Not all Seattle-based restaurants have the option of increasing menu prices to deal with the added costs of the $15 minimum wage law. For many businesses, asking customers to pay more for a certain dish is impractical— and a bowl of pho is one such dish, according to the Seattle Times,
“Some restaurants might respond by adding service fees and increasing menu prices. Ivar’s recently announced plans to end tipping and pay all employees $15 an hour.
“A seafood mainstay can do that. Pho is different. It exists to be large, tasty and cheap.
“Quynh-Vy Pham’s family owns four Pho Bac restaurants in the city. Her parents opened the original shop at the corner of South Jackson Street and Rainier Avenue South in 1982.
“Pham says they will hold on to current prices — $7.75 for a small bowl, according to the restaurant’s website — as long as possible. Like so many others pho proprietors, their restaurant is not designed to be an Ethan Stowell or Tom Douglas establishment where customers expect to pay premium prices.”
Instead, owners like Pham’s family must consider other options—options that hurt employment. Pham’s family is “considering scaling down employment, possibly ending sit-down service and transitioning to a ‘fast-casual’ concept to cut down on labor costs.”
Thus far, Seattle city officials—including Mayor Ed Murray—have failed to deal with the consequences of the $15 minimum wage law on minority owned businesses. The Seattle Times,
“As Murray’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee formed the new rules last year, it largely ignored the concerns of an ethnic coalition of business owners.
“Taylor Hoang, owner of five Pho Cyclo Cafe restaurants, says the coalition requested a training wage or an exemption for microbusinesses with fewer than 10 employees.
“They got nothing.”
Meanwhile, the fallout of Seattle’s $15 minimum wage experiment continues.