GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — While we wait for the second coronavirus stimulus check, there is already good news for minimum wage workers. As of January 1st, 2021 the minimum wage in Colorado has risen from $12 an hour to $12.32 an hour, and for tipped workers, wages have gone from $8.98 an hour to $9.32.
This increase comes at a time when many employees are struggling financially due to the pandemic. However, at Kiln Coffee Bar, employees have been blessed with the bucks. Jacob Cotner, Kiln employee, says, “financially, I do really well for being a college student. I can pay my rent, pay my bills, and things like that.”
Baristas at Kiln are already paid above the Colorado minimum wage, as well as paid for performance increases and are allowed to keep tips. Fonz, Kiln manager, says, “the owners have done a really good job at planning for how the pandemic may affect us, so a lot of us have been able to have peace of mind through this whole thing. We don’t have to worry about job stability, job security, or wage security.”
Typically as wages rise, menu prices increase as well. This is so businesses can easily balance funds. Plus, with concerns about the extreme duress the food and beverage industry was under because of the pandemic, the raise in wages can create a new challenge. However, even with the wage increase Kiln Coffee Bar is all about selling honest coffee. In turn, no one has to spend $7 on a latte. Fonz adds, “the last thing that we want to look at is menu increase. We like to stay honest with our menu pricing. We don’t want to have Denver pricing.”
Instead, Kiln balances the financial books with merchandise and coffee bean sales. In addition, since employees are already paid more than $12.32 an hour, Kiln says it won’t have to worry about raising anything this year. Fonz says, “we have gotten so much support from the town, and how the owners have planned their finances to keep us ahead of the curve, we don’t have to deal with the minimum wage.”