Restaurant paying a living wage mocks hiring struggle claims: ‘It’s a shortage of cheap labour’

A TikTok influencer recently sparked a fierce debate over national hourly wages after posting an article about a restaurant in Kent, Washington, which pays its staff $20 (£14.6) an hour.

The TikToker who goes by the handle @missadriennek – Miss Teacher Tok – posted a video of the fast food restaurant, Dick’s Drive-in, with a queue of customers and said she was able to buy “two cheeseburgers, a deluxe cheeseburger, two orders of fries, a milkshake and a root beer” – for just $20.

Several users pointed out that the low price of the meal shows that the arguments against raising the minimum wage because it would lead to higher prices for customers do not hold water.

The fast food chain employs 15 employees who are all paid $20 an hour.

According to Statistical‘s Research Department, the federally mandated minimum wage in the United States is $7.25 (£5.30) per hour, although the minimum wage varies from state to state. As of January 1, 2021, Washington DC had the highest minimum wage in the country at $15 (£10.96) an hour. The minimum hourly wage in Washington state is $13.5 (£9.86).

On Sunday, the TikTok posted by @missadriennek had reached over 612,000 views and had around 6,000 comments.

One user wrote, “Only in America will people complain about other people making a living wage or calling it unsustainable,” while another said, “Can someone He explain to me why the tRumplicans are so against people who earn a fair wage?

Hundreds of comments were in favor of a nationwide hourly wage increase. One speaker said, “There is no labor shortage. There is a shortage of cheap labour.

But several have also spoken out against the restaurant’s policy. “Let’s pay everyone 20 an hour so you can watch the crash and learn the economy real quick.

The fast-food chain increased its starting salaries for employees in September.

“Dick’s is a family business,” the company says on its website. “We treat our employees like family. Employees at Dick enjoy better pay and benefits than employees at any other fast food restaurant in the Seattle area.

It also says all employees have access to “a $28,000 scholarship upon passing their first skills test.”

Dick’s Drive-In President Jasmine Donovan said Kiro Radio on October 5, Dick’s raised prices earlier this year to pay for the wage increase and due to rising costs associated with supply chain issues.

“Our luxury [burger], at some of our locations, increased by 25 cents; some other products went up 5 cents or 10 cents,” Ms. Donovan said. “We appreciate that customers don’t care. We love being able to pay the highest salaries and benefits in the industry, it’s something we are very proud of. But to do that, we have to sell a lot of burgers and sometimes charge a little more. »

Michael A. Bynum