Rising wages, food costs and labor shortages transforming how SLO restaurants do business

Mar 31, 2018

Samantha Payette (left) with Shanny Covey, co-owner of Luna Red in San Luis Obispo, California
Credit Thomas Wilmer

The San Luis Obispo restaurant industry is facing increasing costs on multiple fronts. Current and impending issues include a rise in minimum wage to $15 per hour, a regional labor shortage, mandated health care, sick leave, along with rising food costs. Restaurant owners are brainstorming ways to modify their business models, including instituting a service charge or surcharge.

Shanny Covey co-owner of Robins Restaurant in Cambria, Novo and Luna Red in San Luis Obispo, and Samantha Payette, Culture and Talent Development with Blue Mango Restaurant Management Services share ideas about ways to keep pace with rising costs and creating a more equitable wage model.

Ideas include attempts to level the playing field between servers who receive tips and “back of the house” cooks, prep workers and dishwashers who are now forbidden by law to receive pooled tips from the servers.

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