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Local restaurant owner adjusts to minimum wage increase

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(WSIL) -- Minimum wage in Illinois will increase on July 1. It's part of Gov. JB Pritzker's plan to increase the wage to $15/hour by 2025.

Minimum wage will increase from $9.25/hour to $10/hour and Chucks BBQ owner Ryan Jeralds says it's going to create some changes.

"Obviously, that increases the amount of money I'm paying out, so the only thing I can do is raise prices and hope people don't get deterred from that and shop locally," he said.

Marion Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Karen Mullins says it's not unusual to see those price changes for restaurants, especially with COVID-19's affect on supplies.

"We know that some members are having to--they're either doing a streamlined menu or kind of re-evaluating what options are available now with shortages with meat or produces or whatever they're facing in their particular business," she said.

Jeralds says he's already rearranging his menu.

"I've redone my menu. Just try to compensate a little bit of that. I've raised prices like 10 to 15 cents on a lot of my popular items…just try to help out--to help out with a little bit from that, you know?" he said.

But the limited options and increased prices could create some issues paying for a staff that's already been cut in half.

"All that staff I had to lay off, and they're sitting at home, wondering if we're going to be able to open back up and obviously to add more money going out when I have less coming in, it makes it even more difficult for me," he said.

Mullins says the best thing for business to do now is save as much money as possible.

"I think as far as business finances, it really kind of brings into focus the rainy day fund," she said.

The minimum wage will jump to $11/hour January 1st and increase one dollar per year until it reaches $15 an hour in January of 2025.

Maya Skinner

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