Increased minimum wage hurts some businesses

Reported by Laura Sinacori - bio|email
Posted by Debra Worley - email

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Minimum-wage workers saw a bump in their pay last week, when the federal minimum rose to $7.25 an hour from $6.55.

But now, some area businesses said they are having to make a few changes to afford to pay their employees the increased amount.

Some workers at the El Cerro Grande Mexican Restaurant on College Road will benefit from the minimum wage increase. It will put more than $100 extra in their pockets each month.

Employers who own the family business said shelling out the extra cash is going to hurt.

"It's going to be hard for us - for small companies, family businesses. It's going to be a hard time," said manager Fernando Villasenor.

Managers like Villasenor said business has been fluctuating so they are having to make some changes like raising the price of some menu items to keep from laying off workers.

"So we're just raising our prices just a tiny bit, to keep the people from being sent home," said Villasenor.

Some customers said they are also making some changes.

"Our drinks cost more than our meal did, so it's pretty bad," said customer Michelle Harned. "We don't go out to eat as much as we used to.  Even raising the minimum wage, the economy is so bad it doesn't even help."

The raise is the third and final increase as mandated by the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007.

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