Challenges that the NY Restaurant Industry Faces

Author: Hans & Associates, P.C.

New York restaurant owners are subject to numerous NY statutes that regulate minimum wages, tip allowances, overtime work, uniforms, meal allowances and rates for spread of hours (days exceeding 10 work hours). With the passage of New York’s recent Wage Theft Prevention Act in 2010, lawsuits against NY restaurant owners are on the rise, with class actions brought against large restaurant chains, but also lawsuits against mid-sized and small restaurant owners.

According to a New York Post article in September, 2011, tip lawsuits have driven some restaurants out of business. Over the past few years, one law firm handling employee plaintiff cases has settled nearly $30 million handling tip and wage complaints.

A heavily regulated industry

While daily restaurant operation presents its own challenges, requiring owners to keep down food costs and other expenses to stay profitable, the Restaurant Industry Minimum Wage Order CR 137 presents restaurant owners with numerous regulations. Employers must keep extensive records for six years for each employee that detail:

    Occupational classification
    Gross wages
    Wage deductions
    Allowances (tip, meals, etc.)
    Student classification with statements from schools
    Cash paid
    Uniform laundering/maintenance
    Wage statements provided to employees

Like it or not, regulatory compliance is a cost of doing business. Restaurant owners must comply with employee wage laws while keeping their restaurants financially afloat. Working with a knowledgeable certified professional accountant (CPA) and experienced New York employment attorneys in Long Island City can help restaurant owners stay out of legal trouble and protect their bottom lines.

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