After less than a year in business, a Mexican restaurant in the Chicago neighborhood of Andersonville suddenly announced that it was closing. The owners of Cantina 1910 reportedly sent an email to employees late Sunday night indicating that the restaurant would be closing effective immediately. A statement posted to Facebook the next morning cited rising payroll expenses, including Chicago’s increasing minimum wage, as the owners’ primary reason for their decision.
According to reports, employees of Cantina 1919 received an email notification at the end of service on Sunday night stating that the modern establishment would not be reopening for business. The news reportedly came as a shock to workers, many of whom were just getting home after their closing shifts. The next morning, the owners posted a statement to social media in an attempt to provide some insight into their decision.
The statement made reference to “substantial increases in payroll expenses that we could not absorb through price increases.” The owners indicated that the minimum wage within Chicago city limits has gone up by 27 percent, and the cost of paying kitchen staff has increased by about 60 percent. Management also made reference to a nationwide shortage of skilled culinary employees, which made it very difficult to keep the establishment fully staffed. Taxes and other regional fees have also been a source of concern for the restaurant’s owners.
Upward Wage Trends
Last month, the minimum wage in the city of Chicago went up to $10.50 per hour, a stark contrast to the $8.25 per hour minimum wage for the rest of Illinois and the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Tipped employees in Chicago must now be paid $5.95 per hour, a $1.00 per hour increase from the minimum. Federal regulations that affect the minimum salaries for managers and other workers exempt from overtime are slated to take effect in December, which is expected to have a significant impact around the country.
As businesses around the region continue to adapt to the changing wage laws, many of them are struggling to develop a pay scale that provides for employees while protecting the company’s bottom line. An experienced Schaumburg employment law attorney can help you create a plan for your business that allows you to stay fully compliant with applicable laws and regulations. Contact the Miller Law Firm, P.C. to discuss your company’s needs and your concerns today. We are proud to represent business owners throughout the area as they protect their investments and best interests.