Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage Hikes and Restaurants: Who Gains? Who Loses?

Los Angeles and Seattle institute or contemplate big minimum wage hikes, and the furor over how restaurants will be affected continues.


The L.A. Weekly has a cover story this week exploring many voices and perspectives on what a higher minimum wage might do to restaurant workers and restaurants, close-focused on managers and employees at venerable L.A. 24-hour deli Canter's, at which I've consumed many, many dozens of half-pastramis on rye accompanied by bowls of either matzo ball or kreplach soup. And I hope to consume many many dozens more.


As the story says, "the city of Los Angeles plans to increase the minimum wage from $9 an hour to as much as $15.25 over the next few years."

Unsurprisingly, the interests of waiters and countermen and their management don't always seem to match. The whole thing is worth reading, but the perspectives can be roughly summed up as: higher per hour expenses might lead the deli to have to close nights on weekdays (you are hearing a large swath of Los Angeles including me scream in fear at this prospect); that higher per hour money will help the long-commuting, long-suffering low-wage workers live a little better, save a little more, or send more back to their families in Mexico; but that perhaps people shouldn't assume being a busboy or deliman is a lucrative lifetime career and need to up their game.

Servers might need to become busboys as well and service will suffer; consideration should be given to how tips increase compensation without forcing the deli itself to pay the full hourly wage freight; that a higher hourly wage for tipped workers that comes with a cost-necessitated cut in hours is hurting the waiter, not helping him or her.

The story shifts at the end to the politics of minimum wage hike, and to the specter of some employers who will just violate the law and in fact already do, and the city's inability to adequately police that, especially in a city with a large immigrant labor force.

All the differing perspectives from different actual humans involved are worth contemplating, and likely will fail to move anyone from whatever position they already have on whether raising the minimum wage is a good thing.

Ultimately and necessarily, this kind of perspective-based reporting gives no hard facts about how it will pan out, who will be helped and who will be hurt, who will keep their jobs and who will lose them or, hardest to know, who will never get a job they might otherwise have gotten.

Speaking of hard facts, last month I wrote about various stories out of Seattle that seemed confident that minimum wages on the rise in that city were causing possibly fatal problems for restaurants there, including this from Shift Washington:

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?" 

Follow-up discussion from ThinkProgress has called that presumption into question, as has analysis from Barry Ritholtz. He writes, after studying available data about restaurant permits pulled in Seattle:

we'd expect to see permit issuance fall off a cliff about a year or so ago as restaurateurs—or prospective restaurateurs—digested (pun intended) the knowledge that their labor costs would rise….

What I see…and I'm focused on the 12-month moving average – is, well, nothing. I see a longer-term trend of roughly 25-26 permits per month amid the usual month-to-month noise that is always evident in any data set. Contrary to conservative rhetoric that has been devoid of any fact- or data-based analysis, Seattle's restaurant business (through March 2015) looks very much today (in terms of permits) as it did prior to any notion of a higher minimum wage….Of course, the Seattle experiment will bear watching as the city's minimum wage gradually scales higher. At the moment, however, it certainly appears to be much ado about nothing.

What has happened so far in Seattle is no guarantee of future results of lack of results in terms of restaurant closings, or any other set of negative results of the enforced wage hike. Increasing labor costs may end up being something a restaurant can bear, but it may not. It is, mostly, too soon to tell.

But the logic of making it illegal to hire people whose value to the hirer is less than $15 seems like it will inevitably lead to some people who might have been hired, not being hired. And the logic of increasing labor costs in often very low margin businesses does seem likely to kill some of them. How many, and when, there is no way to say.

Ronald Bailey from our May issue on the unavoidably magical thinking at the heart of those who maintain a higher minimum wage can do no harm.

NEXT: Swedish Cops on Vacation in NYC Stop Assault, Hold Homeless Man Until Police Come, Without Escalating the Situation

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  1. Shouldn’t it be ‘affected’?

    1. There could be a furor over how the restaurants will come into existence (i.e., “be effected.”).

      1. You know who else could be a furor?

        1. Hateler?

        2. bowls of either matzo ball or kreplach soup.

          you know who else consumed bowls of matzo ball soup?

          1. The Juice?

            1. I don’t like the Juice…

            2. “What is so great about liquids? Every article I read now is ‘juice this’ and ‘juice that.'”

              “You know why? Juice controls the media.”

    2. I make up to $90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around $40h to $86h? Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link… Try it, you won’t regret it!……

  2. Has there every been an empirically-validated theorem for calculating the maximum minimum wage an industry can sustain?

