Restaurant and Small Business Owners Fear Fallout from Minimum Wage Hike

By a huge margin, voters said yes to raising the minimum wage in Florida, but now your favorite restaurant is trying to figure out how to absorb the added labor costs.

Opponents are still making dire predictions that meals will cost more and mom and pop restaurants might start closing their doors.

Restaurant owner Mike Ferrara supported the minimum wage increase, but he admits you may see a price hike as a result.

“Fuel costs, food costs and now we have labor costs all going up, so yeah, I think like everything else, I think people are going to see an increase in the price of a meal.”

Supporters argued the wage hike would only cost pennies more on your average $20 sweatshirt, but Eddie Agramonte doesn’t buy it. A restaurant owner himself, he did not support the amendment out of fears it could force him to close his doors.

“It’s going to hurt the small businessmen like me and my brothers who then have to not be able to afford to do this any more because we have to pay everything out to our employees, so we put 30 to 40 people out of work.”

Of particular concern is the fact that Florida’s minimum wage is now tied to the rate of inflation; $6.15 an hour might be $10.15 a couple of years from now.

Rick McAllister of the Florida Retail Federation says there is already talk of repealing the amendment just like you saw with the Florida Bullet Train.

“Maybe the voters would like to say, well, the dollar an hour might not have been such a bad idea, but was the cost of living annual increase such a good idea. We may give them a chance to vote on that part again.”

In the meantime, lawsuits are already in the works.

The people who gathered the petitions to put the wage hike on the ballot in the first place are now under investigation for whether many of those signatures were even legal.

Authorities are investigating whether the group “Acorn” gathered signatures from people who were not registered to vote. Gov. Jeb Bush told NewsChannel Seven he was not in favor of the minimum wage amendment, but he isn’t sure yet whether he will support a repeal effort.