Raising the minimum wage has real consequences for businesses and employees

Unions and activists say the costs of minimum wage hikes are negligible. But the real faces of $15—and of other dramatic hikes in the minimum wage—are the employers who struggle to offset those costs. As these stories show, their actions often mean fewer opportunities for the employees these laws are meant to help.

Affected Businesses

  • 5 Thread Factory

    Contract apparel manufacturer 5 Thread Factory, whose garments include shirts for men and women, mountain-bike gear and other products, has outgrown its two floors of space in a gritty downtown…

    Los Angeles, CA

  • Abbot’s Cellar

    “One of San Francisco’s most-buzzed-about new Mission restaurants is closing its doors at the end of the month, citing the impending minimum-wage hike as its death knell.”

    San Francisco, CA

  • Apparel Manufacturer

    This family-run business that contracts to make clothing for a company in San Francisco had to slash staff after Oakland’s minimum wage increased. It used to be the owner and her…

    Oakland, CA

  • Ashley Furniture

    Ashley Furniture announced in August that it will close its production and warehouse facility in Colton, California, in October. The location employed 840 people, who will be laid off. Production…

    Colton, CA

  • Betty’s

    “Betty’s is a long-established neighborhood favorite on Virginia Street in Buffalo. In anticipation of the new wage law, it has increased prices by between 50 cents and $1.50 per item,…

    Buffalo, NY

  • Black Oak Books

    “Black Oak Books, the large independent store — once a fixture in North Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto and now in West Berkeley — will close its doors at the end of…

    Berkeley, CA

  • Bob and Ron’s Fish Fry

    Bob & Ron’s Fish Fry will be closing their Latham location at the end of this month. … As their fans and regular customers were saying their sweet goodbyes, the main…

    Albany, NY

  • Bocanova

    The restaurant’s servers will no longer receive tips. “A note on the menu reads: ‘In lieu of gratuity, a 16% Lift Up Oakland Surcharge & 4% Service Charge will be…

    Oakland, CA

  • Boot and Shoe Service

    The owner raised prices by 16 percent at his three restaurants in Oakland, including Boot and Shoe Service and Pizzaiolo, which were on The Chronicle’s 2014 list of the Bay Area’s…

    Oakland, CA

  • By-Th’-Bucket Bar and Grill

    “When Santa Clara raised its minimum wage this year from $9 to $11, the owner of By the Bucket said he took a hit of over $75,000. Non-tipped workers already…

    Santa Clara, CA

  • Café Clem

    “Café Clem on Kittredge Street, has been reeling with the pressure of the minimum wage hike, as well as the increasing price of food. The café’s owner, Dorothée Mitrani-Bell, who…

    Berkeley, CA

  • Cafe Flore

    The Castro’s iconic Cafe Flore, a popular LGBT hangout for the past four decades, is for sale. … Unlike the sale of many other local businesses, the owners were not prompted…

    San Francisco, CA

  • California Composites

    “California’s $15 minimum wage does not go into effect until 2022, but one Santa Fe Springs-based manufacturing company has already decided to leave the state this year to take advantage…

    Paramount, CA

  • California Health Institute

    In a letter to the New York Times, the owner wrote: “I will be moving my two companies out of Los Angeles when the lease is due to renew. I’ve…

    Los Angeles, CA

  • Camino

    Other restaurants, such as Homestead, Dopo, Camino in Oakland, and Comal in Berkeley, have used this wage increase to re-format their entire wage structure. All four have eliminated tipping and have incorporated the…

    Oakland, CA

  • Cantina 1910

    “Unfortunately the rapidly changing labor market for the hospitality industry has resulted in immediate, substantial increases in payroll expenses that we could not absorb through price increases. In the last…

    Chicago, IL

  • Cascade Designs

    The company said it needs to expand, but doing so in the Seattle area is too expensive. The main reason is increasingly expensive real estate, especially for the space it…

