Seattle restaurant succeeds with jump to $15 an hour, but broader effects of pay law uncertain

IndustriesAssociated Press

Menu prices are up 21 percent and you don't have to tip at Ivar's Salmon House in Seattle after the restaurant decided to institute the city's $15-an-hour minimum wage two years ahead of schedule.

It is staff, not diners, who feel the real difference, with wages as much as 60 percent higher than before. One waitress is saving for accounting classes and finding it easier to take weekend vacations, while another server is using the added pay to cover increased rent.

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Seattle's law bumped the city's minimum wage to $11 beginning April 1, and scheduled increases will bring it to $15 within four years for large businesses and seven for smaller ones.

As Washington, D.C., and other cities consider following Seattle in phasing in a $15-an-hour minimum wage, Ivar's approach, adopted in April, offers lessons in how some businesses might adapt.


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