Pizza Today - September 2019 - 44

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Labor Pains

How operators can address rising labor costs
balance sheets, some operators speak
of "impossible" math that challenges
their long-term viability, while others
question if the restaurant game is one
still worth playing.
Fortunately, these wage hikes don't
appear overnight. Most legislation is
passed upwards of a year in advance,
which provides restaurant leadership
time to craft a plan - difficult and
contentious as that process might be -
that enables them to comply with the
law and pursue solvency. Here are eight
different steps restaurants might take:
#1: CHANGE THE MENU

U

p, up and away.
On July 1, 22 states and
cities across the U.S. raised
their minimum wages.
New Jersey's minimum wage soared
from $8.85 an hour to $10. Chicago
jumped from $12 to $13 and San
Francisco crashed through the $15
barrier with hourly base pay that now
sits at $15.59.
The summertime wage hikes
represent the latest wave of increases
sweeping the nation as income
inequality intensifies as a hot-button
topic.
And don't expect a respite. Last
February, for instance, new Illinois
Governor JB Pritzker signed legislation
making Illinois the first state in the
Midwest to phase in a $15 minimum
wage. Currently at $8.50, Illinois'
minimum wage will increase upwards
of $1 each January until hitting $15 on
New Year's Day 2025.
"States and municipalities are
saying [to the federal government]

4 4 / P I Z Z AT O D AY. C O M / S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 9

that if you're not going to act, then
we will," says Samantha Summers,
communications director for the
Employment Policies Institute, a nonprofit organization that focuses on
issues affecting entry-level employment.
The federal minimum wage has
sat at $7.25 for the last decade,
though the U.S. House approved
a bill, H.R. 582, in July that would
push the federal minimum to $15.
Though that legislation is unlikely to
reach a vote in the Senate, its House
passage underscores the accelerating
momentum for higher minimum
wages. (Of note, the National
Restaurant Association has voice strong
opposition to the bill and championed
"a common-sense approach to [the]
minimum wage.")
The wage hikes, of course, represent
an added concern for restaurant
operators already besieged by escalating
expenses related to municipal fees,
healthcare, real estate and more. With
labor costs already draining many

The most direct way to counter
rising costs is to charge more; yet,
raising menu prices is something many
operators loathe to do. Higher menu
prices or adding surcharges to delivery
orders or credit card transactions can
draw the ire of customers - and that
discontent can spread quickly in the
digital age.
Still, operators might pursue other
menu changes, such as removing items
that carry expensive ingredients or
those demanding additional prep time.
"Take a look at operational
complexity," suggests Danny Bendas,
managing partner with Synergy
Restaurant Consultants. "Do you have
a rightsized menu and are you limiting
the complexity and skill necessary to
execute that menu? That alone can save
dollars."
#2: CROSSTRAIN EMPLOYEES

The more versatile employees are,
the more a restaurant can optimize
its labor for maximum value. When
a dishwasher can also bus tables or a
bartender can play server or hostess,
operators can reassign employees and
optimize their workforce.
"If current employees can do more,
then they should be able to better


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Pizza Today - September 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pizza Today - September 2019

Pizza Today - September 2019
Commentary
Contributors
Expo Spotlight
@ Pizza Today
Conversation
Man on the Street
Tony’s Trending Recipe
Knead to Know
Destinations
Payment Options
Cheese Blends
Flatbread Pizza
Cauliflower Crust
Raising Wages
Pizza & Pasta Northeast Preview
The New Wave of American Pizza
Pizza Today on the Road: New York City Tour
Preferred Supplier
Pizza Today Yellow Pages
The Marketplace
Reader’s Resource
Mike’s Monthly Tip
Pizza Today - September 2019 - CT1
Pizza Today - September 2019 - CT2
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Pizza Today - September 2019
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Cover2
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Commentary
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 4
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 5
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 6
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 7
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Contributors
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 9
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Expo Spotlight
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 11
Pizza Today - September 2019 - @ Pizza Today
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 13
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Conversation
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 15
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Man on the Street
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 17
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Tony’s Trending Recipe
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 19
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Knead to Know
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 21
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 22
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 23
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Destinations
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 25
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Payment Options
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 27
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 28
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 29
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 30
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 31
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Cheese Blends
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 33
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 34
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 35
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Flatbread Pizza
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 37
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 38
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 39
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Cauliflower Crust
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 41
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 42
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 43
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Raising Wages
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 45
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 46
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 47
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Pizza & Pasta Northeast Preview
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 49
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 50
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 51
Pizza Today - September 2019 - The New Wave of American Pizza
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 53
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 54
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 55
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Pizza Today on the Road: New York City Tour
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 57
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 58
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 59
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 60
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 61
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 62
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 63
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 64
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 65
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 66
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 67
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Preferred Supplier
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 69
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 70
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 71
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Pizza Today Yellow Pages
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 73
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 74
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 75
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 76
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 77
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 78
Pizza Today - September 2019 - The Marketplace
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 80
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 81
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 82
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 83
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 84
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 85
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 86
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 87
Pizza Today - September 2019 - 88
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Reader’s Resource
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Mike’s Monthly Tip
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Cover3
Pizza Today - September 2019 - Cover4
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