, or so committed to progressive shibboleths like the minimum wage that no amount of immiseration will dissuade them of their pet project. The first two are merely naive, but the third is evil incarnate.

          I don’t think most people subscribe to these notions. Most people, even if they can’t articulate the reasoning behind it, understand market pricing. They realize that upping minimum wage hurts them as consumers and employers.

      2. You guys are giving yourselves away. It’s not “employees”, it’s always “workers” with these Marxist types. When I started to notice the pattern, with Obama for example, the use of “workers” language always rings a bell for me.
        The next logical step is to gradually substitute “wage slaves” for “workers”.

    12. Actually, my favorite is:

      Listen, we clearly know that what’s happening in Seattle, isn’t happening. And we know this because we’ve done meta-studies of minimum wage studies which clearly show that minuscule changes to the minimum wage have no measurable effect on unemployment. Therefore, we know that prices have no effect on employment whatsoever.

      So, I’m not sure what’s happening in Seattle, but it’s definitely not due to the minimum wage. Studies confirm this.

      But, whatever is happening in Seattle, it’s all the proof you need to know that the free market doesn’t work for everyone. Thank God we have safety nets, to protect people from the evil free market. And from being exploited by wages below $15/hour, regardless of what the job is, or any other details.

    13. You’re right. Once they’re unemployed and thus in even deeper poverty, either because they’ve been laid off or because your restaurant went out of business, they’re not your employees any more, so it’s not a problem.

  8. I moved here a year ago, right before the law passed – I’m more than willing to go back to Virginia, if it’ll reverse things. Even if it doesn’t, honestly, Seattle is a horrible place to live.

    1. Seattle is a horrible place to live.

      This is the absolute truth.

      1. It didn’t used to be that way. I’ve spent a lot of time in western Washington, they have a great mix of sea and mountains. It was great 35 years ago. Seattle was fun, Isaac Scott playing blues in Pioneer Square, Bellingham is and was fun.

        Sadly over time it has gone weapons grade retard.

        Boeing will be gone once the crony tax breaks end and it wouldn’t surprise me if Amazon follows when their deal is over. Even those receiving the cronyism will get fed up with the dolts that run Seattle…it won’t end well.

        1. Oh my God, I would larf so hard to see all of the many buildings Amazon has been putting up here three last few years go vacant because the idiots that run this state chased them to Austin…

    2. Is it? I spent six weeks there in the summer of 2001 and rather enjoyed it. Then again, the workload was light (special assignment), and I drove all over the place–Northern Cascades, Mt. Rainier, Vancouver–so maybe my experience was more vacation than “living” there. Not to mention that it was sunny during that time, which, of course, it isn’t the rest of the time.

      1. Not to mention that it was sunny during that time, which, of course, it isn’t the rest of the time.

        I always caution people that if they’re considering moving to Seattle, visit in the winter. If you visit in the summer, there’s no better place on earth. But the other nine months a year are, let’s just say, bad Viking weather.

        1. I was only there in the summer that one time. The other times I went–I think maybe five separate visits–were all during the endless fog/mist. And I was on conference calls with people in Seattle a couple of times where they actually cut the call short for sun breaks. Honestly, I pitied the poor people.

            1. Is that from some documentary? It’s chillingly accurate.

              1. If it weren’t true, it wouldn’t have been funny.

                It’s incredibly accurate. And as someone who’s lived here now for well over 20 years, I can tell you that behavior just sort of becomes normalized.

                You’d be amazed at the number of ‘sick calls’ that come in during spring/early summer when the sun finally comes out after nine months.

                1. I’m surprised the city doesn’t require businesses to give employees time off when the sun comes out.

                  1. I’m surprised the city doesn’t require businesses to give employees time off when the sun comes out.

                    They do… informally. No one is ever sanctioned or questioned for being curiously absent only when the weather is bad.

                    1. *weather is good.

              2. It’s from Almost Live!, a Seattle-based comedy show from the late 80s/early 90s. Bill Nye got his start on it.

                1. Thought I recognized him.

                  1. Also Joel McHale.

        2. Is there lots of lightening?

          1. None whatsoever. I came from the southwest (which apparently comes with an innate ability to make an unprotected left at a light) where lightning streaking across the sky and the smell of ozone is called Wednesday.

            Lightning is so rare here, the first time I experienced it, the entire office staff ran to the windows, ooh-ing and ah-ing the phenomenon.

            1. Born, raised, and currently residing in Albuquerque, here. Is the unprotected left not a basic human right? It should be.

