“This was predicted by just about everyone with the most basic understanding of economics.”
Source: New York Post
Big Apple restaurants are feeling the heat from minimum wage hikes, cutting staff hours and even closing kitchens as they struggle to shoulder the extra payroll costs.
Gabriela’s Restaurant and Tequila Bar, a margarita and taco staple on the Upper West Side for the past 25 years, is closing at the end of September — and it has been a long, painful road downhill, according to its mom-and-pop owners.
Since the $15-an-hour minimum wage hit New York City in December, Liz and Nat Milner say, they’ve been forced to slash their full- and part-time staff to 45 people from 60. Quality has suffered, they admit, and customers have noticed: They’re not coming in like they used to, and when they do, they’re spending less.
“We started by having to let go of the ladies who hand-made our tortillas. It’s certainly better when you can make your tortillas fresh for every taco,” Nat Milner said. “It made sense at $8 an hour but not at $15.”
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Gabriela’s was then forced to lay off “two overnight cleaners, a whole level of middle management, the general manager, the extra servers we’d keep on in case it got busy — and then we started cutting hours.”
“I’m not against people making more money,” Milner added. “These people have worked for me for 20 years. But taxes, groceries, everything is going up and people have a little less money to spend on guacamole and tequila.”
Gabriela’s isn’t alone. In a survey of 324 full-service restaurants, the New York City Hospitality Alliance found that 76.5 percent of respondents cut staff hours and 36.3 percent eliminated jobs, including whole layers of middle management, in response to mandated wage increases.