2023 AR Minimum Wage Guide for Restaurants

August 9, 2023

What is the minimum wage in Arkansas in 2023?

The minimum wage in Arkansas stands at $11.00, which is above the federal minimum wage of $7.25. Below is a 10 year view of the AR minimum wage:

  • 2014 - $7.25

  • 2015 - $7.25

  • 2016 - $8.00

  • 2017 - $8.50

  • 2018 - $8.50

  • 2019 - $9.25

  • 2020 - $10.00

  • 2021 - $11.00

  • 2022 - $11.00

  • 2023 - $11.00

Source: Arkansas Minimum Wage by Labor Law Center

Additional facts about the AR minimum wage:

  • Arkansas’ push for a higher minimum wage above $8.50 was approved by ballot in November  2018

  • $2.63 per hour is the minimum wage for tipped employees in AR. This amount plus tips must equal at least the state minimum wage.

  • When working up to 20 hours per week, full-time students can receive 85 percent of the Arkansas minimum wage.

  • On a national level, Arkansas ranked 18th in highest minimum wage, which is very competitive when compared to the cost of living in coastal regions of the US. 

Boosting Your Wages in Arkansas

Navigating slim small business or restaurant margins requires creativity. Enhancing staff compensation through increased gratuity benefits both your business and employees, creating a win-win situation.

  1. Opt for Card Tipping: Elevate guest satisfaction and drive higher tips by offering quick and convenient payment options through credit card tipping. Simplifying the payment process not only benefits the patrons but also encourages them to be more generous with their gratuity, while also boosting overall sales.

  2. Prioritize Hosting Team Excellence: The cornerstone of exceptional dining experiences lies in the first impression. Make a lasting impact on your guests by prioritizing a team of hosts that excel at creating warm and attentive welcomes. Beyond meeting wait-time expectations and acknowledging reservations, they set the stage for generous tips by ensuring that customers feel valued right from the start.

  3. Boost Table Turnover: The adage "time is money" holds particularly true in the restaurant industry. Efficiently managing guest flow within 45 minutes per guest not only increases the overall number of customers served but also creates a sense of urgency that can positively impact tipping. When patrons have a smooth and timely dining experience, they're more likely to show their appreciation through higher gratuities.

  4. Master Upselling Skills: The art of upselling goes beyond mere financial gain—it's about enhancing the customer experience while also boosting staff tips. Equipping your team with the skills to upsell effectively transforms routine orders into memorable dining adventures. By training staff to make compelling recommendations and crafting menus that naturally encourage exploration, you can enjoy the dual benefits of satisfied patrons and increased gratuities.

  5. Adopt Tableside POS: Embrace innovation with handheld tablet point-of-sale (POS) systems that revolutionize the dining experience. Not only do these systems expedite ordering and payment processes, but they also empower staff to offer personalized recommendations and special add-ons at the table. The convenience and added value contribute to increased sales and, consequently, amplified tips for your dedicated staff.

Competitive Wages Come From High Margins

Offering competitive wages isn't out of reach for small business owners! Discover these effective strategies to boost your margins.

  1. Maximize Menu Profitability: Craft your menu strategically to amplify profits. Feature high-revenue items, integrate premium ingredients, and adjust portion sizes and prices intelligently, all while upholding customer satisfaction.

  2. Optimize with Technology: Enhance efficiency through advanced technology such as POS systems, online orders, and reservations. Smart scheduling during peak hours and prudent labor allocation during quieter periods minimize costs while sustaining quality service.

  3. Savings Matter: Exercise meticulous control over food costs—manage inventory, minimize waste, negotiate advantageous supplier deals, and explore bulk purchases. Keep menu prices aligned with ingredient fluctuations and market trends.

  4. Boost Margins with Loyalty Programs: Foster a devoted customer base via impactful loyalty programs and branding. Despite potential initial investments, these strategies guarantee enduring margin expansion. Regular patrons not only increase spending but also visit more frequently, driving ongoing success.

Closing Thoughts

Having a grasp on Arkansas's wage regulations and improving how you compensate your team is seriously important for both employers and employees. Keeping up with the rules and putting smart plans into action not only creates an awesome workplace but also helps you attract top-notch talent and inspire amazing service, which all adds up to growing your business. Best of luck with your business journey!

Need more tips? Recommend Reads: