Ohio’s Youngstown (WKBN) This year, a constitutional amendment that would alter the pay scale for certain restaurant employees will be put to a vote in Ohio.
In an attempt to get the change on the ballot, a group is gathering signatures. An independent organization seeks to compel Ohio to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour and do away with the tip.
According to Nick Liakaris of The Mocha House, “I know my people would be pretty upset about it if it would affect their tips.”
At a roundtable held by the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber on Monday, a few restaurant owners in the area were informed about the amendment. The fight against it is being led by the Ohio Restaurant Association.
The National Restaurant Association reports that the average hourly wage for tipped workers is between $19 and $41, which is significantly more than the $15 minimum wage. The national average for tipped employees is $27 per hour.
“It’s okay to pay a food server that wages, but there will be an overall consequence. You’re going to have to shell out $25 for a restaurant burger,” Mark Canzonetta, owner of Wahaka Taco and Bistro 1907, remarked.
It is already the employer’s responsibility to ensure that a tipped worker is receiving the minimum wage from the tips they report. Operators of restaurants believe that simply increasing the minimum could detract from the dining experience.
According to Tod Bowen of the Ohio Restaurant Association, “I think you would start seeing less full service in restaurants and more kind of food runners and others, as opposed to the traditional servers, tipped workers, and bartenders.”
According to the Restaurant Association, the state economy benefits $2 for every dollar spent at a restaurant. The group that generates the second-highest number of jobs in the state may undergo significant change if the tipped pay is forced to be eliminated.
Canzonetta predicted that “you’ll see, only the chains will be able to survive versus the small, independent restaurant owner.”
According to Liakaris, “I think they would be disappointed if they did away with it because there are people who always earn above and beyond the minimum wage for a restaurant employee.”
A Massachusetts-based special interest organization is called One Fair Wage.