$15 minimum wage improves average restaurant ratings in San Francisco

A study from the Harvard Business School finds that average restaurant ratings in San Francisco have gone up two full points after the city enacted a $15 minimum wage. Today, almost every restaurant in the city has at least four stars.

Activists for the “Fight for $15” movement say this is a victory for working families everywhere.

Mary-Kay

Mary Kay Henry, CEO of the
Service Employees International Union

“This study proves that rich people love our idea of a $15 minimum wage,” said SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry, one of the most influential businesswomen in history.

“A higher percentage of  5-star restaurants in the city is good for everyone,” she said. “SEIU won’t stop until we win $15 an hour everywhere.”

The study – titled Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit – analyzed “the impact of the minimum wage on firm exit in the restaurant industry” and found that “a one dollar increase in the minimum wage leads to a 14 percent increase in the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant (which is the median rating), but has no discernible impact for a 5-star restaurant (on a 1 to 5 star scale).”

Hillary Clinton, who campaigned on the minimum wage during her failed bid for the presidency, told The Brie that everyone prefers good restaurants. “What difference, at this point, does it make if more 2-star restaurants go out of business? That just makes better restaurants more accessible to everyone. The fight is not about food, but about food justice.”

Not everyone agrees that higher average ratings are better.

What this study does, say authors at The American Interest, is to put “the appeal of superficially progressive measures like the minimum wage hike among the wealthy into sharp relief: It will help clear out the restaurant scene of establishments they don’t want to go to while taking jobs away from people they don’t know.”

Law school professor and prolific blogger Glenn Reynolds said, “It’s all about the virtue-signalling.”

Mary Kay Henry shot back via email, providing a link to an instruction sheet for how to go on a one-day strike. “I think we’ve proven that any city can have better restaurants,” she wrote, ending with an appeal to working families. “If you’re tired of getting screwed by low pay, join the national movement and go on a one-day strike! Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to do the same.”

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