    Seattle, WA

  • Citizen’s Band and Pinkie’s Bakery

    “Another one bites the dust in San Francisco,” said pastry chef Cheryl Storms, who owned the sister businesses — one a restaurant, the other a pastry shop — with partner…

    San Francisco, CA

  • Clarion Hotel

    “The 215-room Clarion Hotel closed its full-service restaurant in December, laying off 15 people, said general manager Perry Wall. The hotel also let go a night desk clerk and maintenance…

    SeaTac, WA

  • Competitive Edge Research & Communications

    “We’re moving the call center to El Paso because California has become inhospitable to (telephone) interviewing jobs,” Nienstedt said. “Rather than moving it offshore, I wanted to move my call…

    San Diego, CA

  • Del’Rio Diner

    Diner co-owner Larry Georgeton was not shy about placing blame for his restaurant’s demise: “The minimum wage, that’s what broke the camel’s back.  It killed us.”  He said that to stay…

    Brooklyn, NY

  • Digger’s Deli

    Community favorite Digger’s Deli is what owner Gigi Warshawsky and her husband call “Our American Dream.”  Now, she says “raising minimum wage might put us out of business.”  The deli…

    Vacaville, CA

  • Ebbett’s Good to Go

    Ebbett’s owners Suzanne Schafer & Shari Washburn recently alerted us that she had sold her food truck that has been in operation since 2009. Ebbett’s has been a fixture of…

    Oakland, CA

  • Farley’s on 65th

    “After Emeryville’s wage increase, Hillyard said he had to increase the price of menu items by 5 percent to 20 percent. A roasted turkey and avocado sandwich that once cost…

    Emeryville, CA

  • Flora

    “Owners of Flora, an up-scale restaurant on Telegraph Ave. and 19th St., have cut back on employee perks to cover increased payroll costs [associated with Oakland’s new $12.25 minimum wage.]” “[Co-owner]…

    Oakland, CA

  • Holiday Inn Los Angeles Gateway

    “Because of [Los Angeles’s minimum wage] increase, Julie Robey, a general manager at the Holiday Inn Los Angeles Gateway, south of downtown, said she had to lay off seven employees,…

    Torrance, CA

  • Icon Grill

    Many in the local restaurant industry say the next few weeks and months will give them a better idea of the real impact under the new law. Some bosses have…

    Seattle, WA

  • Ivar’s Salmon House

    Ivar’s Salmon House will no longer encourage tipping and will raise the price of all menu items by 21%.

    Seattle, WA

  • Jax Cafe

    Jax Cafe may be a 1930s landmark–but only for six days a week since the recent minimum wage hikes in Minnesota.  Owner Bill Kozlak declared that, “as a direct result…

    Minneapolis, MN

  • La Belle Vie

    La Belle Vie, the most important restaurant in Minneapolis, is closing. Last day: Oct. 24, one day shy of their 10-year anniversary at the current Minneapolis location…. [The] restaurant has been…

    Minneapolis, MN

  • Lake Chad Cafe

    “Higher minimum wage also comes with some labor burden,” acknowledged Felix Ngoussou, who owns the Lake Chad Cafe in Seattle’s Central District. Ngoussou was speaking at a Seattle I-1433 campaign…

    Seattle, WA

  • Lanesplitter Pizza

    “[S]ince April, along with newly printed menus, every table sports a laminated card explaining just what a “living wage pizza” means. …[S]ome have recoiled from paying $30 or more for a…

    Oakland, CA

  • Legendary Palace

    “[F]our restaurants and six grocery stores in and around Chinatown have already shuttered since January, at least partly for fear that the wage increase was going to put them over…

    Oakland, CA

  • Longway’s Diner

    This Diner on Route 342 has been an institution for truckers on the East Coast since 1966, but the popular New York spot will no longer be open 24/7. Owner…

    Watertown, NY

  • Luna Park

    Luna Park, the upscale restaurant on San Francisco’s Valencia Street, has closed its doors, with the owner saying, “[S]ince the minimum wage went up to $12.25 in May, it really wasn’t…

