Well, it's still too soon to tell, obviously, but Ivar's Salmon House in Seattle seems to be handling it just fine.
As Washington, D.C., and other cities consider following Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles in phasing in a $15-an-hour minimum wage, Ivar's approach, adopted in April, offers lessons in how some businesses might adapt. Ivar's Seafood Restaurants President Bob Donegan decided to raise prices, tell customers that they don't need to tip and parcel the added revenue among the hourly staff.
For some of the restaurant's lesser-paid workers - including bussers and dishwashers - that's meant as much as 60 percent more. Revenue has soared, supportive customers are leaving additional tips even though they don't need to, and servers and bartenders are on pace to increase their annual pay by thousands, with wages for a few of the best compensated approaching $80,000 a year.
It is staff, not diners, who feel the real difference, with wages as much as 60 percent higher than before. One waitress is saving for accounting classes and finding it easier to take weekend vacations, while another server is using the added pay to cover increased rent.
"It's been a surprise," Donegan said. "The customers seem to like it, the employees seem to like it, and it seems to be working, at least in this location."
Rochelle Hann, 25, is a second-generation worker at Ivar's. Like her mom, she has performed a variety of roles, including serving, bookkeeping and even dressing up as a giant clam. If she keeps working 30 hours a week, her annual pay will jump about $12,000 - money she's socking away for accounting classes at a community college.
Weird...it'a almost as if the economy is improving and becoming (gasp!) not quite as hierarchical in nature. Speaking of adding customers, look who else has had to add more staff.
Could we see a return to the golden age of capitalism?:)