With rising wages come rising prices, cuts to hours, and fewer jobs. New York City restaurants are already feeling the crunch.
If New York City wants to maintain the unique small business/high concept persona that it has today, restaurant owners will have to get creative after a city mandated minimum wage increase, which took effect on December 31st. Now is a crucial time to consider introducing intelligent voice applications to restaurant operations.
To break down the new law, the wage hike requires businesses that employ 11 or more people to increase wages from $13 to $15 per hour. However, most restaurants utilize tipped wages, which offers servers and bartenders a lower hourly wage with an opportunity to additional pay in tips. If employees don't earn enough this way, employers are required to make up the difference. That mentioned tipped minimum just rose from $8.65 to $10 an hour. This is quite the increase, especially when restaurants struggle with thin profit margins to begin with.
According to a new study conducted by the New York City Hospitality Alliance, 574 restaurants were surveyed and the results are not looking promising for 2019: 75 percent of full-service establishments anticipate cutting hours, and 47 percent will eliminate positions entirely in response to the forced minimum wage increase. That follows a trend from reports in 2018, in which 77 percent of full-service restaurants decreased employee hours and 36 percent cut positions, altogether. These were both in response to a mandatory minimum wage increase.
So how can restaurants maintain the same level of productivity when they simply cannot afford to pay employees this wage and still make a profit? Jetson, an NYC-based voice AI company offers an expert solution in the emerging trend in voice technology. It is both affordable to even small businesses and simple to integrate into existing procedures. Voice AI enables customers to order and ask for specific assistance in restaurants like requesting more napkins, asking for another beverage, etc. This takes a load off of increasingly busy restaurant employees, so they can deliver a higher quality dining experience to guests.
It is important to add that Mayor Bill de Blasio recently proposed a new policy that would require businesses with five or more employees to guarantee two weeks of paid time off. That includes restaurants. While most can agree that employees would certainly enjoy this new policy, Jetson will never ask for nor even need time off.