Proposed Minimum Wage Increase

Restaurant Minimum Wage Increase 

Money by Junior Libby

The United States Federal Government is calling for an increase in the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00. This call has put the business world into a tailspin. Every employer of minimum wage workers are up in arms and yelling about the damage this proposed wage increase will do to an already fragile economy.

One of the largest employers in the minimum wage bracket is the restaurant industry. Seminars are being held on the affects of the wage increase, training sessions on cost cutting measures are being implemented and management are looking at staffing levels to see if they can cut staff in order to keep profits at pre increase levels.

Enough!!!! I am sick of this bullshit!!

Ok, a little strong but we here in the US have dug ourselves a huge hole and there is no way to climb out of it. Let’s look at a few facts.

The US has one of the lowest pay scales in the Western world.

You cannot live on $7.25 per hour. This is not a living wage.

Tips are the only way wait staff can survive financially.

The majority of food service staff don’t get tips. (Think fast food and back of house)

People complain that 47% of the population don’t pay tax, don’t contribute to the running of the country and are a burden on the rest who do pay tax. That is very true but here is the problem. If you pay a large percentage of the population a wage that is below poverty level then you cannot expect them to contribute to the country because they have nothing left at the end of the week to give to the tax man. Damn it, they can’t even feed their kids!

I have been lucky enough to work in several countries with differing attitudes to their workforce and from what I see; we treat our workers like crap.

There are many parts of the Western world where the minimum wage is close to $16.00 to $20.00 per hour for an adult full time worker, more on weekends and holidays and they get 4 weeks paid vacation per year. Part time workers get higher hourly rates than that and there are just as many successful restaurants and businesses as here in the US.  These countries also do not encourage tipping for restaurant staff because there is no need to and the menu price is what you pay, inclusive of tax, no tips allowed! The US and maybe a few others are the only countries that give prices without tax. The thing about a minimum wage that actually allows the recipient to live a reasonable life is the fact that everyone pays tax, yep everyone! Those same minimum wage people can also afford to frequent more restaurants and other businesses, spreading the wealth and contributing to the GDP. The other interesting thing about these countries is they fared better in the financial crisis than we did; in fact one did not even go into recession. Many economists agree that we have to adjust the federal minimum wage laws.

I am not saying that we throw out a system that has brought the country to a level of greatness that few can match but maybe it is time for a few changes that will lessen the poverty level for workers that put in a full work week and deserve better from the lucky country. Maybe we can learn from others and ensure that our system grows not only financially but socially as well.

As of this post the US house has voted down the proposed increase to the minimum wage. How can they look themselves in the eye every morning without becoming ill.

Taco Bell Pulls Ad For 2013 Superbowl

Taco Bell 2013 Superbowl Commercial Pulled Due To Complaints 

As I have said on a previous post, what is wrong with the QSR marketing people these days? If you read my rant you would know what I am talking about.

We all know that the Superbowl commercials are really expensive and the companies that can afford the millions per ad go all out to ensure their ads are memorable and they get their monies worth. This includes spending a lot more on production, talent and creative.

The point of the Superbowl ads are to be as hard hitting as possible and to elicit a response from the consumer. Hopefully that response is to go out and buy whatever product is being advertised. Some of the advertisers stretch the boundaries of good taste or get a little creative and ethereal but millions wait to see the end result the best ad makers the in the world can offer. No one can deny the power and depth of the Ram Trucks ad, the awwww factor of the Budweiser Clydesdale ad and the squirm in your seat Go Daddy offer.

There were a couple of ads that weren’t and the one that I am talking about is the Taco Bell Variety 12 pack ad. This ad shows someone arriving for a Super bowl party with a vegetable platter and the not so enthusiastic response along with a voice over stating that turning up for a Superbowl party with a veg platter is not really appreciated. You get the idea.

OMG how offensive can you get!! Angry veggie fans complained so much about  the ad that mocks vegetable eaters that Taco Bell made the decision not to air the ad and wasted enough money to feed a small town for a year. Why? Because the veg heads of the world decided that a commercial degrading vegetables should not go to air. The Center for Science in the Public Interest were the main culprits and no, I will not give you a link to their site because they don’t deserve it.

It’s the Superbowl! One of the few days a year when people relax, eat wings and other foods that are bad for you and watch a great game of football. What is wrong with that. There should be at least a few days a year that can be totally veg free. It is your choice to eat vegetables or not, not some quasi official organization that believes the American consumer is stupid and needs to be told what to eat, when and how much.

What You Eat Is Your Choice

Now don’t get all righteous on me, I fully understand that we have an obesity epidemic and a lot more can be done to educate people on healthy eating habits but it comes down to personal choice not the likes and dislikes of The Center for Science in the Public Interest or any other organization that thinks it’s point of view is the only one that should be listened to. As a protest I will refuse to eat vegetables for a week!! That is until the other quasi official organization that I am married to puts her foot down, lets me know what an idiot I am and tells me to shut up and eat my vegetables!

One other comment. Taco Bell, you need to grow a pair and stop listening to these minority interest groups.

Here is the offending ad.  Let’s hear your thoughts on this.

Food Trucks – A Growing Trend

Food Trucks are becoming the “In Thing” in many major cities, with the range and types of food available matching that of many restaurants world wide. Combine the choice of food with the ease of purchase and nominal price and you have a growing trend that should be around for many years to come.

Food trucks have been around for ever but were normally confined to the old favorites like hot dogs, burgers, and of course ice cream. Now, you can name any country in the world and there is probably a food truck selling one or more of their hand held delicacies from a small window in some city near you.

I still remember my first food truck experience.  It was three o’clock in the morning and I was feeling a bit under the weather. It probably had something to do with the large amount of beer, wine and spirits that I had consumed over the last several hours at a downtown pub in the heart of Adelaide, Australia.

I was still in my late teens and at the time was prone to do these sorts of things along with all of my friends. Luckily I have grown out of this habit.

There is a tradition in many Australian cities near the main drinking areas to have a food truck that specializes in pot pies, yep, pot pies!! Now the pot pies themselves are to be found in every deli and lunch place in the country, what makes these “pie carts” as they are called, different is what they add to the pot pies. Most of the pies are beef and gravy cocooned in a light fluffy pastry. When ordered from a pie cart they put in a bowl and cover it in green pea soup with a dollop of ketchup added to the top.

Are you still with me! Too much to drink, feeling woozy and looking at a meat pie covered in green pea soup and ketchup. This is a kill or cure hangover remedy!! Well actually it is a cure, cure remedy. If you eat it and manage to keep it down for more than ten minutes, you will feel better just because of the food in your stomach. If you eat it and lose it, you will feel better just because you have purged the booze from your system. Win, win.

If you happen to be in Adelaide, Australia late at night try The Pie Cart right outside the casino in the old railway station. You don’t have to have the pea soup! If you are in Sydney try Harry’s Café de Wheels in the theater district right next to China Town, both are worth a try.

More on food trucks and street food in my next blog.

Rod