Local businesses adjust to wage changes, critical of bigger companies
'I think sometimes they jump the gun a little too fast'
Small businesses in Windsor are adjusting to the new minimum wage hike. And, as they try to find ways to hold on to employees, many are critical of what some bigger companies are doing to protect their bottom line.
"We just don't want to lay off anybody," said Manuel Cantara, general manager at Mamo Burger on Ottawa Street. "They're good employees so we're going to try to keep them as best we can."
For now, Cantara said the restaurant is trying to be as fair to both workers and customers. Menu prices will remain the same as the business tries to cut back elsewhere.
"We're experimenting. We'll see how it goes," said Cantara. "Scheduling is becoming really a juggling game. We're just trying to do magic with what we got."
About 26 people work at the restaurant, and Cantara said he might have to cut back hours a bit to make up for the additional wages.
Little shops like us we are the ones it's really difficult for.- Manuel Cantara, general manager at Mamo Burger
But he is critical of how other companies are handling the raise.
"I think sometimes they jump the gun a little too fast," he said. "Let's see first instead of freaking out. Those are big, big businesses ... Little shops like us we are the ones it's really difficult for."
Janna Friend owns a small, seasonal landscaping business in Windsor. She employs two or three people in the warmer months and said she has been paying her employees $15/hr already.
Once [owners] saw what they had to pay out extra — it's just not worth it if you're going to be making nine or ten dollars an hour as the owner, no way. They can't break even.- Janna Friend, small business owner
"It's not affecting me at all — I'm a micro-business, apparently — and how is Tim Hortons a small business? I don't know, but it's only going to make them profit and they're using it as an excuse to rake back the benefits from workers," she said.
Friend said she believes it's small business owners with less staff that are getting hurt the most by the wage hike.
"Once [owners] saw what they had to pay out extra — it's just not worth it if you're going to be making nine or ten dollars an hour as the owner, no way. They can't break even."