TOLEDO, Ohio — As Ohio restaurants continue to have trouble attracting employees, many of whom left the industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, some are saying a modest increase in the state's minimum wage that goes into effect next year probably won't have much of an impact.
Some low-wage workers in Ohio will see a pay raise at the beginning of next year when the state's minimum wage goes up from $8.80 to $9.30.
The bump is a little less for servers and others who rely on tips. They'll see an increase from $4.40 to $4.65.
The servers don't care about the 20 cents, they make their money in tips," said Amy Szabo, partner at Rick City's Diner.
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She said the increase won't really affect her employees, but she feels businesses with workers who don't get tips will suffer.
"Everyone will increase their prices which then the customers will have to pay obviously more for their product because prices have to increase in order to pay for their employees so everyone will be affected by that," said Szabo.
The 2022 increase applies to employees at businesses with annual gross receipts of more than $342,000 a year, according to the Ohio Dept. of Commerce.
Rick's City Diner owner Rick Salem said the minimum wage isn't bringing people in anymore, anyway.
"Everybody is advertising $20 or a signing bonus of a thousand or $5,000. Franchises can pay more, of course. We can't pay that and it's still not bringing employees," said Salem.
He said he pays his employees more than minimum wage and he appreciates the workers who show up daily and work their hardest.
Yet, Salem said he still has issues with staffing and people coming to work.
"It's a critical thing and it's not just me, it's not only restaurants, it's every small business," said Salem.
Many restaurants and small businesses have already been changing hours or closing on certain days because of the lack of employees to keep them running.