    1. Yes. Markets. Very empirical. Calculations updated in real time.

      1. Sample size n=500 billion

  3. “The city of Los Angeles plans to increase the minimum wage from $9 an hour to as much as $15.25 over the next few years.”

    They’re going full retard.

    What’s this gonna do to a place like Philippe’s?

    What are they gonna do in Chinatown?

    These places are probably already reeling from trying to figure out what to do with ObamaCare.

    Actually, the institutional places like Philippe’s and Canters will probably survive–what about all those authentic taco shops?

    They’ll keep destroying and destroying until it’s like Detroit and there’s nothing left to destroy–and then they’ll blame it all on the Republicans.

    1. They’ll keep destroying and destroying until it’s like Detroit and there’s nothing left to destroy–and then they’ll blame it all on the Republicans.

      California already does this. Which Calif. Proposition is blamed for everything bad that’s ever happened in the state?

      1. 13

        1. Prop 13 is the last thing holding CA together and is quite fortunate. I don’t think it would pass today.

          1. Old people vote. For the purposes of this discussion, I’m old.

          2. Prop 13 was a good start.

            1. What do you pay? (relative, I’m not trying to pry)

              I pay 10x what my parents pay, for a house that’s worth half

              1. We’ve been in our current house 16 years. We pay tax on about half what it would sell for (thank goodness, the only reasonable tax in this state). Even 1.2 % of that’s still a heckuva lot of money, though, because if this house was in Ohio, it would be worth less than half of the price it’s taxed at.

                1. You’ve seen my house. Drunk, but you might remember it.

                  Is it really worth 11K a year in taxes?

                  1. I do remember seeing your house but I didn’t realize it was drunk at the time.

                    11K a year in property taxes? Living on the coast in southern California? You’re not going to beat that, sad as it may sound.

                    1. My house is always drunk. Well, usually.

              2. We pay cheap on the primary, ’cause I bought into a ‘chancy’ ‘hood and then watched it explode.

              3. BTW, I noticed Venice RE was cheap about the time I first bought in SF; peeps I knew in So Cal didn’t seem interested.

                1. Venice has more of everything you don’t like about the being on the beach, especially tourists, plus it’s dangerous and full of crazy homeless people.

                  I’d rather live in Seal Beach or Naples (Long Beach), where it’s probably as dangerous–but at least you don’t have as many tourists. And you can be near your boat!

                  Although once you go over the hill, it’s almost like you’re not central to LA anymore.

                  Beach real estate is weird. So many people want to live right on the beach that you can get nice places on the beach–and on the other side of the street it can fall off a cliff into hellhole. The line between heaven and hell is so thin in Venice, the hellhole spills over onto the beach. I have no idea why tourists want to go there.

                  1. Tourists go to Venice to people watch the the weirdos – for a real (fake) CA experience.

                    And Seal Beach and Naples are both very safe areas.

  4. The problem is the unseen. We will never know what restaurants didn’t open or what meals or ingredients didn’t make it onto the menu. It’s just now taking effect and doesn’t impact small business in full for a few more years. In a few years when there are fewer independently owned restaurants people will blame McDonalds and Subway for driving out Mom n Pop restaurants and cry OMG MARKET FAILURE. Whatever the outcome, I guarantee it won’t look like 2010 but with the workers earning 50 percent higher wages.

    1. One of my clients was telling me her husband is now on the citizen’s committee on urban planning in the municipality I operate in. She was telling me how they discovered more and more businesses are leaving because of the excessive interference of bureaucrats in our affairs.

      I warned a few years back if they keep busting like this businesses will simply leave.

      Lo and behold, it’s confirmed this is what’s happening. But as you point out, it’s kinda unforeseen. People ‘see’ the place closing but they don’t know why. They think it’s just the way things are but not in this case.

      1. I believe “urban planners” are not yet realized by most people to be the group think, ‘sustainable community’, Agenda 21-driven folks that they are — perhaps people are deferring to authority because urban planners have ‘degrees in urban planning’. Yet they almost all uniformly believe that people should live in dense housing around public transit as the solution to everything, as if everyone can live densely in one spot and all the jobs can exist densely in another spot at the other end of the train tracks. They seem to wish that every community would be the Upper West Side of Manhattan, their idea of the Absolute Best Way to Live There Has Ever Been.

        Anyone challenging the absurdity of their ideas is a greedy, selfish, anti-science, climate denier, racist, I’ve-got-mine NIMBY type.

        Not saying your client’s husband is one of these, but he’s dancing in their valley.

