Despite the pressure COVID-19 and the stay at home order have put on local small businesses, cities all over the state raised their minimum wage thresholds at the start of 2021.
Both Santa Clara and Sunnyvale increased their minimum wages by 25-cents on Jan. 1, 2021. Santa Clara’s minimum wage is now $15.65 per hour, while Sunnyvale’s is $16.30 per hour.
Joey Camacho, the owner of Konjoe Burger Bar (http://www.konjoe.com/) in Santa Clara, was already paying his employees more than minimum wage, but he says he understands why increases like this during a pandemic are tough.
Konjoe Burger Bar had two locations at Levi’s Stadium and one at SAP Center. With no sports, all three locations are closed indefinitely.
“At one point, we were doing hazard pay during the beginning of the pandemic, but once we ran out of PPP money, we decided to do pay cuts across the board,” said Camacho. “We still wanted to make sure that the people that were at the bottom tier of our pay scale are still getting paid more than minimum wage for what they were doing for us.”
Camacho is not against the minimum wage increase, but he is feeling that squeeze in the middle.
“I think the most challenging aspect is a lot of people are unemployed right now. I think we’re kind of faced with this predicament of do we increase our prices and make the menu where it should be in terms of the price level which kind of prices it out of the range for a lot of people, or do we continue to eat that cost? I think that’s been the biggest struggle as of late,” said Camacho.
The other problem is that delivery companies are taking a portion of the profit.
“For us in particular, we’ve seen a large shift for people moving over to delivery orders,” said Camacho. “I know the city put a cap on fees, but still seeing 15 percent of your sales go to the delivery partners is as hard.”
City leaders in both Santa Clara and Sunnyvale have worked on raising minimum wage within their respective cities for years.
Santa Clara city leaders approved an ordinance in 2015 to bring the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour. In 2017, the City amended the ordinance so that the annual increase in minimum wage would be based on the prior year’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) for workers in the Bay Area.