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Statewide minimum wage hikes causing restaurants to make adjustments

Posted at 6:23 PM, May 21, 2019

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A restaurant report released by the hospitality group Harri is looking at how the hike in minimum wage is impacting restaurants and their workers.

Over the next few years the minimum wage will climb to $15 an hour in New York — that’s for people who do not receive tips.

For tipped workers in restaurants, they are seeing hikes, but just not as sharp as those who are working in fast food joints.

Two thirds of companies cut employee hours.

More than 40% eliminate jobs and about 75% raised prices according to the survey.

Those changed are hitting restaurants closer to home.

7EWN talked with Chef Kujo Kumro at Betty’s off Virginia street in Buffalo.

They say fast food restaurants are offering people more money for less-intensive work.

By the end of this year a fast food worker will make $13.75/hr while someone working for tips will only see a few cents increase to $7.85.

Owner of Betty’s Arber Sopi says prices have increased across their menu — but he’s worried customers will take that out of the tips for his servers.

“The prices will go up and people won’t be tipping like they used to,” he said.

Chef Kujo says they have already started to see the effects of the wage hikes from customers.

“We did just recently get a review where they said the prices were a tad high.”

But they say the integrity of the kitchen will always be the first priority at Betty’s.

“If we have to raise the prices because we have to keep our morals in the kitchen….we could easily buy products that are already pre-made and use them, but it’s just — that’s not what we believe in,” said Kumro.

Betty’s is a restaurant that specializes in made-from-scratch items. Chef Kujo is vegan and has worked extensively to have one of the most expansive vegan offerings on their menu since becoming head chef two years ago.

See menus here.