Minimum wage will increase menu prices, but we’ve underpaid for years

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to boost the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, which has remained stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009. Now some restaurant owners are preparing customers for increased menu prices. We have, however, been underpaying for years. The public’s perception of how much a meal should cost is incredibly skewed, since restaurants operate on incredibly thin margins. Everyone involved with the food system (including customers) would have to drastically change for everyone to be paid a living wage, Eater reports. Restaurants that have already eliminated a tipping system admit that some customers balk at the high menu prices and often lose servers to tipped jobs. Despite this, a Georgetown food studies professor tells Eater, “If [the pandemic] doesn’t convince us that we need to double down and rethink what it is that we prioritize within this food system, I don’t know when we’ll have another opening like this.”

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