              1. Born, raised but not residing in Las Cruces.

                Knowing HOW to make an unprotected left should be something taught in the first grade. Surprising in a city like Seattle, where the unprotected left is an urban reality– the knowledge of how to perform this simple maneuver which can save countless hours of idling at lights over one’s lifetime, is sorely lacking.

            2. One of the most active bands of lightning in the world is right here in Central Florida, from Tampa to the Cape. Death from the skies.

              If it weren’t for Australia, I’d swear that Florida was an intentional breeding ground for military troops.

              1. Tampa is #2 in the world.

                #1 is somewhere in Central Africa.

                1. Right, it’s like the worst in the Western Hemisphere or something. Growing up here is like a lottery.

                  1. Right, it’s like the worst in the Western Hemisphere or something. Growing up here is like a lottery

                    Have you won life’s lottery yet?

                    1. No, but I’ve had a couple of close calls. I got trapped in my car in my driveway while lightning blasted all around just a few years ago.

                  2. Tampa:
                    “At least we’re not Central Africa”.

                    1. There are times in the summer when that’s about how I feel. Even though I grew up here, my tolerance for heat seems to decline each year as I age. And it’s even worse south of here.

            3. We have lightning here maybe every other year. My kid was 5 before he knew what it was. And he saw it in Indian Wells, not here.

              1. We have lightning here maybe every other year. My kid was 5 before he knew what it was. And he saw it in Indian Wells, not here.

                Really? I though SoCal would get its fair sharez. Huh.

                1. We have either warm, dry air, or cool moist air.

                  It’s very rare that we get warm, moist air.

                  The last time that we did, I think it was 8 or 9 years ago. There were fires everywhere.

                2. It’s rare, but just last week in Huntington Beach we had some really impressive lightening and actual hail (it never snows here). But now it’s March, winter’s over and it’s 92 today…sigh.

                  1. That picture went viral.

                    1. Here it is.

                      Beautiful, sunny, SoCal.

                    2. I was in LA the week before last. Cold and rainy. I have a real knack for generating unusual weather in the places I visit.

                    3. 2 weeks ago was unofficial “ski week”.

                      The snow level got down to under 5000 feet. It was beautiful. And then it all melted 2 days later.

                    4. Come back! We need the rain and I enjoy the occasional change of pace.

                    5. I may start charging for my services. To date, I’ve been to desert regions something like ten times, and it has always rained on me while I was there. Without fail.

                  2. You can look forward to June Gloom.

            4. I really, really miss thunderstorms. The last time we had one here I was grinning ear to ear and the Seattle natives asked me what I was smiling about, and I just pointed to the flashing sky.

              1. Tennessee Valley…lots of stormy weather here.

            5. Awww. I like rain, provided it’s really rain and not just drizzle. And I like winter, provided it’s cold and snowy.

              1. I love rain. Monsoon season, when it rains for a bit every couple days for a few weeks, is a treasure.

        3. I was under the impression that Seattle stays temperate year-round.

 LIED to me!

          1. The very first time I went there, it was cold, and there was snow on the ground. WTF, Seattle?

          2. It is temperate. It has an incredibly mild climate.

            Snow is actually quite rare– cyclical, but rare. Temperatures never get really really cold, and they never get really really hot.

            Most winters hover around 35-40 degrees. Most summers hover around 69-75 degrees.

            Both will have a couple of weeks in the extreme. You might get a couple of weeks in deep winter of real freezing temperatures (cyclical) and the summer you might see a rare high in the low 90s.

            Fun fact: people in the southwest make fun of Seattlites because we all pass out when the temperature climbs into the low 100s. People in the southwest have this thing called Air Conditioning. In Seattle, when it’s 97 degrees outside… it’s 97 degrees inside, too.

            When my family came to visit from Tucson, they almost died. Guess who got called ‘sissy’ then?

            1. The summer I spent there, there was a heat wave. No A/C in my corporate apartment.

              1. Fun fact, I just dumped a good chunk of my life savings into new siding and windows.


            2. Remember the “Seattle Heat Apocalypse” in the summer of 2009? Where it was about 95 degrees for a whole week, and didn’t cool down much even at night?

              Man I wanted AC then. I ended up sleeping on the couch because the living room had a better cross breeze than the bedroom.

              1. Man I wanted AC then. I ended up sleeping on the couch because the living room had a better cross breeze than the bedroom.

                Buy one of these. I have one for my daughter’s upstairs bedroom, which will get to 97 degrees when it’s 80 degrees outside (greenhouse effect).