        1. Arcologies for the win!

        2. I’m not sure how all of my guns fit into this equation.

        3. Yet they almost all uniformly believe that people should live in dense housing around public transit as the solution to everything

          What? You’ve never played SimCity?

  5. The solution seems pretty clear here. All they have to do is mandate minimum staffing requirements for restaurants, and charge prohibitive fees for any businesses trying to exit the market altogether.

    1. Schumer approves

  6. Vet the nyet: Paradoxical statements of G. K. Chesterton

    1) The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice.

    2) Moderate strength is shown in violence, supreme strength is shown in levity.

    3) A lot of people are talking about me, but that is because they do not have a thing to say.

    4) The person who is really in revolt is the optimist, who generally lives and dies in a desperate and suicidal effort to persuade other people how good they are.

    5) When learned men begin to use their reason, then I generally discover that they haven’t got any.

    1. HINT: I made this very easy, for most people.

      1. Oh, come ON!

        1. Is this Chesterson guy a rapper? Because #3 sounds like something a rapper would say.

          1. Any other guesses?

            1. It’s gotta be 1.

              1. 3 was right – all I said was “any other guesses,” not “you’re wrong.”

        1. You are.

          1. But the answer isn’t.

            Are you all fighting for your right to be retarded?

          2. Whois #1?

            1. Are you trying to sabotage this contest?

              1. I’ve kiboshed before and I’ll kibosh again.

                1. OK, it’s official – with the possible exception of Warrren, y’all can’t tell the difference between G. K. Chesterton and the Beastie Boys.

                  #3 is a loose paraphrase of “Pass the Mic.”

    2. Has to be 3, never have a lot of people talked about Chesterton.

      1. Right for the wrong reasons – how paradoxical!

      1. So, Franceesco, we meet again…when I left you I was but a learner…now *I* am the master…

          1. I know you are, but what am I?

  7. I propose we start calling minimum wage laws minimum productivity laws.

    If your productivity does not meet the minimum, you are unemployed. You’re welcome.

    If after some on-the-job experience your productivity could meet the minimum, tough luck: the bottom rungs of the ladder have been removed for you. You’re very welcome.

    1. At least those who would be on the bottom rungs are no longer being exploited.


      1. Right. They’re being fired.

        1. Exactly, ergo not exploited.

  8. I imagine the analysis should be done in 2021, when the wage comes into full effect. Looking at progress until March when the wage increase starts the following month doesn’t seem like a thorough analysis.

    Of course, by 2021 the average wage will most likely be around $15 an hour too, so this is mostly petty politics.

  9. ‘long-suffering low-wage workers live a little better, save a little more,’

    Saving is a micro-aggression for some people. Be. Careful.

  10. OT: I was watching a news report about the Armenian genocide with my wife and her mother. It was a one-sided piece where they interviewed a 102 year-old women who witnesses the event and various members of the Armenian community who remembered 1915. All fair enough – even though I would have preferred some Turkish perspectives. But that’s not what irked me. What bothered me was the reported inserting herself in the report as we saw her rubbing the old ladies hands.

    The exchange went something like this.

    Me: She shouldn’t do that.
    Mother: Do what?”
    Me: Use an appeal to emotion here. She’s a journalist. Objectivity and all that.
    MIL: You lack emotion and empathy.
    Me: It has nothing to do with that. I feel for her but you have to look at these things dispassionately; especially if you’re REPORTING IT.
    MIL (Looks on in horror).
    Me (continues): How would you like it if you’re Turkish or of Turkish heritage and you see this?
    MIL: (looks in horror AND wonders who her daughter married).

    To her credit, my wife was totally in my corner. No way a journalist should do that and give the appearance of playing favorites. I further added, as a point of argument, scholars don’t even agree with the definition of what constitutes genocide and the fact Turkey has its own reasons to not acknowledge it. For the record, I’m of the opinion it was a genocide.

    Am I asking too much of what I feel should be objective reporting?

    1. You’re asking too much of your mother in law who’s not going to change. Of course I torment mine with statements like “FDR was an authoritarian bastard who prolonged the depression.” Gets her every time.

      1. Oh, part of me does it to torment as well because being RATIONAL is hard. It’s amazing how far we’ve come where asking for proper reporting is no longer noticed by viewers. It’s appalling how we let ourselves be emotionally manipulated AND get offended if told it’s not appropriate.

        By the way, they’re both public school teachers.

      2. My grandmother (who–illegally–kept her savings in gold and silver coins and became quite comfortable financially when they re-legalized holding gold bullion) said that to me about FDR when I was a wee lass. I think that woman’s absolute implacable hatred of FDR planted the seeds of libertarianism in my soul.

        1. My parents were both children during the depression, both from ‘broken homes’ and they both absolutely hated FDR and the New Deal. Which is ironic as they are exactly the sort of people that supposedly were saved it.

          My mother says her first political memory was widespread coverage of the government dumping drinkable milk into roadside ditches and also them killing and burning hogs – parts of the price support attempts of the 1st ‘New Deal’. At a time when her and her family literally went hungry for prolonged periods of time.

    2. They should have gotten a cutaway shot of the reporter with a tear in her eye. It takes time, cameras have to move and get re-setup etc. Plus the reporter then has to produce a tear. No one said journalism is easy.

      1. Was the reporter 1/16th Indian? A cousin of Warren?

      2. They should have gotten a cutaway shot of the reporter with a tear in her eye.

        You would have thought with that ability, she would have picked William Hurt over Albert fucking Brooks, for pete’s sake. Well, at least she later got to be Mrs. Incredible.

    3. Yes, apparently lscking in empathy is the worst thing in the world now. Dispassion is to be avoided at all costs.

      1. The world runs on feels now.

    4. You call your MIL “mother”?

      1. Just don’t call her late for dinner!


        Now that’s the Friday I’m used to.

      2. I do?

        1. I might have misread, but you owe me some charity for your recent behavior.

    5. Am I asking too much of what I feel should be objective reporting?

      You’re asking for a unicorn. News media outlets have always had their own ideological biases that influenced the tack in which they reported a story. At least in the US, up until the early 20th century, newspapers were clearly identified with a particular political party. If you wanted both sides of a story, you had to buy two papers. I prefer that honesty over the polite fiction of the “objective” news media.

      1. I understand that but this was a local news program in a city with many minorities. You would think they’d ‘think’ a little more. That someone would have had the presence of mind to edit that.

        Man would I love a unicorn.

    6. If the Armenian Genocide was a genocide, and it was, then so was the Trail of Tears, and so was the expulsion of Germans from the Eastern Bloc countries in 1945, and so were a whole lot of things. Governments don’t really want to open this can of worms by attaching the G-word to the mass murder of the Armenians.

      1. Yeah not sure why they want to open that can. The pressure on the Canadian government to pressure Turkey is relentless. Not sure if it’s our place.

        1. I imagine USA’s reasons for not doing so is for geo-political reasons. Turkey until recently was a key ally.

          1. Turkey had air bases from which the U2s could pretty much cover European Russia and a lot of southern Asiatic Russia; where they built and tested nukes.
            Now, well, bureaucratic inertia.

    7. even though I would have preferred some Turkish perspectives

      Do we need German perspectives on the Holocaust?

  11. I noted that Rtholtz provided data on openings, but I didn’t see data on closures. If you have 25 new restaurant permits each month, but closures have gone from 25 to 50 per month, that’s pretty good evidence that something has gone awry.

    1. Openings is a lousy measure. We’re still Americans, virtually everyone dreams of owning their own business. I’ve heard 2/3 of small businesses fail before their first year. I know I’m one. No matter how carefully you try to forecast all possible costs and revenues, reality proves to be more complicated and expensive, especially if you have a razor thin profit margin. I was kilt by an increased sales tax…couldn’t raise the prices without losing customers…couldn’t lower production cost without equipment which I couldn’t afford without a loan…didn’t have collateral or credit rating to get said loan…couldn’t make a profit while absorbing the increased costs. I dumped some of my husband’s earnings into it, trying to keep it afloat, but finally said fuck it.

  12. Libertarians may want to consider a law stating that raises should be outlawed to assure that the business owner will never have to deal with this rabble.

    1. Lol wut

    2. We libertarians don’t like laws.

    3. Libertarians may want to consider a law…

      What we have here, is a failure to communicate.

      1. No, what we have here is a failure to be honest.

        Alice is a pig.

        1. My pig isn’t that dumb, and resents the comparison!

    4. This is the Friday I’m used to.

  13. 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.”

    And self-described communists such as kashama Sawant don’t. give. two fucks.

    1. Sawant? I can’t eat that!

      1. I think the clinical term is “Idiot Sawant”

        1. Naah.
          Useful Idiot.

    2. Trifling details. The business owner merely wanted too much profit and took his ball home in a huff, or wasn’t good at business. Other people with the proper attitude will fill the hole now that those assholes made some room for decent people to have their shot.

      We have an inherent grasp of the fundamentals of the restaurant industry. We do eat at Chipotle’s twice a week, you know.


      1. There really was a letter-to-the-editor in the local paper last week about minimum wage laws, saying “when they claim that minimum wage laws cause stores to go out of business, they never mention how many of those places just weren’t run competently.”

