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NYSRA Hosts Panel to Discuss Strategies on Combating the Upcoming Wage Hike

Wednesday, May 06, 2015  
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Restaurateurs Discuss Strategy as New York State Restaurant Association Hosts Panel on Tipped Wage Increase


ALBANY, NEW YORK- Yesterday morning the NYS Restaurant Association hosted the first  panel discussion on the planned raise to the minimum and tipped wage that will go into effect at the end of this year. Restaurateurs from across the region were in attendance to hear specifics on the increase and learn about strategies to combat rising labor costs. This panel was the first in a long series with further events on this issue scheduled across the state in the coming months, with the next event taking place in Rochester on June 5. 


“The Association is committed to helping our restaurants succeed and one of the primary ways we do this is through education. It’s vital that restaurants understand that these increases are coming at the end of the year and they need to begin preparing for it,” Melissa Fleischut, President & CEO of the NYS Restaurant Association said. “No one solution will work for every restaurant and many of our members will be forced into making tough choices. But the name of the game is survival, and that’s what we will help our members do, survive.”


The panel featured NYS Restaurant Association Government Affairs Coordinator Jay Holland, who detailed the ins and outs of the increase and outlined several ways restaurants can increase profits and decrease expenses. These options include:

  • Increasing menu prices,
  • Prohibiting tipping,
  • Decreasing staff,
  • Implementing new technology; and
  • Automatic service charges.

“Many restaurant owners are considering adding an automatic service charge on every bill instead of keeping the tipping model,” Holland said. “What most do not know is that doing so carries a significant risk of lawsuit and is very difficult to execute in the current regulatory environment.”


HR expert Rose Miller from Pinnacle Human Resources LLC (  also spoke during the 90 minute event and provided tips on maintaining morale, how to handle laying off employees and the importance of an employee handbook. 

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