Re: “Maine Voices: Raising the minimum wage is self-defeating for Maine, bad for business” (Aug. 5), by Ben Michaud:

Mr. Michaud, a chartered financial analyst, once more verified for me that the so-named experts know nothing about their subject matter. He says it would hurt small-business owners to raise the minimum wage. Apparently he has no idea how profitable and vibrant our small businesses in general are.

Take, for example, the restaurant business. Greater Portland is second only to San Francisco in restaurants per capita. Owners of franchise operations such as Burger King, Wendy’s, McDonald’s, etc., can expand into more than one unit. And there are non-franchise operations that start with one restaurant and grow (like David’s).

For example, a local McDonald’s owner has five units, pays a manager for each one and pays a district manager to oversee the five managers and their units. Meanwhile, the owner doesn’t work. How does one manage to own such an operation?

Two reasons: There is good profit in food, and greater profit in paying the minimum wage. In very simple basics, the operations are built on the backs of their minimum-wage workers. I could give you example upon example of the owners of operations that started as single restaurants who have been able to send all their children to college, burn the mortgage and retire with a healthy nest egg.

Let me illustrate some more examples: Amato’s Sandwich Shops, Dunkin’ Donuts, Pat’s Pizza, etc. – all built on the profits most generate by not paying their employees a decent wage.

My credentials aren’t as impressive as Mr. Michaud’s. I’m just a person who grew up in the restaurant business of my father’s, doing everything from washing toilets to working as a manager.

So stop getting wealthy off your employees’ backs. Share some of your wealth with them. Raise the minimum wage.

Peter Hassapelis


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.