Wage hike means you'll pay more when you eat out

Posted at 12:23 PM, Feb 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 12:38:12-05

If you noticed prices at your favorite restaurant are a little more than they were this time last year you're not alone.

"We've seen a lot of price increases so far," Greg Lindberg from the U.S. Small Business Administration said. "The other thing we're seeing is a decrease in tips and things like that because of the increase in the server minimum wage. So, those folks who were used to getting larger tips are now getting a larger paycheck but less in their pocket when they leave every night."

At Glen Park Tavern in Williamsville owners have eliminated what used to come with dinner.

"What we did end up doing is taking away the option of getting a salad at least with your meal," owner Ellie Grenauer said. "So that's extra to get a salad with your meal. We had to do it because we have to somehow make up for that increase."

That's why local restaurant owners met today at Pettibones Grille downtown to talk strategy and what they can do to make sure customers keep eating out while they keep prices down.

This year in New York State minimum wage for tipped restaurant workers went from $5.00 an hour to $7.50 an hour.

Although it sounds like this would benefit the server restaurant owners are skeptical.

"I was looking at my credit card reports and I find out that some of the tips are going down a little bit."

Some servers say they haven't noticed any difference in tips.

Grenauer says it's a slippery slope because if wages are increased again the whole tipping model could be a thing of the past, that she says would significantly drop the pay for waiters and waitresses.

Glen Park Tavern hasn't had any significant increases on the menu and say as a business they're doing fine now, but some restaurants are struggling.

But how about you? Have you noticed a change in prices?