                Seriously worth it.

                1. At the time I didn’t have openable windows at any of the spots where I would have put one of those, because I considered it. And besides that one week, my big intermittent fan has been sufficient. Remember, I come from New England where it gets to 95 in summer no problem but with extreme humidity that Seattle just doesn’t have. Without the humidity, I’m pretty fine. For me, AC is much more about humidity than temp.

            3. Also a thing called humidity, I imagine, which isn’t something I have to deal with. I’ll take a dry 90 over a humid 80.

            4. Correction – when it is 97 degrees outside it gets to about 100 degrees inside in a south facing house.

              80+ is when we sleep in a tent in the backyard.

              1. Correction – when it is 97 degrees outside it gets to about 100 degrees inside in a south facing house.

                80+ is when we sleep in a tent in the backyard.

                +1 porch camping!

                1. Racist! Somehow…

    3. I only visited Seattle for a week. And other than the crisp weather and scenic coastline, I saw nothing that made me want to live there. Granted, my home state of California sucks just as badly. But you can’t beat the weather down here (92 degrees today).

      1. 92? That’s way too hot. I bet Hawaii is better.

        1. Hell, I don’t even switch from heat to A/C until it gets to be 90.

        2. Just for a couple of hours. It’ll be in the 60s tonight.

    4. Even if it doesn’t, honestly, Seattle is a horrible place to live.

      Seattle is a lovely place to live made horrible by idiots who believe that moving people from one place to another is a political issue.

      That’s why we have empty streetcars moving people along flat-avenues from one end of the block to another to the tune of billions of dollars.

      1. Yes, yes, Hell is other… Seattleites.

        The actual location is quite lovely, and the weather isn’t that bad.

        If only I could swap out the natives.

        1. Seattle (like San Francisco, Santa Fe, and Paris) are perfect candidates for a neutron bomb.

            1. There’s always the volcano, Paul. Don;t despair.

          1. I spent a Saturday morning in Santa Fe last week demolishing a downtown storefront. After getting lunch in the plaza, I crossed the street against traffic and had some asshole in A BMW lay on his horn, then lean out the window to shout about it. On a two-lane road. For the three seconds of inconvenience I caused him. And this isn’t unusual in Santa Fe.

            Fuck Santa Fe.

            1. Bunch of rich-assed crystal wavers.

              1. That’s more of a Sedona thing. But lots of assholes there too…

            2. Demolishing? Are we talking about the toilet or something?

              1. Luckily, no. Broke college students gots to get paid.

            3. My ex’s parents lived there, so I’ve visited many times. It’s a beautiful place with amazing food, but the people who live there are the worst. Most of the individuals I met were wealthy leftists from other states who have vacation homes there. The town’s original inhabitants have essentially been forced out, and only return to clean the homes and maintain the yards of their enlightened benefactors. Since I was totally outnumbered I kept my mouth shut whenever the topic of politics came up (which was often).

              1. It became a mecca for Robert Redford types back in the 70s/80s. Fuck that place.

    5. It’s actually a great place to live, if you can manage to avoid talking about politics with anyone under all circumstances.

      1. Yeah, I’m surprised by people who don’t like it here. If you just make sure you avoid the kind of bullshit that annoys you (like political shitheads, politicians, cops, etc), there’s great food, great summers, mild winters (this winter has been so mild it’s not even winter), and lots to do. Plus legal weed and great gun laws (except FUCKING INITIATIVE 594).

        The drivers are some of the worst I’ve ever encountered, though. And I’m 100% serious about that.

        1. I thought Seattle was pretty nice, absurd politics aside, and there’s plenty to do around there. It did have a weirdly isolated feel to it, being so far from everywhere else, but that’s an East Coast prejudice at work, I suppose. And, of course, I can’t abide the sun’s absence, which is likely attributable to some atavistic view as the sun as a protective god.

          1. Oh it’s definitely got a weirdly isolated feel if you’re used to being able to go to several major cities within a few hours like in the Northeast, which is of course what I’m used to. The fact that you have to drive three hours to get to Portland or Vancouver (and those are not, uh, “major” cities) is kind of telling. And if you go east or west you get into empty desert or empty rainforest.

            I also love the sun but I don’t get any kind of season depressive thing so I just wait it out. And also go to Hawaii too.

            1. I still want to go see the Olympics. I don’t know what I was thinking not going over there when I had the chance.

              1. I see the Olympics every day from my deck overlooking Elliott Bay. I have to get on the highway to see Mt Rainier though.