        I really thought it was a myth that people legitimately thought that was a reasonable argument. What’s the point of ever arguing logic with these titans?

        1. It’s my industry. I can confirm, having gritted my teeth through The Public which never shuts its yap about ‘how restaurants work’, that this is precisely what many think.

          It’s a derp-rich environment.

      2. It is amusing to hear those with no experience at all state with absolute certainty that running any sort of business is easy enough and profitable enough that an owner must be required to pay (some number those people just pulled out of their asses).

        1. Lenin was a rich kid with no business experience another one of those Bolshie asswipes was a clerk handling timetables.

          So not having any practical knowledge is no hinderence and perhaps helps a person have a successful career in advanced meddling.

  14. I imagine applying for these permits take a long time. Some of these restaurant owners probably made financial commitments earlier.

    And the minimum wage isn’t 15 dollars in Seattle yet. Some smaller business can wait years until it hits that level.

    1. Is it tied to number of employees? Cause that totally doesn’t affect business decisions on whether to expand. /sarc

    2. Exactly this. Plus, there’s no shortage of people willing to risk everything opening up a restaraunt. The Restaraunt business is notoriously difficult to make a profit in, killing something like four out of five who try, yet people still try.

      What they should be tracking is other metrics such as what actual measures restaraunts took to cope with the new mandates. Jobs lost, hours cut, average menu price etc.

  15. Thank you for reminding me I have a groupon at Canter’s. I’m so down to grab some sweet and sour stuffed cabbage with you Brian. I need you to tell me the last fourth of Radicals for Capitalism. That book was so long I never finished it.

    1. He has been warned about you

      1. So he’s not interested in wagering sodomy on the GOP nomination?

        1. He doesn’t deny it

    2. I need you to tell me the last fourth of Radicals for Capitalism. That book was so long I never finished it.

      Everyone dies in the end.

  16. Talking on a cell phone while riding a bike? That’s a paddlin’ shootin’.

    Bang bang bang bang

    1. Stop what you’re doing and comply with us,” he told reporters. “There’s nothing in the rules of engagement that says we have to put our lives in jeopardy to wait to find out what this is to get killed.”

      Holy… shit. They’re just coming out and saying what we usually joke about.

  17. Look, I am opening a place where we will have line cooks and staff on registers. The math just means that if I have to pay $15/hour, then I’ll hire fewer people.

    My labor costs are going to be 33% of my gross, and I’m planning on starting my staff at $10/hour.

    If the minimum wage goes to $15, that’s a 50% hike in my labor cost, so if I didn’t adjust prices or staffing, my labor costs would be 50% of my gross, wiping out any profits whatsoever.

    Now either I have to cut staff or raise prices or some combination just to stay open. But consumers are funny. The same people who want to raise the minimum wage won’t pay the extra $2 per item to cover just part of the wage increase. So it probably means I’ll just hire fewer staff.

    Which means more people on the dole, and fewer people with opportunities to move up from staff to assistant manager, to store manager, to whatever.

    Of course most of the advocates of the increased minimum wage don’t care, since they really are just trying to use a higher minimum wage to push for higher wages for their unionized jobs anyway. They aren’t interested in actually having more people work, just that their members salaries increase.


      I just want to enjoy a great poutine so I can feel a kinship with our canadian libertarian bretheren on here.

      1. Late May/Early June, I hope!

        1. It’s locally sourced soy/vegan, right?

          1. Vegan poutine? What fresh hell is this?

          2. My lawn, get off of it.

    2. Bah, if you can’t afford a hike in the minimum wage it means your business was run incompetently!


    3. I was with you until

      they really are just trying to use a higher minimum wage to push for higher wages for their unionized jobs anyway.

      My town will likely move to a $15 minimum wage in the near future, and it is definitely not a union-dominated place. Rather, the service industry is huge, and there’s a drive to build the “creative economy”. For most of my prog friends, a $15 minimum would allow their friend – the cool waitress/textile-artist with the funky ink and two kids – to spend more time on her art… because life is all about living your passion, dontchaknow?

    4. Of course most of the advocates of the increased minimum wage don’t care, since they really are just trying to use a higher minimum wage to push for higher wages for their unionized jobs anyway.

      I’m pretty sure this is it.

      The percentage of people who are trying to make a living with a minimum wage job is very low. The main advocates don’t give a shit about those on minimum wage, what they care is about using a minimum wage hike to raise their own wages. What guy making $14/hour currently isn’t going to want a raise that will equate to much higher than a $15 minimum wage? So the guy currently getting $14/hour will soon be getting $18/hour and onwards up the scale.

