Alexandria Group of local restaurants invests in the future.
That’s what “Mango” Mike Anderson says, now that he and co-owner Bill Blackburn have agreed to pay their 150 employees $ 15 an hour. Anderson says it’s about retaining good staff and thanking them for their hard work during the pandemic.
âMost of our stuff last year has been out of tents,â Anderson said. âOur staff went out every day in the rain, cold and bad weather. My job behind the scenes was to apply for all of those P3 loans and employee retention credit, and here we are at the end and we didn’t end up giving out Christmas bonuses this year. So we all got together and we said, ‘Dude, let’s try to make this $ 15 an hour offer come true.’ “
Governor Ralph Northam was recently at Pacers running in Old Town, where he met Mayor Justin Wilson and spoke with employees about increasing the minimum wage. Pacers has been paying his employees $ 15 an hour since last year.
As of May 1, Virginia’s minimum wage was increased to $ 9.50 an hour. It will increase again to $ 11 an hour on January 1, 2022, to $ 12 in 2023, and then to $ 15 an hour in January 2026.
Anderson said savvy staff – bartenders and waiters – won’t be paid $ 15 an hour and estimates their income will be closer to $ 20 after tips.
âI think business is going to be strong this summer,â he said. âAnd we’re sort of betting on the future. Now is the time to do it, to show our appreciation and, as a by-product of this deal, we also hope that it will attract higher quality staff to the restaurants.
Anderson said the company would be fine, despite the impact of the wage increase.
âDishwashers made about $ 10 or $ 11,â he says. âNow with the online tip pool, they’re going to make about $ 19 an hour. So we’re going to take a hit, but we’re trying to play the long game here, and the long game is thanking your customers and thanking your staff. “