When politicians do things like hike the minimum wage and impose expensive regulations on businesses, many businesses can’t afford it and close shop. The huge corporations tend to do OK because they have the resources to absorb the cost and pass it on to their consumers, but small businesses don’t have that luxury. They just quietly close up shop and there aren’t any news stories. And then the same people who supported the increases in minimum wage and regulations moan about the dearth of small businesses being able to compete with the “big box” stores. Here’s one story of one business that couldn’t take it anymore.
Cantina 1910, a farm-to-table Mexican restaurant located in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood, opened in September 2015.
Former Cantina 1910 employees said they were shocked to find out late Sunday evening of the closing, DNAinfo reported.
“We are unable to further raise prices in this competitive restaurant market in order to sustain the labor costs necessary to operate Cantina 1910,” Mark Robertson and Mike Sullivan, Cantina 1910’s owners, said in an emailed statement to The Daily Signal.
In December 2014, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance to raise the city’s minimum wage from $8.25 an hour to $13 an hour by 2019. The minimum wage for nontipped employees went up to $10.50 an hour on July 1.
“Unfortunately, the rapidly changing labor market for the hospitality industry has resulted in immediate, substantial increases in payroll expenses that we could not absorb through price increases,” the restaurant’s owners said. “In the last two years, we have seen a 27 percent increase in the base minimum wage, a 60 percent increase in kitchen wages, and a national shortage of skilled culinary workers.”
The owners say they “do not see a path forward” with mandatory paid sick leave and minimum wage set to increase in 2017. They stated:
As we look down the road, we are facing a Dec. 1 change in federal labor regulations that will nearly double required salaries for managers to qualify as exempt, a 2017 mandatory sick leave requirement and another minimum wage increase. Coupled with increasing Chicago and Cook County taxes and fees that disproportionately impact commercial properties and businesses, we are operating in an environment in which we do not see a path forward.