When Steve Valenta looks at the financials from his restaurant’s first eight years, most of the numbers have gone up.
Valenta’s popular downtown eatery, The Mighty Bowl, has seen gains in revenue, staffing, taxes, ingredient costs and menu prices.
Add another rising number to the mix: A state minimum wage that rose by $1.50 on Jan. 1 to $13.50 an hour. Half of Valenta’s staff of 10 benefited from the change.
“It’s definitely caused us to be aware of what it’s going to do to the bottom line,” Valenta said. “But we need to get serious about having everyone work at a livable wage. It might impact us, but the benefit to the greater good of our community is a price we’re willing to pay.”
While The Mighty Bowl continues to grow, other restaurants, including Tommy O’s in downtown Vancouver, have closed because of financial pressures, including the higher minimum wage. Some, including Twilight Pizza, are for sale. All owners among the roughly 260 restaurants and grocery stores in Clark County may have to consider raising prices, reducing the quality of ingredients and the size of portions and cutting staff hours or positions altogether.