  18. Every discussion of the minimum wage should include the fact that it was invented by Progressives as a racist, eugenics measure. Its intention wasn’t just to “lift up the poor,” it was to lift up the white, male, able-bodied poor, and disemploy blacks, the disabled, the feeble-minded, and white women (so they’d stay at home and have kids instead).

    And guess what? They were right! It does disemploy people. Too bad modern-day Progressives refuse to admit that.

    It’s like they invented something 100 years ago that they sold as a weight-gain tonic, and now they’re selling the exact same thing as a weight-loss tonic.

    1. When do we start referring Progressives a Regressives?

      1. as

      2. Proglodtyes is still my favorite.

  19. “Wait. The busboys are making the same as I am? Fuck it, find another manager, I’m going back to tending bar.”

    1. That’s crappy for management. Line cooks, that’s a nice wage. A $15 line cook has some experience, good-to-great skills, at least fair crew leadership abilities and able to bear some responsibilities – inventory, say.

      You tell these guys they’re now making the same as the 18 year old kid in the dish pit, him with his three weeks of experience in the industry, and the kitchen will walk out en masse. And I’d be the first out the door, because a sous who doesn’t back her line, doesn’t deserve to have one.

      1. *nods in complete agreement*

      2. If I make $20 an hour and deserve it why do I care if another person makes $20 an hour and doesn’t? Unless it puts the company paying me $20 an hour out of business.

        I still think minimum wages are stupid.

        1. Because there are easier jobs. If you are going to make the same wage doing your current high skill job as you would collecting carts in a walmart parking lot, why would you stick with the high skill job?

  20. A1 concepts Let’s Pizza pizza making & vending machine:
    (original Italian promotional video, dubbed in English)

    It came out in Europe in 2009 but I’ve yet to see them in the US likewise with other automation tech. But maybe now’s the time to invest.

    1. That pizza looks really bad. No wonder they need the girl, so that no one notices how shitty that pizza looks.

      1. Of course it does, but if history is any guide, people will get used to a newly cheap and obtainable product even if the quality is a bit lacking.

        People these days are totally fine with the mass-produced “bread” and “meat” patties they sell at fast food joints. Obviously, there’s still a market for hand-made foods, but it’s more of an artisan thing.

        This pizza machine, the burger machine, and all the other automation systems are going to replace most non-artisan foodservice jobs if they keep articially jacking up their wages.

        1. Au contraire. Market share for the big chains with a rep for crappy “food” is declining. McDonald’s earnings have been in the pisser for quite some time – they fired their CEO and are trying a revamp which reeks of desperation.

          In retrospect, high prices, shit quality and bad customer service seem to be bad business models. Totally unexpected!

          Word on automation. I know some of the waitstaff at Chili’s in my hometown. They’re ecstatic this might move to Texas. Yeah. In RealityLand, Chili’s is already rolling out tableside automated ordering. Front of the house jobs will be decimated before this is through.

          1. “Front of the house jobs will be decimated before this is through.”

            Just heard a radio ad for some FF joint: ‘Mobile ap; order and drop by to pick up!’. Why not?
            Even if it isn’t a mobile ap, why is someone paid to poke a screen I could easily (and more accurately) poke myself?
            Elevator operator, anyone?

      2. The pizza comes in a matchbook cover? Make sure to close cover before striking.

    2. Phrase of the day: “an overall autonomy of ninety pizzas”

  21. Is this the late nite links?

    1. It is whatever you want it to be, sailor.

      1. I want it to be a 3D printer that prints whatever I can think up.

        1. Just close your eyes and make a wish!

  22. Other than that, Mr. President, how did you like the play?

    “Abraham Lincoln’s end must have been a merry one…

    “I’d never looked at it this way before, but when Booth fired a bullet into his skull, Lincoln died laughing.”…..-merry-one

    1. I stand corrected, the phrase of the day is: “You sockdologizing old mantrap!”

    2. Lincoln died nine hours after he was shot….so no.

  23. that higher per hour money will help the long-commuting

    You know, I just caught this, and frankly, I’m surprised no one else did.

    Speaking for my town, the situation would be the same. Lower wage-earners are more than likely commuting from one of the neighboring burghs to the south.

    Q: Why are they commuting?

    A: Because it’s so much cheaper to live there.

    Q: Why do you think it might be so much cheaper, or more to the point, what might be contributing to the higher cost of living where they work as opposed to where they live?

