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Restaurant industry workers are concerned about the future of minimum wage

Posted at 10:53 PM, Jan 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-24 22:53:07-05

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Restaurant owners and those in the hospitality industry say they are not ready for President Joe Biden’s plan to raise the country’s minimum wage to $15 an hour ending tipped wages.

“If we have to pay our servers $15 and they are not making tips anymore, that’s going to hurt their pocket,” said Carmelo LaMotta, Owner of LaMotta’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant.

John Horne, Secretary and Treasurer for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association says losing tipped credit means servers, delivery drivers, and other important staff will lose money.

“They’re currently making 30 plus dollars an hour and that’s based on minimum wage less than the $15, or less than the current minimum wage, but if we lose that tipped credit, everyone will make $15 an hour. The servers and bartenders making 30 plus dollars an hour will now make 15,” said John Horne, Secretary and Treasurer for the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association.

Horne adds raising the minimum wage will increase prices and restaurants will start to lose customers.

“If I have to raise my prices to seniors that are on fixed incomes, they won’t be able to come in as often, and that’s going to affect our staff as well. If we don’t have the same number of people coming in we don’t need the same number of staff so everyone's hours will get cut,” said Horne.

Carmelo LaMotta, Owner of LaMotta’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant in Cape Coral says, financially this will hurt mom and pop businesses like his.

“If we’re paying our servers that much money what do I have to pay my cook, or my pizza guy, or my kitchen staff? You know are they going to be paid $30 to $40? So it’s going to have to be something we are going to look into to figure out how we are going to be able to run the restaurant,” said Carmelo LaMotta, Owner of LaMotta’s Pizzeria and Italian Restaurant

LaMotta adds he will have to make drastic changes to his business to try and keep his doors open

“We won't be able to stay open or if we do it’ll be self serve or, there will be no more servers. There won't be any more dishwashers, we’ll have to switch to paper plates and cans and bottles so everything is disposable. So again we won’t be a 5 star or 4-star restaurant but something smaller,” said LaMotta.

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