Financial Post: Minimum wage hikes mean San Francisco restaurants can’t afford waiters, so they’ve put diners to work.
The small menu is so appealing and the place itself so charming that you almost forget, as a diner, that you have to do much of the work of dining out yourself. You scout your own table. You fetch and fill your own water glass. And if you’d like another glass of wine, you go back to the counter.
Soon, the restaurants will make you cook your own food. Hey, not everyone can afford the luxury of an Instant Pot at home!
On July 1, the minimum wage in San Francisco will hit US$15 an hour, following incremental raises from US$10.74 in 2014. The city also requires employers with at least 20 workers to pay health care costs beyond the mandates of the Affordable Care Act, in addition to paid sick leave and parental leave.
If customers won’t buy $20 burgers, or $25 dosas, and the staff in the kitchen can’t be cut, that something is service. “And that is what we did — we got rid of our servers,” Mitra said.
Higher minimum wage = more unemployed people. Also, San Francisco has the worst real estate market in North America. Many upscale restaurants can't get waiters for an average American wage.
A few blocks from the original Souvla, at celebrated modern French restaurant Jardinière, chef Traci Des Jardins said her labour costs, including taxes and health care, now eat up 43 per cent of her budget.
When she opened Jardinière in 1997, they were 27 per cent.