Menu prices are up 21 percent and you don't have to tip at Ivar's Salmon House on Seattle's Lake Union after the restaurant decided to institute the city's $15-an-hour minimum wage two years ahead of schedule.Intriguing, that you don't have to tip. And why would you when the wait staff earns more than you do, with; wages for a few of the best compensated approaching $80,000 a year. Possibly because Ivar's isn't your typical restaurant that competes on taste and price;
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.
Looking out the broad windows of the dining room across Lake Union, diners can take in pleasure boats and kayaks cruising by, seaplanes landing, the Space Needle — and across the water, the ever-growing Amazon campus that has brought tens of thousands of workers to the city in the past few years.But even with the superlative views, the restaurant has had to compensate for the higher labor costs;
In the restaurant industry, where many low-wage workers are employed, adapting could mean pooling tips among all workers, cutting shifts or relying on technology — such as cellphone applications that let customers pay electronically, rather than having someone dedicated to running the cash register.That last, which we've bolded, is right out of an economics textbook; at higher prices, caeteris paribus, less is demanded. So for the Mayor's rose colored glasses;
"To the extent that we can look at macro patterns, we're not seeing a problem," Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said.He might try looking at the micro. And thinking...a little.