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Some New Yorkers aren't happy that $15 minimum wage has increased food prices


'Basically, the prices will have gone up at every restaurant in New York'

Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Some New Yorkers are displeased with one of the more predictable outcomes of a $15 minimum wage—restaurants all over the city are raising their prices, according to the New York Post.

The city's minimum wage went up to $15 from $13 or $13.50 at the beginning of 2019, boosting the paychecks for numerous lower-wage workers.

Those who rely on restaurants regularly for their daily lunches, however, aren't as happy.

"It's obnoxious—kind of a slap in the face," Starbucks patron Edward Beck told the Post. "Another increase, and I won't come back."

What's going on?

Restaurants are raising prices to adjust for the higher salaries they must pay workers. But, they're increasingly worried about discouraging customers with too-high prices.

"[Restaurants] feel they're getting to a point where the customer might reject the higher prices, choose a different way to eat out, or eat their own food," said Melissa Fleischut, president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association.

Making matters worse, the minor increases NYC restaurants are implementing aren't totally making up for the higher minimum wage. Jon Bloostein, founder of a Manhattan chain restaurant, said there need to be more changes by businesses to afford the raise—but they were given very little time to adjust.

"It's too much too fast, said Jeremy Merrin, founder of the Havana Central restaurant in Times Square. "The shock of raising [the wage] at that rate in that short time—you just can't catch your breath."

As Jazz Shaw wrote for Hot Air, this was all painfully predictable:

"None of this required an Ouija Board to figure out. If the government artificially drives up labor costs, the restaurants (who always operate on very thin margins) were going to have to make up for that surge in costs someplace. They could either fire some of the staff, reduce the hours they work, or raise prices. Usually, it was going to be some combination of all of them. But you can only operate a business with a skeleton crew for so long."
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