The Easiest Way to Raise PA Restaurant Wages

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Pulled from this longer post from 10 minutes ago, in case you didn’t feel like reading to the bottom:

One huge factor I was surprised to see the Behind the Kitchen Door report miss about Philadelphia’s restaurant industry labor market is that the County Quota system hurts restaurant profits, and thus wages. As any waitress will tell you, drinks are a huge tip generator, and more generally provide restaurants with a higher profit margin than what they can make only selling food. In restaurants in normal states, the concept of booze cross-subsidizing the food is core to the restaurant business model. A Philadelphia restaurant market where any restaurant can sell alcohol is a market where servers, kitchen staff, and owners make higher wages. The stupid state law limiting liquor licenses to 1 per 3000 people per County is pointlessly holding down restaurant wages.

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3 Responses to The Easiest Way to Raise PA Restaurant Wages

  1. Brian Victory says:

    Or, I suppose the state could just raise the base wages for tipped employees.

    I may be mistaken but I believe tipped employees should expect a certain respect and dignity in their work and one appreciation of that is a family-sustaining wage. The pay-for-performance model of remuneration, while fashionable with libertarian-leaning folks, translates poorly to restaurant workers.

    State-wide, tipped employees earn little over the poverty line, are substantially female, and have families to support. Where is our moral center to think that their economic well-being is the afterthought to a meal that many of them cannot afford in the place of their employment.

    The idea that if one works full time, one shouldn’t be poor is a radical idea in these political time but it might also be an idea whose time has come.

    • Jon says:

      How much employers can afford to pay workers depends on their profit margins. If you want higher minimum wages for tipped workers, we need to end the Count Quota System first to increase the pool of money available to pay out the higher wages.

    • Jon says:

      The other good thing about this plan is that it’s creating profits basically out of thin air. The only cost is the regulatory rents currently accruing to tavern license holders. We’d have to find a way to buy them out, or just liquidate them if they don’t want to deal, but that’s really all that’s holding back higher wages.