  24. 8th graders re-enact the Battle of Antietam – gun culture is perpetuated, girls wear beards –


    1. It’s time to have them enact battles. For our entertainment.

      1. Hey, that’s a total rip-off of the Hunger Games!

        1. I see Cytotoxic is spoofing your account today.

          1. WTF? The infanticide guy?

            He can have my account when he pries it from my cold dead fingers.

    2. How about the Revolutionary War

  25. On Ritholtz analysis…

    ok, there’s no change to the moving average of restaurant permit applications.

    but that wouldn’t capture any near term change to the rate of existing businesses shutting their doors anyway. which is the point = its not ‘new businesses’ that would be affected – its the ones already in operation.

    It also wouldn’t capture how higher wages are going to affect prices – which will in turn affect food service demand. too short term.

    It also wouldn’t capture any replacement of ‘independent’ operations (which can’t handle these sudden changes to labor costs) with ‘chain restaurants’ or corporate run businesses which have better capability to deal with the cost variability. There may be replacement going on which the data wouldn’t show.

    The short of it = I don’t think any of the “debunkings” really use particularly good #s, or try to approach the issue from any angles beyond the ‘flying at 50,000 feet’ view.

    As is often the case – there’s no great slam dunk sources that provide the kind of insight that people want to have. The best way to do it would be to actually do some proprietary research and actually talk to 100+ existing business owners and ask them about their plans and how they would describe the effects of the wage policy.

    between the so-called analysts, and the journalists collecting a handful of anecdotes, neither really do much to support a conclusion.

    1. The point isn’t to find the truth, but to further a narrative.

      But one side’s argument is completely devoid of even basic economic thought.

      Even if magically the law of supply and demand stopped working in terms of wages, what the hell is the impact of upping the pay for the bottom rung if the supply of goods and services doesn’t increase with it? Or those who already earn $15 a hour?

      The American electorate in many places has no more sense than the average voter in Venezuela.

    1. *Buzz Aldrin clenches fist, prepares to go viral*

    2. *shrug*

      Kashama Sawant believes that the concept of Relative Value is an illusion, and her policies are actually hurting people.

    3. Pshaw, I posted that weeks ago.


        Actual Comment:

        IrOnMaN1789 1 week ago (edited)
        +Livenderrr This is the last time I will ask you this. Who told you the Earth spins-revolves-tilts and that the magnetic field is caused by its core which no one has seen?

        1. Well shit, who cares what the reason was!

    4. duh everyone knows that

  26. Small restaurants have traditionally been heavily weighted toward family businesses, I believe. The business model would be more like “profit-sharing” than hourly payroll. Is there an exemption for family members in these wage hikes?

    1. Yeah, the teriyaki joint isn’t paying their daughter $15 an hour, they’re sending her ass to college, so this is what you’re doing for the summer. We’ll give you walkin’ ’round money if you need it. Your official wage: $0 per hour.

    2. Family joints are also more likely to pay non family members under the table.

  27. “the Personal Care Products Safety Act (S. 1014) will basically regulate the small cottage industry of artisanal soap-making out or existence with annual fees, multiple registrations and detailed information about every product they offer.

    “You like the lady who keeps goats and makes that great lye-soap with their milk? Goodbye to her.

    “You like the lady whose soaps look good enough to eat? Say farewell to her.

    “You like to support the wives of veterans who are making a bit of money to supplement things? They are dismissed.

    “You like to support the monks and nuns who couldn’t afford to pay for their health insurance without the additional income from soap sales? Tell them to stay healthy!”…..z3YHbEgnaf

    1. No more monk-made fruitcakes?

      I chuckled.

    2. That’s sad. There’s a wheelchair-bound blind fellow who parks on a corner in the shopping district of a nearby town, selling his homemade soaps at 3 bars for $20. They’re actually damn good soap, that also last a long time (unlike, say, Dove, which seems to disappear after a week of showers). It really seems to be all that he lives for.

      Not much is more evil than crony-fed government protection from competition.

    3. I honestly don’t believe that there is anyone on earth dumber than Dianne Feinstein.

    4. Has there been a rash of personal care product deaths or injurys?

      1. You did something that could be seen.

      2. Every person who has used soap in the past 5000+ years has died. So the risk to the current inhabitants of the Earth cannot be overstated!

        1. The same thing can be said about people living under government rule so maybe we should eliminate the government. For the children.

          1. Maybe? How did that get in there?

          1. You can’t believe anything Big Soap says, given all the lies they tell justifying the sudsibdies they get from the government.

            1. Ah, screw it.

              *dumps lye in a champagne bottle filled with water and aluminum foil, balloons at the ready*

    5. Hey, everybody….

      Did you know Eddie was a religious fanatic?

