‘We have to ask customers to pay more for the same thing:’ New minimum wage hike puts strain on Victoria brewpub

WatchMinimum wage is increasing across the province at the beginning of June. While the highly anticipated hike will help workers, for small business owners, the jump may be too much to bear. Aaron Guillen has the story.

A wave of relief.

That’s how one server says she’ll feel when the minimum wage goes up on June 1, 2019.

She’ll be making $12.70 an hour instead of $11.40.

“If you don’t get a tip, then it can impact you down the road,” says Gabrielle Beauchemin, a part-time server at Spinnakers Brewpub in Vic West.

“You have to take a lot less classes the more expensive things get in order to be able to afford working, living on your own, and being in school.”

While the hike helps the student, her boss is feeling the pinch.

“It’s a fascinating problem,” says Paul Hadfield, owner of the pub.

Hadfield says the increase will end up costing him an extra $50,000 dollars.

He says the servers are well paid, claiming most customers tip around 18 per cent.

Now, he may have to raise menu prices to balance the budget.

“Somehow we have to ask the consumers to pay more for the same thing,” says Hadfield.

While Spinnakers will stay afloat, other small businesses are paying the price in more ways than one.

“We hear about business owners cutting back their hours, or not starting a new line of business, or not opening a new location,” says Catherine Holt, Ceo of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s another expense to add to just the cost of living in Victoria.”

But others say it isn’t an excuse.

“Those employers who are complaining about the minimum wage increase, I actually have little sympathy for them,” says Michael Eso, president of Victoria Labour Council.

“We have the strongest economy in the country in BC and I think it’s fair the workers get to share the benefits of having that strong economy.”

As far as it goes for Beauchemin, she’ll keep serving up dish after dish, eagerly hoping that her customers are feeling generous.

“The closer we get to 15 an hour, the better!”

Aaron GuillenAaron Guillen

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