Letter to the Editor: If Restaurants Need to Lower Minimum Wages to Stay in Business, Maybe They Shouldn’t Be in Business

Published : Thursday, October 3, 2019 | 11:13 AM

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to the October 2 article – “Eight is Enough as Chamber of Commerce Sounds Alarm on Restaurant Closures.”

In the article, Paul Little [President and CEO of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce] and Gregg Smith  [co-owner of Smith Brothers Restaurants] mention there are many costs to running a restaurant, among them rent, food, labor, and sales taxes.

Frankly, the cost increases for the minimum wage and sales taxes are the same for all restaurants in Pasadena regardless of size or menu. It’s a level playing field. Costs that vary between restaurants are rents, based on restaurant size and location, and food, based on menu variety and quality. These cost variances can make the playing field relatively bumpy.

Owning and operating a restaurant is a very competitive business in a market like Pasadena. There are many success factors like marketing savvy and providing great value. Perhaps the Chamber of Commerce and restaurateurs should perform some self-assessment of these business failures in those areas or look at cost increases that come from their landlords and food providers.

If businesses need to pay a lower minimum wage to stay in business, maybe they shouldn’t be in business.


Ed Washatka
Pasadenans Organizing for Progress (POP!)

POP! led the community coalition to raise the minimum wage in Pasadena






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