2023 Georgia Minimum Wage Guide for Restaurants

2023 Georgia Minimum Wage Guide for Restaurants

July 17, 2023

What is the minimum wage in Georgia in 2023?

In 2023, the minimum wage in GA state is $7.25. Below is GA’s minimum wage over the last 5 years. Georgia’s state minimum wage is one of the lowest in the country at $5.15 per hour. Therefore Georgia follows the Federal minimum wage at $7.25.

  • 2018 - $7.25

  • 2019 - $7.25

  • 2020 - $7.25

  • 2021 - $7.25

  • 2022 - $7.25

  • 2023 - $7.25

Source: Minimum Wages by Year in Georgia by Labor Law Center

How is the Georgia minimum wage set?

The minimum wage is influenced by various factors, and three core variables that often dictate the minimum wage are:

  1. State of the Local Labor Market: The state of the labor market also significantly impacts the minimum wage. In a situation where there are numerous job opportunities and a shortage of available workers, employers may be compelled to offer higher wages to attract and retain employees, including those paid the minimum wage. Conversely, in a sluggish job market with high unemployment rates, employers may feel less pressure to increase wages, even for minimum wage positions.

  2. Cost of Living for Residents: The cost of living refers to the amount of money required for basic necessities such as housing, food, healthcare, and transportation in a specific area. If the cost of living is high in a region, there is a greater likelihood that people will demand a higher minimum wage to meet their essential needs adequately.

  3. Purchasing Power (PP) and Inflation: Inflation leads to a continuous rise in the prices of goods and services, resulting in a decrease in the purchasing power of money. To ensure that the minimum wage remains valuable over time, it should be adjusted to keep pace with inflation. Failing to do so would leave workers struggling to afford the same goods and services they used to, leading to a decline in their standard of living.

Georgia State vs. Federal Minimum Wage

As mentioned earlier, Georgia’s state minimum wage is one of the lowest in the country at $5.15 per hour. Therefore Georgia follows the Federal minimum wage at $7.25.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is a federal law that connects the state minimum wage and federal minimum wage by establishing specific labor standards and protections for employees in the United States. Through the FLSA, the federal minimum wage is set, and states are given the choice to either adopt the federal minimum wage or establish a higher minimum wage that applies exclusively within their state borders.

Here's how the state minimum wage and federal minimum wage are connected:

  1. Federal Minimum Wage: The federal minimum wage established by the FLSA is $7.25 per hour. This means that, under federal law, covered employees are entitled to earn at least $7.25 per hour for their regular working hours.

  2. State Minimum Wage: Each state has the authority to set its own minimum wage. If a state chooses to set a minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum wage, employers within that state must comply with the higher state minimum wage.

  3. Higher of the Two: If a state has a minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum wage, employees in that state are entitled to receive the higher rate. The state minimum wage takes precedence over the federal minimum wage.

  4. Lower of the Two (Preemption): If a state's minimum wage is lower than the federal minimum wage, employers must follow the federal minimum wage rate instead. The FLSA preempts state laws that provide for a lower minimum wage than the federal standard.

Alternatives to Increase Compensation

Restaurant margins are thin! So the best way to improve compensation for your staff is to improve gratuity. It’s a win win for restaurant owners, customers, and both sides of the house.

  1. Higher Table Turn Over Rate = More Tips: The equation is straightforward – the more customers you can serve, the higher your potential tips! Achieving a swift table turnover rate, ideally within 45 minutes per guest, will result in substantial tip pools for your staff every night!

  2. Teach Your Staff to Upsell: If you increase the bill 10% then the tips will be 10% higher! But it takes skill and practice, so make sure to train your staff on how to do this. You can also design your menu so that upselling comes more naturally for both the staff and the customer.

  3. Invest in high quality hosts and hostesses: To set the stage for big tips, a very strong greeting for guests is crucial! Conversely, the opposite can happen if not done well. Don't skimp on your host staff! From the customer's perspective, they expect short wait times, acknowledgment of their reservations, and friendly attention. Achieving this amidst a busy service is no easy feat.

  4. Tableside POS Service: Tableside POS systems like handheld tablets increase your overall sales, create a ton of convenience for guests, speed up guest service, and all of this will lead to higher tips for your staff!

  5. Credit Card Tipping: Enhancing your guests' experience by offering a quick and convenient method for payment can significantly boost tips. Additionally, it improves overall sales and expedites the process of serving guests.

Increase Margins All Around

Improving margins creates more opportunity to compensate competitively in the restaurant industry. And with higher compensation comes higher quality staff who tend to stay longer (not always, but usually!). Here are some tips to boost those margins:

  1. Loyalty Programs & Marketing Strategy: Increasing your volume of regulars and repeat customers is a sure way to blow up your margins! Regulars spend more per visit and spend more frequently! Loyalty programs, strong branding, and other marketing strategies may require upfront investment, but will improve margins long-term.

  2. Design a Menu for Higher Margins: Check out which menu items bring in the most money and promote them. Try using popular or unique ingredients to justify higher prices for certain dishes. Adjust prices, portions, and ingredients to make more profit while keeping customers happy.

  3. Monitor Your Costs Closely: To maintain control over food and beverage costs, actively manage inventory, minimize waste, negotiate with suppliers for favorable deals, and consider bulk purchases. Regularly review the menu to make adjustments to prices for items with changing ingredient costs

  4. Streamline Operations: Utilize advanced technologies like point-of-sale systems, online orders, and reservation platforms to enhance service efficiency. Implement smart staff scheduling during busy times and avoid excessive labor costs during slower periods.

Wrapping Up…

So, to wrap it up, knowing the minimum wage rules and how to pay restaurant workers in GA is super important for both employers and employees. By keeping up with the latest wage laws and using smart tips to improve compensation, restaurant owners can build a fantastic workplace, attract the best people, and make sure their awesome staff feels appreciated and motivated to provide top-notch service. This all leads to the success and growth of their establishments!

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