Minimum Wage Increase Makes Business Owners Cut Back in the Tri-Cities - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Minimum Wage Increase Makes Business Owners Cut Back in the Tri-Cities

Posted: Updated:

KENNEWICK, Wash.-- Sticking to the budget, is the strategy staff at the Country Gentleman Restaurant in Kennewick, have decided to take.  

The new year kicks off and the minimum wage goes up in Washington, from $8.07 to $8.55. It's a 48 cent increase costing thousands of dollars for business owners.

"Not only with that but with the increase of 10% in food cost, inevitably it's going to cause an increase in food sales," said Laura Smith, in charge of Catering Sales at the Country Gentleman.

For the restaurant it also means layoffs.

"I would say approximately four to five people have been laid off temporarily," said Smith.

For the customers it means higher prices.

"Inevitably prices will be going up," said Smith.

Also in Kennewick, one fast food restaurant says they're looking at changes.

"Most of the conversations have dealt with how we're going to administer this in a timely fashion and make sure that all our employees are adjusted at the right time," Kim Dexter, Regional Director at Sonic.

At Sonic, Dexter says many of their workers already make more than the minimum wage.

"It will be an adjustment, it won't be quite as large an adjustment as the majority of the people out there who are at the minimum wage right now," said Dexter.

Sonic doesn't anticipate any layoffs but they will be controlling costs in other areas.

"Whether it's spending a little less money on supplies, or other things, buying at better pricing on our food and things like that," said Dexter.