                The desert is actually pretty cool too. The Grand Coulee Dam is pretty neat as well.

                1. Yeah, I could see them from my apartment.

        2. I’m going to dispute the food being great, it’s meh, still haven’t found even semi-decent barbecue.

          Even locals seem to agree that the drivers are insane here, but they just say they are all California transplants.

          1. DWA

          2. still haven’t found even semi-decent barbecue.

            This. Fortunately, Dickey’s bbq pit just started moving into the area, and they’re tolerable for a chain, but all of non-chain places I’ve tried suck. I remember I went to this one place in Central City that my co-workers highly recommended once, and they freaking PULLED AND SAUCED my brisket, which to a native Texan such as myself is blasphemy punishable by death. And the sauce wasn’t even that good, it was just like tomato paste and vinegar with no flavor.

    6. I’ve only been once, for a week. It seemed like a nice enough city and the homeless problem wasn’t as bad as say, San Francisco, so there is that.

      That said, I’m going to stay in Virginia…

      1. “That said, I’m going to stay in Virginia…”

        Smart choice.

    7. But it looks so pretty on TV.

  9. Corporations, like restaurants, are giant, unending fonts of money. They could easily pay $1500 an hour, but they don’t because they’re greedy, probably white and libertarian, and therefore evil.

    1. The Koch brothers pay the restaurant owners to keep wages low!

  10. They’re better off not employed at all if they can’t get a living wage. Don’t bother asking them; we know it as fact.

  11. Wow. These restaurants owners are greedy. Don’t they know they should stay open to satisfy my need to eat Vietnamese food?


    1. If they can’t stay open, then the market has failed as a result of insufficient regulation.

  12. It’s apparent that people writing this legislation don’t take into account that it’s not just servers and bus boys that are non-exempt employees. Vast swaths of management in sectors like retail and food service are all hourly employees. So for instance, if I had a manager of a retail store who was already making $16 per hour and this comes along, think of the ramifications of proportionally increasing the wages of all of that business’ employees. It’s obvious why Seattle restaurant owners are panicking.

    1. Plus a lot of union contracts are tied to the minimum wage. When the minimum wage goes up, some union people also get raises. It works out for everyone…except the consumer and business owners.

      1. … and then, by extension, the workers.

  13. “about 36% of restaurant earnings go to paying labor costs.”….

    Not anymore, bitches.

    1. I pay 46% and I’m in services.

      Apparently to the idiot above, I have an evil business plan.

      1. The rest goes to motel rooms, lube, and condoms?

        1. Part of that is paying someone to refresh h&r to post his salutary post-Fist reply every morning.

          1. My best employee!

            Worth the $15!

      2. progs, rufus, “you didn’t build that”. TM

  14. Jesus, even the Communist NYC council is exempting restaurant workers from their grandiose plans.

    1. I suspect that’s because the NYC council isn’t actually communist, you’re just using that as tongue-in-cheek. the Seattle City council actually is communist.< /a

      1. isn’t actually communist

        Much of it certainly is, they’re just afraid of openly admitting it.

        1. Fair enough. In Seattle, they’re not.

  15. Oh, by the way, data and evidence don’t matter. The city of Seatac also raised their minimum wage, and minimum wage workers suffered and businesses left the district. Was that used as a cautionary tale for Seattle? No, it actually fueled the change.

    1. Oh, by the way, data and evidence don’t matter.

      So what else is new?

    2. Yeah, but this time it will work!

      1. Yeah, but this time it will work!

        That reminds me of the ending to Pet Semitary for some reason.

    3. Haven’t been thru SeaTac since the change. Can anybody provide some before and after pricing there?

      1. According to most reports, the impact was somewhat negligible. Unfortunately the reporting seems light and based on the City Manager saying “I ain’t heard o nothin’ closing ’cause o’ no minimum wage”.

        I have read reports that a lot of hotel workers lost some benefits like free meals, and had hours cut.

        Here’s a slightly better article which goes a little bit further to indicate that while there haven’t been many dire negative consequences, there haven’t been any positive impacts either:

        In some SeaTac schools, 95 percent of students still receive free-and-reduced-cost lunches. “So over nine out of 10 of [SeaTac] children are starving,” said Gregerson, who backed Prop. 1.
        SeaTac has not seen a measurable jump in sales tax revenue due to people out spending more money, added Cutts, the city manager.


        right. I guess we finally beat the obesity crisis which dogs the poor.…..l?page=all

        1. I get so tired of seeing the claims that even with free school lunches (and often breakfast too) all of these morbidly obese children go to bed hungry every night. And if you would ever question it, of course you are the asshole

  16. I need to start keeping a mental list of cities that do this.

    Tip? You make a living wage. You don’ need no stinkin’ tip.

