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Economy

Group of West Michigan restaurants raise minimum wage to $15 per hour

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LONG ROAD DISTILLERS / LONG ROAD DISTILLERS
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In an effort to encourage workers to apply for a job, four restaurants in West Michigan announced Thursday a decision to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour at each establishment. 

Officials from Long Road Distillers, The Mitten Brewing Co, Two Scotts Barbecue and The People’s Cider say the new wage goes into effect immediately.

The restaurants, which also includes improv club The Comedy Project, all sit at the corner of Leonard and Quarry on Grand Rapids’ N+-orthwest side.

Kyle Van Strien is a Co-Owner of Long Road.

“We didn’t make this decision out of a position of abundance,” Van Strien said. “This was something that we had to really crunch the numbers and figure out how we continue to be sustainable as a business.”

“But we felt it was the right thing to do,” he said. “And we came to this conclusion.”

While restaurants across the state are offering hiring bonuses and incentives as a way of filling open positions now that restrictions have been lifted, Van Strien says that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour is not necessarily in response to staffing shortages, but rather an effort to attract workers who want to be in it for the long haul. The new wage applies to all workers at the restaurants including the waitstaff, who will still be tipped.

Meanwhile, The Fight for $15 is an American political movement advocating for the minimum wage to be raised to $15 per hour. While Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has proposed raising the state minimum wage, it currently sits at $9.65.