NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – The state minimum wage is $9 an hour. But it’s only $3 an hour for employees who collect tips.
Seven states have gotten rid of the tipped wage. They instead, are paying employees at least the regular minimum wage, before tips.
It’s a proposal that O’Brian Tomalin, the owner of the Sierra Grill in Northampton says would hurt business.
“I think it would put some people out of business to have to increase that wage. It’s significant. For instance, last night, my labor cost would have gone from 35% of a decent but slow Tuesday to probably 60% labor where all of a sudden the money coming in wouldn’t cut it.”
If a business had to pay a server minimum wage, their labor costs would increase, which means the business would have to recoup that money somehow. In many cases, they would raise the price that you’d pay on the menu.
We asked people if they’d be willing to pay more knowing they wouldn’t be expected to tip.
“I they are good waitresses then they deserve big tips if they do good service so I think just leave it alone,” said Patrick Daley of Northampton.”
People told 22News tips can be a motivator for servers. They say good service should be rewarded. One server told 22News she thinks tips are a good thing.
“I’ve gotten people who come in and tip really well, over 20% and I’ve got people who come in and don’t tip at all. It really depends on the day and the person so I think it should be up to the customers,” said Jamie Yau of Florence.
Some restaurant owners told 22News going from $3 to $9 in hour would cripple an industry already struggling to keep up with the rising cost of utilities.