Lake City Restaurant Says Minimum Wage Increase Could Impact Small Businesses

Minimum wage employees in Michigan are starting the New Year with some extra change in their paycheck.

Starting today, the minimum wage in Michigan is bumping up 20 cents, from $9.45 an hour to $9.65 an hour.

It’s an increase that Erica Potter, cook at Ash’s Coffee Cup in Lake City, says will help her pay her bills, “It’ll help me and my fiance, my daughter, we’re making ends meet as it is now, so it’ll be very nice to have it. Very nice.”

It’s part of a gradual increase to $12.05 an hour by 2030.

However, restaurant manager Leianna Bartholomew at Ash’s Coffee Cup says the increase could impact small business like theirs.

“I guess in corporate terms, yes they can afford to do that but with old mom and pop shops like we have, when you start inflating minimum wage, we have to start inflating our menu which also hurts our locals,” says Bartholomew.

Tipped employees will also get a small increase, continuing to make 38 percent of the standard minimum wage.

Angela Knuth, waitress at Ash’s Coffee Cup says, “People think we make minimum wage an hour, a lot of people don’t realize that we only make three something an hour, so we do live off of our tips.”

The legislation was decided in December of 2018 during a lame duck session, which kept minimum wage off this November’s general election ballot.

It’s an issue a lot of people still don’t agree on.

“Minimum wage for us isn’t such a big deal, but when you’re paying kitchen staff and increasing your pay, it hits you hard in the books,” says Bartholomew.

“I think it’ll be great, I don’t think it’s going to negativity effect anybody. I think it’s going to be great for everybody,” says Potter.