    San Francisco, CA

  • MasterPark

    “[T]he company posted that it had raised the wages of all employees, resulting in a 63 percent cost of labor increase, or $1.4 million a year. To absorb this, the…

    SeaTac, WA

  • Match Analysis

    Match Analysis, an Emeryville business with around 35 local staff, collects data on soccer matches, which it sells globally alongside analytical software. … the higher minimum wage has forced the firm…

    Emeryville, CA

  • McDonald’s

    A new McDonald’s on Sutter Street in San Francisco uses touch-screen kiosks rather than entry-level employees to take customer orders.  San Francisco’s minimum wage increased to $12.25 an hour in…

    San Francisco

  • McGirk’s Irish Pub

    The recent pay hike for minimum wage earners in New York has caused a decrease in the number of staff per shift at McGirk’s Irish Pub. Restaurant owner Tim Ward…

    Binghamton

  • Medici House

    “Medici House shut down this weekend. [Owner John Rooney] places the blame squarely on the state of New York. “I’ve got employees that have been working for me for 14 years, that we…

    East Aurora

  • Merit Medi-Trans

    Owner Joe Micele claims, “Adding to the financial problems has been the final straw of [California’s] minimum wage increases to $9 in 2014 and $10 this year. Other wage hikes…

    Chico

  • Mokka

    “We have decided not to renew our lease primarily as a result of the rising minimum wage in Berkeley. The increase from $10 in September 2015 to $12.53 this October,…

    Berkeley, CA

  • P.J. Clarke’s

    “P.J. Clarke’s…estimates that [New York’s minimum] wage hikes will cost it $200,000 per restaurant and that its prices will go up nearly 4 percent next year. At one of its…

    New York City, NY

  • Pann’s

    In spite of all the years, Pann’s will be undergoing some changes. As owner Jim Poulos told LAist, the restaurant is struggling to keep up with the new minimum wage…

    Los Angeles, CA

  • Peeve’s Public House

    “Even with the crowds, Scharton was forced to make changes last month when, along with other financial pressures, the minimum wage increased to $10…To compensate, the pub is now open…

    Fresno

  • Peppermill Restaurant

    “Chris Christanis owns the Peppermill Restaurant on Dewey Avenue. The recent [New York] minimum wage hike is like no increase he’s seen before.” “We shrank our own hours for the winter…

    Rochester

  • Piggy Pat’s BBQ

    “This year New York state raised the minimum wage for servers from $5 an hour to $7.50 an hour. … Add to this an increase of minimum wage from $8.75 to…

    New Hartford, NY

  • Pizzaiolo

    The owner raised prices by 16 percent at his three restaurants in Oakland, including Pizzaiolo and Boot and Shoe Service, which were on The Chronicle’s 2014 list of the Bay Area’s…

    Oakland, CA

  • Pizzetteria Brunetti

    “At Pizzetteria Brunetti, a restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village, owner Jason Brunetti said he would soon end overtime and cut employee hours. Delivery workers will have additional duties, such as…

    New York, NY

  • Quizno’s

    The owner’s of the Quizno’s Bear Creek location announced that, “after 11 years operating here, the store will be permanently closed as of Monday May 16th 2016. (Our last day…

    Central Point, OR

  • R-N Market

    “The R-N Market has been operating in south Hanford for 35 years. R-N’s store director Neng Lee attributed the closure to competition from other supermarkets, as well as the prospect…

    Hanford, CA

  • Reaching Beyond Care

    “Child-care assistant Eunice Medina, 23, was thrilled when Oakland’s minimum wage took effect in March. But almost as quickly, Medina’s workdays were cut and her hours shaved from eight to…

    Oakland, CA

  • rePlanet

    “California’s largest recycler rePlanet closed 191 recycling centers and laid off 278 employees throughout the State of California. Following the most recent reduction in State fees…coupled with the mandated rise…

    Ontario

  • Retrofit Home

    “[O]wner Jon Milazzo said… Retrofit will make hiring changes as scheduled [minimum wage] increases continue past 2016. ‘We wont offer part time jobs for students or entry level into our industry, you will…

    Seattle, WA

  • Roosevelt Tamale Parlor

    “The Roosevelt Tamale Parlor on 24th Street recently closed shop after more than 90 years of service — its owners blamed a climbing minimum wage and an exodus of blue-collar workers.”

