If Paid Wages Are Taken Away, Restaurants In The Area Might Have To Close


One Fair Wage, a nonprofit group based in Massachusetts, is pushing for a change to the Ohio Constitution that could hurt the restaurant and hospitality business in the state. One Fair Wage is collecting signatures so that a suggested change to the Ohio Constitution can be put on the ballot in November. The amendment would raise the minimum pay for restaurant servers to $15 an hour quickly and get rid of the tip wage.

To put it simply, the change would say that restaurant owners have to pay their servers at least $15 an hour, and by January 1, 2029, tips would no longer be accepted at all.

On March 19, the Ohio Restaurant & Hospitality Alliance, Shores & Islands Ohio, Ottawa County Improvement Corporation, Erie County Chamber of Commerce, and Greater Sandusky Partnership held a meeting at Kalahari Resorts & Conventions to talk about the problem. Tod Bowen, who is the Managing Director of External Affairs and Government Relations for the Ohio Restaurant & Hospitality Alliance, talked about the problem of tipping wages in Ohio.

In Ohio, businesses can pay workers who get tips half of the minimum wage. This is known as a “tipped wage,” and getting rid of it would have an impact on customers, servers, and businesses.

Bowen said that the tipped wage in Ohio is already tied to inflation and that servers in Ohio make a lot more per hour than the $15 minimum that the proposed change would require.

“Most servers make $27 an hour, but some make as much as $41,” Bowen said.

Getting rid of the tipped wage would make it impossible for servers to make more money, and it might even force places to close. Many businesses already have trouble making ends meet because of rising costs for goods and running the business. Adding higher wages would make it impossible for them to stay open. In Port Clinton, where the hospitality business slows down a lot in the winter, that load would be felt very strongly.

Kim Fleenor, who has worked at Ala Carte Café for 34 years and is the office manager, said, “We would have to lay people off in the winter.” “Some of our employees have been here for years.” I’ve never thought about losing my job in the winter.

Bowen said that restaurants would have to find other ways to make money if the amendment passed. Some would raise the prices of their menus, some would cut the number of staff members they have, and some would add a service charge. All of these choices could keep people from coming in.

Fleenor said, “I think people will not go out to eat as often if the law is put into effect.” “Our winter customers would leave in droves, and we’d have to close in the winter.”

Barb Muller owns a number of businesses in the area. In Port Clinton, she runs The ‘Que Barbeque and Brew, Nagoya Hibachi Express, Ciao Bella, and The Sushi Room. In Perrysburg, she runs Basil Pizza and Wine Bar and Nagoya. About 250 computers work for her.

For Muller’s companies, getting rid of the tipped wage could be fatal.

“It has a direct effect on our business, our employees, and our customers.” “Under these new laws, I can’t see how anyone could survive,” Muller said. “Most importantly, this will have a direct effect on our staff.” A lot of our workers depend on this job to make a living. That’s how they feed their families.

Businesses that depend on restaurants will be hurt if people eat out less or they close down completely.

“We order from Gordon Food Service and Tank’s Meats. “This would hurt a lot of businesses,” Fleenor said.

One Fair Wage needs to get 414,000 signatures by July 3 so that the suggested amendment can be put on the ballot in November. That would make the Ohio Restaurant & Hospitality Alliance’s resistance to the plan even stronger. For now, they are telling people about how the changes might hurt the food business and people’s options for fun things to do.

“We are not going to stop until we win this fight,” Bowen said. “No business in Ohio should do this.”

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