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Minimum wage for fast food workers increases to $15 in WNY

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Posted at 7:06 PM, Jun 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-01 16:35:07-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The minimum wage for fast food workers in New York State is increasing to $15 starting on July 1. This is the last of a series of annual minimum wage increases that started in 2015 when minimum wage was only $9.75.

While this only affects chains that have 30 or more locations, the Co-owner of Anderson's Frozen Custard, Holly Anderson, says her chain has to stay in the wage game especially during a worker shortage.

“We’ve known about this for awhile which means it’s not a shock,” Anderson said. “We believe we’re competitive going to $15. We know that are our friends at Burger King, Arby’s, Chick-fil-a and all those are sticking with the 15.”

Anderson said the increase in minimum wage has impacted their menu prices. For example, the price of an ice cream cone has gone up about six percent each year.

“The community has to be aware of this,” Anderson said. “They may want their children, grandchildren, and friends to get the 15 dollars an hour, but they also have to know they have to pay the price when they go to buy anything."

To stay competitive, Picasso’s Pizza is offering $15.01 as a starting wage. Co-owner of the pizzeria, Marc Digiori, said people are noticing the sign they put outside the pizzeria.

“It is working. Unbelievably,” Digiori said. “One cent made a huge difference in people noticing us. It puts us in front of the public and hopefully they recognize us.”

Digiori said it’s hard dealing with an increase in minimum wage during a worker shortage.

"The traditional minimum wage is not competitive in today's market," Digiori said.

Anderson’s is also struggling to hire workers.

"We're grateful for our customers who are dealing with long lines and not enough staff to make it quicker,” Anderson said.