    San Francisco, CA

  • Semifreddi’s Café

    Semifreddi’s Café on Claremont Avenue, a decades-long mainstay for cinnamon bread, baguettes, hot panini, coffee and hot chocolate, will shut its doors Sept. 30. Tom Frainier, Semifreddi’s president, said several factors led…

    Berkeley, CA

  • Sen Yai

    Noted Portland chef Andy Ricker told the Business Journal late last month that a bevy of factors — Oregon’s higher minimum wage and new sick leave laws among them —…

    Portland, OR

  • Source

    “Source, SoMa’s “multi-dimensional” vegetarian restaurant, has closed its doors, citing the skyrocketing costs of doing business in San Francisco as the nail in its coffin.”

    San Francisco, CA

  • Sterling’s Family Childcare

    The owner, Muriel Sterling, significantly reduced hours for her employees in response to the wage increase– they were coming in at 7:30 am, and now they come in at 10…

    Oakland, CA

  • Swiggs

    Owner Gina Jew told YourCentralValley.com that “an increase in neighborhood crime, along with the economy, and upcoming minimum wage hike is forcing them to close the doors on so many…

    Fresno, CA

  • Tamarind Tree

    [Owner Tam Nguyen] adds the new minimum-wage law prevents any future growth due to the increased costs of doing business. Being streamlined means cutting the number of employees from over 50 to…

    Seattle, WA

  • The Advocate

    The Advocate restaurant in Berkeley’s Elmwood neighborhood will close permanently on Thursday Oct. 27 after just over one year in business. …  “It’s a very challenging thing to run a restaurant in…

    Berkeley, CA

  • The Almost Perfect Bookstore

    Scott Singley, assistant manager of The Almost Perfect Bookstore in Roseville, didn’t mention the rise of electronic books as a reason for closing. Instead, he attributed the store’s upcoming closure…

    Roseville, CA

  • The Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery

    This franchise of the Tilted Kilt chain had to cut a manager and raise menu prices to offset the 50 percent increase in tipped minimum wage in New York. If…

    Watertown, NY

  • The Walrus and the Carpenter

    “Following Ivar’s lead, Renée Erickson is the next to cut tips from her restaurants since Seattle’s new Minimum Wage Ordinance went into effect April 1. Beginning Monday, May 4, The Walrus and…

    Seattle, WA

  • Tri Tipps

    Tri Tipps is closing at the end of the business day on Saturday, White said. … While White said he sold the restaurant to move on to other opportunities – including…

    Valencia, CA

  • Tropical Smoothie Café

    “Last year, Laura Jankowski raised pay for entry-level employees at her three Tropical Smoothie Café franchise locations on Long Island to comply with New York laws raising minimum pay for fast-food chains.…

    Long Island, NY

  • Walmart

    “…behind closed doors, Walmart officials were more frank about the reasons the company was [pulling out of plans to build two new supercenters in D.C.]…the company cited the District’s rising…

    Washington, DC

  • Wegmans

    Wegmans, a Mid-Atlantic supermarket chain with locations in Virginia and Maryland, has pulled out of the planned redevelopment in Washington. According to NBC4, “the city’s new $15 minimum wage law, proposed regulations…

    Washington, DC

  • Z Pizza

    In August, his boss is shutting down Z Pizza and putting him and his 11 co-workers out of work. … Ritu Shah Burnham doesn’t want to go out of business, but…

    Seattle, WA