Local businesses making adjustments following minimum wage increase

4 hours ago

Posted: January 2, 2023 5:47 PM

SPOKANE, Wash. — Minimum wage workers will see more money on their paychecks this year.

A new year brings the minimum wage up to $15.74 an hour in Washington, an eight-percent increase.

Some businesses say they can’t keep up with that increase without making some adjustments. Local businesses are switching up operations and figuring out ways to work more efficiently to keep up with the increase. At some places, customers can also expect to pay more when dining out.

As the new year kicks off, employers now have to fork over more money to minimum-wage workers.

Uncle Rusty’s Diner couldn’t swallow the eight percent increase, so customers are already seeing new prices on the menu.

“[We increased prices by a] quarter, $50 cents on some items,” Brian Northcraft, co-owner of Uncle Rusty’s Diner Drinks, said. “[It] went up I believe about a quarter each. Then some of the foods went up $50 cents.”

Minimum wager is now up to $15.74 in WA. I’m talking to businesses about the impacts. Uncle Rusty’s Diner says it’s already raised some prices on the menu. pic.twitter.com/cpTBWti0Mc

— Vanessa Perez (@VanessaKXLY4) January 2, 2023

Northcraft said he knows it may stop some people from coming in for a while.

“Maybe they can’t afford it, it’s not in their budget,” Northcraft said. “Any increase for some people is a big increase for some of our customers. We have a lot of older customers on [a] fixed-income.”

But as the bacon sizzles, he knows they can work around it.

“It’s not an all-around bad thing,” Northcraft said. “It’s alright. We’ll make it through it, but we just have to tighten our belts. We’re going to have to edit our menu to see what doesn’t sell — make some changes [to] our menu.”

First Avenue Coffee is also feeling the pinch.

“Not that our quality is ever going to change or the product itself is going to ever change, but more just in operations, becoming efficient at what we do and in turn be able to stay in business and be a flourishing business,” Jake Fassbinder of First Avenue Coffee said.

Fassbinder says the coffee shop is preventing hanging the cost off to customers. It’s trying to bring more customers in the door and encourage people to keep their dollar local.

“We need to support local businesses [and] small businesses now more than ever,” Fassbinder said.

The minimum wage increase isn’t the only aspect kicking this year,

Employers also may have to provide overtime, and paid sick leave to some employees who weren’t considered exempt before. In other cases, employers may need to increase salaries for exempt employees.

According to the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, the change affects executive, administrative, and professional (EAP) workers as well as outside salespeople and computer professionals across all industries in Washington.

READ: ‘It’s just part of life’: Minimum wager up to $15.74 an hour in Washington in 2023