    1. Is the new minimum supposed to apply to servers too? That would be extra nuts.

    2. My first thought as well. The tip is based around the fact that the cost of service isn’t included in the price of the meal, which I think is great and which is why I always tip well. But if they’re drawing a living wage then the cost of service is included. I’m not going to pay them twice.

      1. This, I always tip 20 percent for decent service, if this becomes reality my servers won’t see this coin.

        The statist bitches wan’t to lessen the incentive to provide good service…it won’t end well for the servers. I know they are young and dumb (I was a prog 30 years ago), but they have no idea how this will impact them.

    3. I’m getting pretty effing tired of everyone thinking they deserve a tip. If you’re working a register or making me some drink without alcohol, fuck you. I paid my dues, now it’s your turn. Go wait tables or serve booze if you want a tip. Or drive a cab or turn tricks.

      1. “But, sir, I almost spelled your name correctly on the cup!

        Pearl Irritate, right?”

        1. I dunno, I’m old school, I guess. You get paid for services rendered, not because you’re deserving because you’re a precious flower.

      2. I remember getting into a disagreement about tipping the pizza guy 15%. My response? I’ll tip the pizza guy, but he ain’t getting 15% unless he stays and continually fills my water class and clears my dishes.

        1. Back when I used to deliver pizzas for Domino’s virtually no one tipped. If I got a total of $1 in an 8-hour shift I was happy. But maybe I was living in a particularly cheapskate town back then…

          1. I’ve always tipped for delivery. Again, a service is being provided that I recognize as worth a little extra.

            1. Yes, I always tip too. Seems the least I can do since they’re driving their own car (usually) and bringing food to my door. But I tend to only give them about 10% since (unlike waiters and waitresses) they don’t have to share it with everyone else in the store.

              1. Yes, 10%. I’m actually pretty generous with waitstaff. But the heck I’m going to pay somebody a tip to make a coffee or run a register. What the hell am I paying for when I buy the drink or food in the first place?

                1. There are a lot more tip jars around then there used to be. I’ve considered putting one on the corner of my desk in the office and not assisting anyone until they’ve contributed. Think that’ll work?

                  1. Make sure you drop some bills in to show that “others” have tipped. Now that you mention it, I think lawyers should demand gratuities, too.

                    1. Isn’t that pretty much what a retainer is?

                    2. I meant on top of fees, retainers, and expenses. To Insure Prompt service.

      3. Always tip for booze. The guy you’re tipping controls how much booze you get.

        1. Oh, sure. That’s a time-honored tradition.

          1. Oh sure. And it’s just common sense.

            I made friends with the bartender on my last vacation. I was drunk before noon. And then I went swimming in the rip currents. Some might call me a hero.

            1. I’ve noticed that when I’ve been friendly with bartenders in the past. Here, get fucked up faster, because I like you.

              1. I don’t care if the bartender has a swastika tattooed on his forehead. I’m gonna find a way to make friends.

                Not that I get out much any more.

                1. I wonder how a Nazi-themed bar would do? You’d get tons of negative press, and curiosity-seekers would come in droves. All hot female waitresses and bartenders, of course.

                  1. Of course, ALL Nazis are sexy. Seriously. Those Hugo Boss uniforms were awesome!

                    1. Someone with the guts to do this is going to make a whole lot of money.

                  2. Appetizer name: Arbeit Macht Fries

                    1. Turkey legs called Goebbels-Goebbels.

                  3. I’ve heard that nazi chic is a thing in Thailand these days.


        2. When the guy who mixes your drinks gives you extra because you tip well, he is stealing from the business. It’s not his booze to give. I understand the practice, and have been on both sides of it, but that was before I watched Bar Rescue.

          1. I’m glad you’re not my bartender.

            1. So you approve of employees stealing from the business if it means you get more booze. Very libertarian of you.

              1. Way to generalize, bro. Are you deliberately trying to be disagreeable?

                Yes, some places, particularly chain restaurants, prescribe the exact amount of booze that goes into each drink. They inventory the liquor each night, and compare it to the receipts.

                Other places, such as hole in the wall dive bars, and in this case, a very high end hotel, give their servers plenty of leeway when it comes to pouring. No measurements, no jiggers, no 3 count.

                It all depends on where you are.

                1. The leeway is not always intentional. Watch that show I linked to. Seriously. You’ve got experience in the industry. You should be able to relate.

