Seattle Magazine

Why Are So Many Seattle Restaurants Closing Lately?
Seattle Magazine

Last month—and particularly last week— Seattle foodies were downcast as the blows kept coming: Queen Anne’s Grub closed February 15. Pioneer Square’s Little Uncle shut down February 25. Shanik’s Meeru Dhalwala announced that it will close March 21. Renée Erickson’s Boat Street Café will shutter May 30 after 17 years with her at the helm.

Though none of our local departing/transitioning restaurateurs who announced their plans last month have elaborated on the issue, another major factor affecting restaurant futures in our city is the impending minimum wage hike to $15 per hour. Starting April 1, all businesses must begin to phase in the wage increase: Small employers have seven years to pay all employees at least $15 hourly; large employers (with 500 or more employees) have three.

Since the legislation was announced last summer, The Seattle Times and Eater have reported extensively on restaurant owners’ many concerns about how to compensate for the extra funds that will now be required for labor: They may need to raise menu prices, source poorer ingredients, reduce operating hours, reduce their labor and/or more.

Washington Restaurant Association’s Anton puts it this way: “It’s not a political problem; it’s a math problem.”

Quand Seattle a annoncé l’an dernier qu’elle allait imposer un salaire minimum à 15$, la droite avait annoncé que cette mesure loufoque allait entraîner des mises à pied. La bonne gauche a refusé d’y croire.

Aujourd’hui on peut dire: la droite avait raison.