Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Pho soup nazi favors ethnic restaurant cleansing in Seattle

No, not an episode of Seinfeld (itself based on a real-life restaurant), but just another consequence of the intellectual fashion police in Ed Murray's city by the Sound. Pho soup is a staple of that city's numerous Vietnamese (refugees from Communism!) restaurants. Many of which may not be able to survive Seattle's new $15/hour minimum wage law.
Pho is best experienced fresh, in a dining room that’s synonymous with the small immigrant-run family business. That means an auntie cooks, and the server or dishwasher is often the owner’s kid or nephew.
Currently, four Pho Bac restaurants sell a small bowl of their specialty for $7.75, because, according to the owner;
“It’s hard for people to pay $15 for a ‘to pho,’ ” [Quynh-Vy] Pham says, referring to the Vietnamese translation of a bowl of soup. “The culture of Vietnamese restaurants means we have to be price aggressive.”
I.e., to retain their customer base they have to provide an affordable meal. It's a price-elastic good, meaning demand is responsive to changes in its price. As another Seattle restaurant owner explained to the Seattle Times;
To reduce expenses, [Taylor] Hoang is considering making their meatballs in-house using machinery rather than the handcrafted meatballs they commission from a local producer. Same goes for the tofu and hand-sliced rare steak.
“There are different ways we can cut our costs. At the same time, that’s going to trickle down to supporting businesses,” she says.
Or, as Shakespeare might have put it, the true price will out. Maybe Seattle's Mayor is just bad at economics? Well, he was warned;
As Murray’s Income Inequality Advisory Committee formed the new rules last year, it largely ignored the concerns of an ethnic coalition of business owners.
Taylor Hoang, owner of five Pho Cyclo Cafe restaurants, says the coalition requested a training wage or an exemption for microbusinesses with fewer than 10 employees.
They got nothing.
 No soup for your customers!

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