                  Often times in those dive bars, the owners don’t know what’s going on. They don’t know how much money they are losing to the bartenders giving their booze away. And they shit their pants when they find out.

                  In high end places, the bartenders are expected to be professionals. Not that they always are.

                  When you tip extra for extra booze, the bartender reaps all the rewards. Not the owner. You are participating in stealing. Not trying to be a jerk here, but them’s the facts.

                  1. The liquor in bars and restaurants is ridiculously marked up. The little extra a bartender might give you doesn’t cut into the owner’s bottom line, and in the long-run might actually help it.

                    1. The little extra a bartender might give you doesn’t cut into the owner’s bottom line, and in the long-run might actually help it.

                      Wrong. Watch the show I linked to in my 6:25 comment. Profit margins in bars and restaurants are ridiculously low. What looks like a crazy markup is paying for staff, utilities, rent/mortgage, etc. They make money on the margin. A bartender giving stiff drinks to good tippers can quickly eat into that margin.

                    2. Well, one way I can definitely see it cutting into the owner’s margin is the fact that customers getting stronger drinks won’t order as many as they normally would.

                    3. You really don’t know much about margins in the hospitality business.

                2. Hotels are a special case since they get most of their income from the rooms. Food and drink is gravy. But still, in principle it’s the same. You’re paying the bartender to give away that which is not his. You’re participating in theft.

                  1. Actually, I seldom have liquor or cocktails outside of my home. And when I do I prefer that bartenders make my drink the correct way so I can monitor my BAC. For that reason alone I normally just order a beer. So, I’m not benefiting from this ‘theft’ in any way. But I don’t think it’s as dire as you’re making it seem…

                    1. But I don’t think it’s as dire as you’re making it seem…

                      Bartenders rewarding tips with booze had caused many a business to fail. Besides, it’s not very honest to encourage theft.

                    2. So what’s your solution? I mean, a tip is not necessarily just a bribe for extra booze–it also fulfills the normal function of a tip, which is to insure prompt service (often useful if a bar is very crowded).

                      Is it only participating in theft only if I *ask* the bartender for more booze when I tip him?
                      Is it encouraging theft if I don’t say anything but only secretly desire that he’ll give me more?
                      Is it encouraging theft if I tip him at all?
                      Do I have an obligation to complain if I suspect I was given more than the allotted amuont?

                    3. Yes. If I tip a bartender and he (or she) rewards me with a stronger drink, that’s on them. The only way I see to avoid this situation is to NEVER tip a bartender.

                    4. ^ Upon rereading that I think I come off more antagonizing than I intended. I wasn’t trying to tear down your argument or anything, I find it an interesting position and something to consider, I’m just genuinely curious what you think the limits are.

                    5. Yeah, I don’t think any of us are arguing against what Sarcasmic is saying. But he seems very passionate about it and I am also curious where he draws the line…

                    6. So what’s your solution?

                      I haven’t been out much in the last decade or two, so I haven’t given it a lot of thought. Honestly, I don’t know. But I wouldn’t want to participate in it intentionally. If I go to a place where I don’t plan to come back, and get a stiff drink, I suppose I’d let it slide. Nothing is to be gained by pointing it out.
                      However if it’s a place where I go regularly and have a relationship with my server, then that’s a different matter. I’d probably have a conversation with them about the subject, regardless of the contents of my glass. After that, I don’t know. It’s been a long time since I had a watering hole.

                      But intentionally tipping big to get fat drinks is not something I applaud, though I did it a lot in my younger days before I ever thought about it.

                    7. Your fantasy, i’ll stay out of it.

              2. Maybe I give you 20% more booze per drink, in turn I might buy one more drink. Two drinks at 80% profit is more profit than 1 drink at 100% profit, etc.

                1. That’s not exactly phrased right but you get that would be a point where extra drinks due to more booze per drink would yield more profit than fewer standard drinks.

                  1. *there would be a point

          2. And I think it balances out. They pour lighter drinks for assholes.

            1. No, they generally don’t. They pour measured drinks for assholes.

              I’ve been on both sides of this. I’ve gotten better tips for being heavy handed with the booze, and I’ve gotten some stiff drinks from bartenders that I tipped well. I’m not innocent.

              However I would not do that today.

    4. Servers are generally paid 1/2 minimum wage. When I was a waiter my paychecks were usually zero because the taxes on my (declared) tips ate up my hourly wage. So even with a minimum wage of $15/hr, the servers are probably being paid half that. Better than the three bucks an hour I got as a waiter, but hardly a living wage.

