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Restaurants Respond to Unmasked Demand by Offering Higher Wages

Now that Dr. Fauci and the CDC say that vaccinated Americans can ditch masks and social distancing, restaurants can expect a surge in business. To handle that surge, restaurants will need more workers. Restaurants won’t get those workers through political posturing; they’ll get those workers by offering higher pay:

“Customers are coming back faster than restaurants can staff up,” said Josh Bivens, research director at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute. “By raising pay, they are able to get more workers in the door.”

In April, even as overall hiring slowed, a category that includes restaurants, hotels and entertainment venues hired more new workers than it did the previous month, a sign the extra pay is working.

McDonald’s on Thursday said it will raise pay for workers in its 650 company-owned stores to an average of $15 an hour by 2024. Entry-level employees will make $11 an hour. The company is urging its 14,000 franchised restaurants to make the same changes [Christopher Rugaber, “Desperate for Workers, US Restaurants and Stores Raise Pay,” AP, 2021.05.13].

If, like me, you think the Big Mac is one of America’s greatest inventions, then you’d better be willing to pay a fair wage to the patty-hustler building that brilliant invention for you. Eaters and restaurateurs alike have gotten by for too long thinking food-service staffers don’t deserve a living wage for helping us all be too lazy to cook. Now’s the time to change that thinking:

A cultural shift in the industry could help with recruiting, but it needs to start with more respect for the profession from the top down, and that includes better wages and benefits, said Matt Millar, chef and co-owner of The Southerner in Saugatuck.

“There are jobs that need to be done and not all of them are glamorous, but they are all worthy of a living wage,” he said. “I think we have to resign ourselves to the idea that we’ve failed low-wage workers for a long time. We need to start making some changes.”

…“To me there’s just this astonishing lack of empathy on behalf of so many people who have this way of thinking,” he said. “I’ll tell you what, if you think cleaning a bathroom isn’t worth $15 an hourthen go a week without it happening and tell me you still have that opinion” [Lindsay Moore, “‘We’ve Failed Low-Wage Workers’: Restaurant Owners Raise Pay in Wake of Labor Shortage,”, 2021.05.16].

Need workers? Offer the living wage that every person deserves.


  1. Jake 2021-05-17

    Wage slavery in a society is not too unlike people slavery. Along with it comes the feelings similar to racial superiority ideas that those who work for you “deserve” the minimum amount you can pay them simply because they work for you. Thus leaving more for you as the employer-(greed factor).
    Coupled with governments staffed with like-minded individuals (or worse) like our previous US administration-deification of the richest takes its further toll on the lower pay-scale.

  2. O 2021-05-17

    I hope food service workers have their vaccines. Especially here in “Freedom” Dakota, lifting of the mask requirements is not a guarantee of vaccinations of patrons. I predict plenty of unmasked, unvaccinated freedom-to-ignore-individual-responsibility folk out and about.

  3. cibvet 2021-05-17

    I believe all businesses could improve their bottom line by posting on the door that ALL their employees are vaccinated. Those of us who are vaccinated will have to put up with the liars and cheaters who are not, but there is some comfort knowing the people who serve you are safe to be around.

  4. O 2021-05-17

    cibvet, isn’t that business 101: business should do things that provide value to their customers?

  5. cibvet 2021-05-17

    O, it is business 101. I guess we’ll see if anyone in SD took the course. Many surely skipped science, civics, government, history and math.

  6. Mark Anderson 2021-05-17

    Come on Cory, you know the pubs, they like to keep their knee on workers necks, they are simply going to kill any unemployment benefit they can, because they know in their “minds” that’s what is causing people to not seek wage starvation jobs like working for two bucks an hour but, but with Tips. We simply need to tip the Republicans, the jig is up. No more racism, no more sexism, no more hatred toward gays, no more rising tide bull, its over old boys, were coming after the 1 percent and you. Someone should debate Marjorie T. Greene, it would be the slaughter of the century.

  7. grudznick 2021-05-17

    I’ll bite. Who is Marjorie T. Green? A libbie or one insaner than most?

  8. Edwin Arndt 2021-05-17

    Grudz, google Marjorie Taylor Green. You’ll be up half the night.

  9. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-05-17

    O, you’re right. We can only be thankful that science works and, in this case, produced what looks like a rock-solid vaccine that will keep us from getting really sick from or spreading the cooties the selfish knuckleheads around us prefer to ignore rather than fight.

    (Mark, debating Greene is a fool’s errand, because she does not seek debate, only noisy confrontation, just as the last guy did on stage against Clinton and Biden, and just as Noem does now against whatever enemies she can provoke or fabricate.)

  10. Jake 2021-05-18

    Cory, your last statement in parentheses, describes the basics of the current GOP-make noise, make up false claims, scream yell and stamp your feet about everything the other party wants to do for the good of the country at large but “stand 100% in opposition of everything Biden wants to do!”

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