I recently went to a restaurant with some friends and as we were seated we noticed this laminated card sitting on our table. One of my friends picked it up and as she read it, I noticed her face get red and her expression turned from a happy smile to a look of disgust. She looked up, and said to us, "Have you seen this before?". She then read it out loud and said, "If I wasn't on a time crunch to be back at work, I would ask that we go to a new restaurant, but rest assured people, I will never come back here again!"
With the rising cost of minimum wage, all companies small, medium and large have had to ask themselves the same questions, "How are we going to deal with this and how does it affect our bottom line?" For my one friend, reading a sign like this made her question the values and ethics of the entire organization. She said, "This sign says to me that most likely they pay all of their employees minimum wage or just above it. I understand the need for cost savings because I too work in corporate America but why do companies always look bottom up. These people already work hard enough and most probably still struggle with their bills. It is time we start looking top down. Why can't the CEO get paid less? This company obviously puts the business before the people and I can't stand behind a company like that. On top of that, I as the consumer now have to pay a fee because they are too cheap to pay their employees what they deserve." This little sign sure set the mood for a lunch date that started out with the intentions of being fun.
A moment later, my other friend asked to see the sign and said, "Why don't they start the cost savings by not printing these signs! I used to work with printing companies in my last job and I know how expensive it can be. They didn't go cheap either because they are printed on card stock and then laminated. If they stop printing these cards, they can use that saved money to stop charging their consumer a service fee. I agree, I won't be coming back here again."
As the week progressed, I continued to think more and more about how upset my friends were at this restaurant. I talked to my sister about it because she is great at seeing multiple views regarding the same problem. She said, "Well at least they aren't laying anyone off that we know of, but then we also don’t know where the extra 2% is going. Is it indeed going to wages? It is a very small number but people hate the word “fee”.” I agreed. I said, "I probably would have just increased the menu prices 2% because I don't think as many people would have noticed the extra cents on the menu but everyone noticed the extra fee."
There are so many different ways companies can and will approach the new minimum wage increase. I simply encourage them to look at it from all angles. The employees top down, the employees bottom up, shareholders and consumers. There is no method that will make everyone happy but I always believe that when you value people you will always reap a reward.
If you, like this company are struggling to determine your companies best approach to handling this challenge I would love to chat with you and help you take a 360 look into your best options.