      1. I made a ridiculous amount of money as a waiter in High School. Pro Tip: look good in a tuxedo shirt and take the tables with cougars.

        1. My shtick was to drive up the bill. Instead of “Would you like an appetizer?” I’d ask “What kind of appetizer would you like?”

          Or if someone ordered a steak or a lobster (this is Maine) I’d suggest a steak and lobster for five bucks more. This way it looked like I was doing them a favor, when I was really driving up the bill. Because of this I had consistently high sales, and correspondingly higher tips.

          1. You probably drove up the bill so much on some guy’s tab that he couldn’t afford a birthday present for his little handicapped boy.

            You are therefore much worse than bartenders who give heavy pours to big tippers.

            1. Listen to the doc.

      2. State law dictates that servers make full minimum wage here.

  17. The part that would be funny is that the idiots supporting this law thought they were sticking it to the 1 percenters. Now, the small, family owned or small local chains are feeling the heat while McDonald’s and Subway raise their prices a bit, automate a bit, cut staff, cut menu options and spread the cost across the whole global company. Bottom line more low-wage earners out of work, and higher prices/less options for folks that want to eat out on a budget. Of course, since people are hurting, it isn’t funny.

    1. Over and over again, government intervention destroys small business, erects barriers to protect entrenched (and large) businesses from competition, stifles innovation, and drives up prices. How many times does this have to happen before people realize that it always does?

      1. But, but, but… intentions!

      2. Have you had a look at what is happening in Venezuela lately?

    2. “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded ? here and there, now and then ? are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

      This is known as “bad luck.””

  18. “Restaurant owners, expecting to operate on thinner margins, have tried to adapt in several ways including “higher menu prices, cheaper, lower-quality ingredients, reduced opening times, and cutting work hours and firing workers,” according to The Seattle Times and Seattle Eater magazine. “

    Many of the people who thought that the consequences of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour were completely unknowable–are the same people who think climate change skepticism is the province of uneducated rednecks.

  19. This is what you get for killing Bad Joe Hall.

  20. When the unintended consequences do impact the industry negatively I wish I could say they’d recognize the stupidity of their ways but they won’t. The response will be to add more socialist-prog-derp-regulatory-interventionist gibberish to try and fix it.

    Thus, ensuring the cycle of derp will not be compromised.

    1. When the unintended predicted consequences do impact the industry negatively . . .

  21. I don’t know anything about Seattle, but I know a bit about restaurants. Namely that it’s next to impossible to make any money running one. So this outcome is hardly surprising. I also wouldn’t be surprised if some wealthier, well-connected restaurant owners supported the measure as a way to whittle down the competition.

    1. The people who don’t understand that minimum wage raises the cost of running a business cannot be expected to understand margins.

    2. Well, I said this when this was first proposed, but I happen to live in Belltown which is one of the major neighborhoods for restaurants and bars, and I immediately predicted the restaurant people would hate this. But I thought they would raise more of a stink and possibly get the city to back down quietly. Looks like I was wrong, but what that says to me is that the city council probably just does not give a shit about what small restaurant owners think.

    3. Bingo, lap.

  22. Anecdote:

    On the way to picking up my daughter I saw a small clothing store with a big sign saying they had moved to Burien.

    Burien is a suburb JUUUUUST south of Seattle City limits. I’d bet even money there’s a connection.

    1. [mental note: check commercial real estate market in Burien.]

      1. You don’t want to live in Burien. The good neighborhoods are north of the city. South are places like Renton and SeaTac.

        (makes haughty face of disdain, sips martini, prepares to go to dinner in Post Alley later)

        1. Plus, there was this public/private partnership boondoggle. Because Burien wanted to be Haute!

          1. note to self, when investing in a real estate partnership, don’t enter a real estate partnership with a government entity# who fucking knew.

            Wear the stupid…WEAR IT BITCH..

        2. Let’s put it this way… teen pregnancy rates in Burien are… on the higher side.

          Consider this: According to Public Health ? Seattle & King County, for every 1,000 teenage girls aged 15 to 17 in Issaquah-Sammamish, there are 1.6 births. But in Burien, less than 24 miles away, there are 16 times as many births ? nearly 27 for every 1,000 girls.

          Or Seattle’s North-South gap: In Northeast Seattle, there are 1.7 births for every 1,000 teens. But in Southeast Seattle, that number zooms to nearly 18.


