Six Ways To Be Profitable in BC with Increased Minimum Wages

Six Ways To Be Profitable With Increased Minimum Wages

With another minimum wage increase upon us, small businesses need a solid plan now to off-set their profits and minimize this impact.  BC’s minimum wage has increased seventy-five cents and there will be another wage increase in 2021.  Labor costs must be on every owners radar and the sooner your game plan is created the more prepared you will be!

As many provinces and cities are heading towards a $15 minimum wage or higher, restaurant and cafe owners know that this will affect their bottom line the most.  Many if not all team members in the food-service industries are entry level positions and receive minimum wage.  In many cases other positions will see a compression and team members will be asking (and even expecting) their wage to increase similarly. To keep your valued employees happy, the pay gap must stay within a similar ratio.  For example, your highly skilled prep cook making $18/hr will seek a raise when your new, less skilled worker is starting near $15/hr.

Restaurant, café, bar and grocery store owners must find a way now, to save money in other areas.

Here are 6 ways to beat the minimum wage game:

You should know the cost of every drink and food item being served at your establishment.  If you do not, now is the time to get closer to and review this with your team. Ensure they are costed corrected and the recipe and yields are actually correct.  Does your new line cook over-portion his salad dressing every time for four ounces when the recipe calls for only two ounces? This small over-portion can exponentially impact your bottom line.  Highlight and feature those items that make you the most profit now to drive up your profits. You may also want to think about raising the prices now, as perception after the wage increase will be far more negative than before.


You must start looking at your schedules now to plan for and forecast your current and upcoming needs. Can you save by not having that extra team member during the morning slow period? Review and analyze every day-part for efficiencies or over-staffing. Does your current schedule meet your business and your customer needs – if not you must take action now and check/adjust weekly as you learn and make informed decisions.


Waste in any restaurant or café is inevitable.  However, do you know your top wasted items and where your waste is going and why?  If not start counting and looking closer at orders now. What is your team preparing every day and what is going in the garbage?  Do they track waste and shrink? Breakage?  Accidents?  If not, starting now is a great place to minimize costs.  If you can cut your waste in half, that means more money in your pocket, as well as reduced labor dollars spent preparing these items just to be thrown in the garbage.


Focus on making it as easy as possible to be a team member.  Wasted energy or time is not efficient.  Start by reducing food prep and evaluating what you are ordering. Does your supplier have a slightly expensive pre-cut version of an item that will save you hundred in prep costs? You must know what your most labor- intensive items are and evaluate the process to see if you can streamline it to be more efficient or eliminate it completely. This is the time where understanding your customer base will payoff greatly. What are your top and bottom sellers?


This tactic seems counter-intuitive but if done right can really motivate your team to drive results.  They will feel appreciated and valued.  This tied with some strategic and stretch sales goals can inspire your team to improve customer service and hit all sales targets, in essence paying for the increase before it officially goes up.  Happy customers = More customers = Happy Team.  This could also increase tips with elevated service standards and up-selling.  Higher tickets mean more tips and more sales, driving revenue for your business.  How much are you currently spending on turnover?


Many bigger chain restaurants and cafes are embracing loyalty programs, mobile order and pay and delivery options for customers to drive sales. This extra channel of sales and customers helps meet customers where they are at and make it easy for them to order from your business.  Technology can also be utilized to market your business through a great Facebook or Instagram profile.  Post fun and engaging pictures daily to showcase your team and your products. Embracing some or all of these options will increase sales, engagement with your brand and drive profits to pay for any increases.  Keep your eyes open—an investment in tech for your restaurant or café can be significant, but also pay off huge in labor savings.

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