In April of this year, Seattle became one of the first American cities to implement a $15 minimum wage policy.
Though this may have been good news to workers (the ones who weren't laid off, that is), it's starting to rankle the people who will ultimately bear the financial burden for the move: customers.
One bartender told the story about how he didn't get a tip from a customer, but instead received this card:
Entitled, “Why I don't tip in Seattle,” the card provides what it calls a “free economics lesson” explaining how the cardholder chooses not to tip because of the increased costs he is incurring because of the new law.
Anthony Fetto told WTKR-TV how he felt about getting the card.
“It didn’t get me mad or anything, I was like wow, this is kinda silly like, y’know, tipping is a choice.”
Customers aren't the only ones who are cognizant of the impact of the minimum wage hike. Earlier this year, Anthony Anton, CEO of Washington Restaurant Association, told Seattle Magazine how the new law would affect eateries in the city:
"[Anton] estimates that a common budget breakdown among sustaining Seattle restaurants so far has been the following: 36 percent of funds are devoted to labor, 30 percent to food costs and 30 percent go to everything else (all other operational costs). The remaining 4 percent has been the profit margin, and as a result, in a $700,000 restaurant, he estimates that the average restauranteur in Seattle has been making $28,000 a year.
With the minimum wage spike, however, he says that if restaurant owners made no changes, the labor cost in quick service restaurants would rise to 42 percent and in full service restaurants to 47 percent."
Seattle restaurants have five years to phase in their $15 minimum wage plans. Those with 500 or more employees in the U.S. (like large dining chains) have only three years to get to $15.