          1. So… MTV is part of the standard cable package there?

          2. I once had a sammich in Sammamish

            1. Sahalee is a great golf course

          3. It would be interesting to see if the difference was more girls doing it, or fewer girls protecting themselves from it.

    2. Paul.|3.13.15 @ 6:07PM|#
      Burien is a suburb JUUUUUST south of Seattle City limits. I’d bet even money there’s a connection.”

      In SF several years back, the idjit supervisors passed laws concerning benies to employees in businesses employing more than 50 people.
      I personally know of one restaurants that closed a second location and one cabinet shop that decided to ‘downsize’ a bit. I’d say 10-15 jobs went out the window.
      No, the owners made no noise about it and no, they never ended up being reported. Tell me again about how legislated compensation doesn’t affect anything, since there’s no reported results.

      1. Exactly. That’s why I pointed out above that there’s only been light reporting on the real effects of the min wage increase in Seatac.

        Jobs tend to go away very quietly. People making minimum wage just sort of go find something else or move to an apartment across town which is technically out of the min wage district, and find new work.

        The city council is technically correct. Businesses make adjustments. It just so happens those adjustments aren’t what the city council intended.

        1. “People making minimum wage just sort of go find something else or move to an apartment across town which is technically out of the min wage district, and find new work.”

          And there is no “Seattle Minimum Wage Worker Magazine” to poll the readers and find they don’t live here anymore.

  23. Venezuela is the inevitable outcome of unchecked progressive policies. It is right there in plain sight for everyone to see, yet hardly anyone does.

    Go ahead Seattle, give yourself what you deserve, good and hard.

    1. But why do I have to get what Seattle voters deserve?

    2. Venezuela also has beautiful lightning.

  24. So, these restaurant workers no longer have sources of income resulting from being contributing members of society, at least they no longer being exploited, and that is what is really matters, is it not?

    1. Boo yah, resist the explotation, freedom for all.

  25. The thing that worries me about places like Seattle that experiment with min. wage is that it’s bound to be emulated elsewhere eventually including my home town of Montreal.

    Talk of banning plastic bags just hit here. I’m convinced they were looking at California for this idea.

    We import each others bad ideas.

    1. They are coming after you Rufus, it’s what they do…interested in a libertarian commune in Montana?

      J/K, at one point 35 years ago I thought communal living was ok. I was young and idealistic. I’ve since realized that government sucks,the suckage ebbs the farther that you get from fedgovfolks

      Given that some folks have recognized the folly of fed gov I imagine it would be an interesting mix.

      1. Oh, I live in Quebec where private enterprise is public enemy #1.

  26. In theory, a minimum wage should be moot. Whose going to work in the SF region for 9 bucks an hour? Free marketeers imagine an army of teenagers desperate for money that are willing to gain some work experience and, this is true that a lot of teens do that kind of work, but overall, they can’t do all the work. In addition, there’s easier work out there. My wife for fun did some babysitting for 15 bucks an hour which is a lot easier than restaurant work. The demand is so huge that she stopped doing it because her phone rang off the hook!

    So the free marketeers say: Open up the floodgates to the illegals! Get some cheap labor in here! Sure, it’s “cheap” because the illegals bring along a large family to go to school and go on welfare which effectively means the taxpayers subsidize the restaurant industry. Oh, of course Reason will suggest getting rid of the welfare state too but with so many new recipients on it who will later vote, how will that ever happen? That’s why I liken libertarianism to political pacifism: That if you stop defending yourself and invite everyone to rob you, eventually the criminals will give up because they’ll see how destructive their lifestyle is.

    Good luck with that. How many libertarians post signs: “No locks on my door and lots of goodies inside! Don’t steal! That’s wrong!” and see how it goes? Yet, they think that a wild-west system is going to work out magically that is little better than outright anarchy.

  27. Actually, I thought that was the democrats line – all illegals welcome. Come in and take everything.

    I’m trying to understand your point. It’s Monday after.

    So who is going to work in SF region for 9 bucks an hour? Apparently, a lot of people if they had jobs and now the business are going under. Did you miss that point? People were paid less than 15 dollars an hour, had a job, and worked.

    Gasp, your wife babysat for 15 dollars an hour! Wow, you mean if people had the chose between a teen and an old person, they chose the older person. No way!

    Teenagers are struggling to find work because there are less jobs. I worked at Burger King, Kmart, Sears when I was younger. Now, even in Texas, my daughter has problems finding work.

    I thought Reason was more for drugs! More drugs for everyone!

    Wait, does the drug dealer get 15 dollars an hour too? Or is that his muscle?

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