In a segment on Wednesday with Apple-Metro CEO Zane Tankel on Fox Business, host Stuart Varney told the tycoon restaurateur — operator of the parent company of Applebee’s — that he planned to tip servers less if the minimum wage increased.
If I walk into a restaurant, and I know that the waiter or waitress is making $15 an hour, way more than they used to make the previous year, I’m going to think, ‘wait a minute, am I going to give you 20 percent, 15 percent, 10 percent or whatever?'”
The fast-casual dining maven was quick to agree with Varney that, although there was no hard data backing up such a conclusion, it was a very real possibility that increased wages could lead to lower tips for those in the food service industry.
Varney went on to add:
I think this is a tragedy because all those entry-level positions are going because some people now get $15 an hour.”
That’s the common refrain of conservatives who not only want to scare people out of voting for higher wages because it will cost the rich more, but who believe that people who earn minimum wage get paid less because they deserve less pay than other workers.
That’s a common misconception among adherents to the cult of capitalism, which says that hard workers will be rewarded, but rarely provides any real-world examples of that being the case.
Take my last job, for instance: I regularly unloaded 6 or more tons of furniture at a time into a warehouse while simultaneously running the front end of the store, managing a team, responding to customer service issues, and using my own car to go out on customer calls. I didn’t get a raise for 7 years, and left the company.
That’s anecdotal, but it is a glimpse into the mindset of a worker who gets tired of waiting for their company to do the right thing.
Here in Washington state, voters increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour, phased in over a few years. It’s already $11.50, the highest in the nation — and the state’s economy is booming. In areas where the minimum wage has already increased all the way to $15 – like what Bernie Sanders called for in his primary run for president – even more restaurants have opened, and low wage workers have been able to do more than ever with their paychecks, while owners’ profits have increased at the same time.
Watch the exchange here:
Featured image via Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images