Restaurant Manager Says Minimum Wage Requirement for Servers Needs to Change
YAKIMA, WA - If you like to eat out, be prepared to open your wallet. Local restaurants say they'll have to raise prices to account for the increase in minimum wage.
"It's going to affect the regular customers coming to our restaurant on a regular basis," says Lucho Delacombe, manager of Zesta Cucina in Yakima.
He says the wage increase will do more harm than good in the long run.
"More restaurants are going to close versus more flourishing, more opening up," he says.
Delacombe says profit margins are already slim for restaurants in the state. He says that nationally, most restaurants average 6% annual profits. In Washington, it's 1.9%. That's because Washington is one of the few states that requires servers be paid the full minimum wage, over and above tips. Most require a tip credit, where servers are garaunteed minimum wage, if they don't make that money in tips.
"Just in the dining room alone, 13% of overhead is minimum wage," says DeLaCombe, "With the tip credit it would give us 5% reduction. It would give us 5% on our bottom line."