Housekeepers to cooks, Pablo Group raises minimum wage for all employees

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 5:01 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -A hospitality group with hotels and restaurants in downtown Eau Claire is making a change to its minimum wage policy.

Restaurants, hotels, coffee shops and more, the Pablo Group has several businesses in downtown Eau Claire.

Since June 1, all employees from housekeepers to cooks have a starting wage of at least $16 an hour.

“The more experience you have, the more you make per hour just like any other job in the whole world in any other industry,” said Rita Dorsey the Director of Experiences for the Pablo Group.

Dorsey said some of the most experienced employees are making more than $20 an hour.

Kristine Hillmer with the Wisconsin Restaurant Association said increasing wages are a trend being seen across the restaurant industry right now.

“In Milwaukee you can’t find a dishwasher, unskilled, for less than 15 to 17 dollars an hour,” Hillmer said. “Wages are naturally going up because people are not attracted to jobs that have a lower wage. That’s the simple supply and demand.”

Hillmer said workers who relied on tips could bring home more money.

“Tipped workers make on average between 19 and 25 dollars an hour, and many more, significantly more,” Hillmer said.

But not consistently.

“Your livelihood is completely dependent on the weather that day, it’s completely dependent on if you get a good section or not, it’s dependent on if your tables identify with you and like you,” Dorsey said.

Under this new wage model, prices at Pablo Group businesses have increased by about 20%--the industry standard tip amount.

Dorsey said customers won’t really see a difference when it comes time to pay their bill.

Increased menu prices aren’t unique to the Pablo Group.

Hillmer said rising wages due to a labor shortage and higher food prices are causing changes across the industry.

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