New Analysis: 60 Percent of NY Restaurant Employees Work for Very Small Businesses

Census Bureau data show that employees earning less than $15 per hour mostly work at small restaurants
Washington D.C. -- Today, the Employment Policies Institute (EPI) released a new analysis of Census Bureau data finding that 63 percent of New York State restaurant employees who earn less than $15 an hour work for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Among all restaurant employees in New York, a similar figure -- 60 percent -- work for these small businesses.
This finding directly contradicts the argument made by proponents of a higher fast-food minimum wage that the costs of a dramatically increased wage can simply be absorbed by – in the words of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio -- “multi-billion dollar corporations.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s fast-food wage board concluded its fourth and final public hearing on the proposed wage hike this week and will now deliberate on a new wage mandate for the industry. The results of this analysis and the associated burden it would place on small businesses in the state should give the wage board pause in its consideration of enacting a dramatic wage increase for a specific subset of restaurants.
The full results, displayed below, do show that 23 percent of restaurant employees earning less than $15 an hour in New York work at large corporations with 1000+ employees. But these employees are matched almost person-for-person by the nearly 22 percent of employees who work at extremely small businesses with fewer than 10 employees.
Business Size
Under 10 Employees21.5%
10-49 Employees41.5%
50 - 99 Employees5%
100 - 499 Employees7%
500 - 999 Employees1.8%
1000+ Employees23.1%
View the full analysis here.
“Gov. Cuomo’s push for a fast-food minimum wage is little more than a war on small business in New York State,” said Michael Saltsman, research director at the Employment Policies Institute. “A dramatically higher fast-food minimum wage is much more likely to impact local diners than Bill de Blasio’s proverbial ‘multi-billion dollar corporation.’”
For more information, visit EPIOnline.org. To schedule an interview, contact Jordan Bruneau at (202) 463-7650 or bruneau@epionline.org.
The Employment Policies Institute is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to studying public policy issues surrounding employment growth. In particular, EPI focuses on issues that affect entry-level employment. EPI receives support from restaurants, foundations, and individuals. Learn more at www.epionline.org.


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