        1. Just tryin to help him out, in case you missed it.

          1. OMG, why didn’t someone *tell* me?

      1. OMG, really?

        1. Since I have discovered you are religious I have tried to tone down my militant rationality. Seriously.

          I thought this site was for us Ayn Rand types upon first glance.


            1. It humors me that conservatives started liking Ayn Rand since 2009. They don’t know what a liberal pro-abortion atheist Reagan-hating rationalist she was.

              1. BBBBBBBBB

                1. I am the one and only Buttplug!

                  Ye shall have no other Buttplugs before me!

    6. It was nice while it lasted, before Tyler Durden started stealing human fat from the lipo clinic to make soap.

      1. You know who else made soap from human fat?

    7. The more regulations they pass the more people they fuck over. The more fucked over people the more resentful people. Resentful people act out. Some, because of naivete, will go to their “representatives”, some will give up, but many will ignore the new regs and keep on doing what they do and force the hand of the thugs.

      That will be interesting.

      The more you tighten your grip on the soap, Tarkin, the more that will slip through your fingers.

  28. What the World needs now
    It’s the only thing
    that there’s just
    too little of….

    1. What the World needs now
      No not just for some
      but for everyone..

  29. Youngstown State University (OH) removes satirical “Straight Pride Week” posters –

    “A statement from the student government said while it respects free speech of all students, the posters weren’t authorized, contained vulgar language and missed the point of activism.”…..k-30550717

    1. The student paper flags some potential issues:


      “According to Ari Cohn, an attorney and the program officer for legal and public advocacy at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, public college campuses are not considered zones of limited speech. Unless the speech qualifies as unprotected under U.S. legal precedents, officials cannot censor it.”


      “YSUnity, Youngstown State University’s LGBT+ student organization, advised their members to respond in a measured and responsible way to the fliers. Tim Bortner, president of YSUnity, claimed the fliers were an example of the sort of bullying his organization stands against.

      “As an organization, we support everyone on this campus, whether they’re LGBTQIA or straight allies. This group is a supportive group for everyone and this campus is supposed to be a safe place for everyone to be themselves. YSUnity does not support any kind of hate like this against our community, against the straight community or against any other community operating on this campus,” Bortner said.”…..questions/

      1. LGBTQIA

        Is it just me or do they add new letters to it every week.

        1. Mark Steyn uses LGBTQWERTY just to make sure you include everyone.

          1. Inclusive and helps you practice typing. Nice.

    2. The poster in question. Very funny.

      “If you actually read through it, it seemed like it went way further than a free speech issue,” said Student Government President Michael Slavens. “There were swear words and took it a little further than the average free speech should go.”

      The posters counter the school’s mission to create a diverse campus, university spokesman Ron Cole told WFMJ-TV. Officials are investigating possible student code violations, and disciplinary action may follow.

      Urge to kill… rising.

      1. “There were swear words and took it a little further than the average free speech should go.”

        Well, I’m sure he can cite a study on how far “free speech” averages.
        But at least props for using “further”.

        1. Have you and PapayaSF made out yet?

          1. Palin’s Buttplug|4.25.15 @ 1:26AM|#
            “Have you and PapayaSF made out yet?”

            No, turd. Why would you ask? Are you hoping to get others to lick Obo ass with you?
            Fuck off.

      2. “then go about your day without telling anyone about how “different” you are”

        What?! But mommy told me I’m a unique snowflake. I think I’m going to need a safe space with pillows and cookies until I come to terms with this.

    3. Ah, yes. The usual “We support free speech but…” which translates to “fuck free speech, we’ll decide for you what you’re allowed to think”.

  30. You know, the net result of this is going to be fewer independent mom-and-pop type restauraunts and more large chain restaurants, right? Because McDonalds has the economies of scale that allow them to continue making a profit at a $15/hour wage, but the locally run eatery just doesn’t. McDonalds has standardized supply chains and processes so the costs of running a franchise (and the management skills needed) are a lot smaller than than the cost of running a small independent business that has to do all it’s own sourcing and management.

    1. I suspect that they know that quite well and if it’s not their main intent they’re at least okay with it. Independent businesses are anathema to the “progressive”. So much harder to control. A few big outfits who know which side their bread is buttered on are so much easier.

  31. My waitress and/or busboy making $15+ an hour simply informs me that I no longer am required to tip the fuck another 15%. I shall be a stiffy in such a diner.

  32. My best friend’s mother-in-law makes $85 /hour on the internet . She has been out of work for 5 months but last month her pay was $16453 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    Visit this website ??????????

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