Too Many Restaurants, Too Few Customers
For the first time ever, Americans spend more money in restaurants than they do in grocery stores.
The restaurant industry is booming; yet the restaurant workers are collectively worse off than they were ten years ago. The minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation, and the sub-minimum wage — the $3.75/hour restaurants pay their servers and bartenders — is massively insufficient to afford housing and transport costs, even with tips included.
Increased competition between restaurants keeps food prices low, and leads to smaller numbers of workers doing more work for less pay.
It’s also led to an increase in wage theft, as owners seek to cut corners to stay afloat.