Applebee’s CEO lays out brutal truth about minimum wage hikes

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For years, conservatives have called out the left’s narrative about the need to raise the minimum wage in order to ‘help the poor’ for what it is — a premeditated ploy to secure votes. Those using the ruse are not stupid. They roam the halls of Congress and State legislatures with their degrees from prestigious universities and are fully aware of the “Economics 101” principles behind using the force of government to artificially raise operating costs.

Still, liberals with unchecked control of legislative bodies in cities and states across the country have crammed through minimum wage increases anyway, and the results — which were wholly predictable — are now coming in.

The latest to provide testimony to the inevitable is the Chairman and CEO of Apple-Metro Inc., Zane Tankel. A franchise owner of the Applebee’s in the New York City metropolitan area, Tankel owns about 40 restaurants, and appeared on on the Fox Business Network this week.

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In an interview with host Stuart Varney, Tankel said that the popular restaurant chain, which has been switching to electronic table-top tablets and away from waiters and waitresses, has 1,000 fewer servers today than it had at this time last year thanks to increases in minimum wage laws.

Here’s a transcript of the exchange:

ZANE TANKEL: If something becomes prohibitively priced, you find an alternative.


TANKEL: I’ve always said increasing minimum wage is technology’s best friend. We have 1,000 less servers this time this year than we had this time last year.

VARNEY: Really?

TANKEL: Yes sir.

VARNEY: And you run, what, 42, 43 Applebee’s.


VARNEY: Okay, about 40. So you’ve got 1,000 fewer wait staff.

TANKEL: Yes sir.

VARNEY: So what you do nowadays is you employ technology.

TANKEL: Yes sir.

VARNEY: And you have runners from the kitchen to the table –

TANKEL: Exactly.

VARNEY: That’s how you —

TANKEL: You know the business.

VARNEY: Well, I’ve been to Newark Airport. I see this constantly, and that’s what you see.

TANKEL: We’re not quite Newark Airport, because that’s really impersonal, people passing through. We have servers, but they’re moving — more and more the model is to a concierge type of a person, comes to the table, “Can I help you? Do you need assistance with the tablets? Can I get you anything immediately?” And making people feel warm and comfortable.

So that the model now that we’re heading towards where we had one server for three or four tables, we’re moving towards one server for ten tables, eliminating about two-thirds of our labor ultimately. But it’s because of Cuomo, De Blasio, the liberal agenda.

It’s all really good if you have a job.


TANKEL: Right? If you don’t have a job.

VARNEY: (If) you’re a youngster, you want to get your first foot on the rung of that ladder going up the food chain.

TANKEL: Exactly. Stuart, if you don’t have a job, $100 an hour doesn’t help you a whole lot, does it?

That last quote says it all. A one hundred dollar an hour minimum wage doesn’t do you much good if you don’t have a job!

Earlier this year Wendy’s announced it was switching to self-service kiosks at 1,000 of its stores from coast-to-cost in order to save on ever-increasing labor costs, thanks to rising minimum wages.

In San Francisco small restaurateurs are going out of business left and right. Those who survive have taken to adding a “dining surcharge,” a charge of “3 percent of the meal’s cost to help cover increased labor expenses” which has led to a 52 percent increase in menu prices since minimum wage hikes began.

Other examples abound. There are no winners here. The working poor are becoming the just plain poor. The taxpaying public then has to support those laid-off workers. Consumers end up paying higher costs.

Wait. Correction — there are winners. The liberal politicians who keep singing the tune their voters want to hear, thus ensuring their own everlasting re-election prospects.  Meanwhile, the rest of us get the shaft.

[Note: This article was written by Derrick Wilburn]

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