Mississippi small business owner raises wages, sees sales go up

The minimum wage has been one of the most hotly debated political issues in the country over the past decade. Those that are against raising the wage claim it will lead to unemployment and business closures.

Supporters of an increase in the minimum wage believe that it will not only benefit workers but help small businesses by increasing consumer spending, spurring productivity, and lowering workplace turnover.

Business owners tend to be against raising the minimum wage because it raises the cost of doing business. However, a small business owner and chef in central Mississippi raised the minimum wage at his company and things couldn’t have gone better.


It’s a great lesson on how people will provide you even more value when you show they’re valuable.

Two weeks ago, Kevin Roberts, the owner of Fit Chef Catering in Vicksburg raised the entry-level wage from $9 an hour to $11 across his entire company.

While many in the U.S. are fighting to raise it to $15, Mississippi has the lowest minimum wage at $7.25 an hour, so the rise to $9 is considerable. Plus, Mississippi has the lowest cost of living in the United States. Hawaii, which has the highest, has a minimum age of $10.10.

Roberts didn’t just give a lot of people a raise, but some great perks as well.

“This new payscale structure also includes a free daily meal, monthly tip outs, monthly performance bonuses and options for employer based group medical insurance,” he wrote in a Facebook post that has gone viral.

All of these new incentives meant he had to raise the price of his products by 11 to 13% which adds up to about $.50-$.75 per meal.

After improving his employee’s compensation, he noticed that there were eight very positive changes to his business.

  1. Employee tardiness is down
  2. Callouts have been reduced
  3. Employee morale is at an all-time high
  4. Teamwork is at an all-time high
  5. Product quality is at its absolute best
  6. Employees are stepping up in leadership
  7. We have more applications on hand than in the last three months
  8. Production is at an all-time high.

“And, since we are a business,” Roberts wrote. “Last week was the HIGHEST grossing sales week we have had as a company since opening 3 years ago. And we are expected to have a growth of near 30-40% about to occur in the next month with the opening of a new location.”

The whole experience has changed the way Roberts sees himself and his business.

“The best thing I ever did for my company was take a long hard look at how I was leading and began working on my leadership,” he wrote. “I went from leading with an ‘iron fist’ to now a compassionate heart. Needless to say, the results speak for themselves!”

The Fit Chef Catering story shows that there doesn’t always have to be an adversarial relationship between business and labor. It proves that sometimes raising wages can be a win-win for everyone involved.

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