Minimum Wage Hike Already Felt at Area Espresso Shops
When the Washington State minimum wage went up $1.45 on January 1st, it was the first in a series of hikes that will eventually get the state wage to $13.50, from $9.55, many predicted the effects would start to show.
Most of the Tri-City area espresso shops have raised prices anywhere from $.25 to .$50 on most of their drinks, some across the board. At least the ones we checked on.
Newstalk870 spoke with several people directly associated with some of these businesses, and they admitted the prices did go up because of the minimum wage. They didn't elaborate greatly, but did say because the jump was sizeable, $1.45, prices did have to rise. One of the shops was the rapidly growing Roaster's Coffee chain, another one where price hikes were seen was Dutch Brothers.
Virtually every shop we looked at or spoke to had some sort of a moderate increase, but it was done directly because of the minimum wage hike. Although the hikes are not huge, they've been enough to get the attention of their customers, and create a buzz.
Most of the shops have also instituted new series of specialty days and incentive programs for customers, to ensure they keep their business. Many of these are rather lucrative, involving daily specials on different beverages. Other shops are utilizing social media apps such as Yelp to help grow business, and utilizing customer check-ins in exchange for discounts.
But the bottom line is, regardless of where you go, at least one industry we've checked on has directly felt the effects of the minimum wage raise. Next year, it will, according to Labor and Industries, rise another $.50, and $.50 again in 2019 until it arrives at the level of $13.50 by 2020. Some larger companies have not appreciably raised prices...yet.
But experts predicted the biggest impact initially would be on the small mom-and-pop local or regional businesses or chains, and we are seeing the first ripple of that right in front of us.
The raise is the result of the passage of Initiative 1433. It didn't pass in any Southeastern Washington county, but was carried largely by King, Snohomish, Pierce and other West side counties.