Raising Restaurant Wages is Good for Everyone, According to Cornell

As fast food workers fight for $15 an hour and New York restaurateurs experiment with new pay models (mostly by eliminating tipping), there is more and more focus on the way we pay the people who feed us every day. The National Restaurant Association has consistently fought back against minimum wage increases, arguing that they will lead to price hikes and fewer new jobs in an industry with small profit margins for new comers. But a new study out of the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration argues otherwise.

The study looked at federal and state minimum wage increases from the past two decades to see if there was any connection with job loss or the number of new restaurants opening. As far as they could tell, the increases had no such effect, although they did improve employee retention and productivity. While one study may not be enough to predict the future of restaurant industry salaries, it is good news for owners, employees and patrons in the 20 states which will be raising their minimum wages in 2016.

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