Restaurant owner reacts to new minimum wage in Illinois

Local News

Illinois’ minimum wage is now $12 an hour. It will increase one dollar per year until 2025 when it reaches $15 an hour.

Virginia Castro, the owner of El Mariachi in Moline, and says the new minimum wage is just one of the many struggles business owners are going through.

“At this time of year, it’s our slow season and the bills are higher because of the heat. The heat is more expensive this year everything is going up the meat prices have really gone up,” said Castro.

There are times when she has to see what vendor has the best prices for her business.

“A box for our to-go boats or something would be $14-$15. Now it’s up to $30, you know – $30-$25. It varies. I try to go to different sources to see where I could get the best deal,” said Castro.

They notice business goes down as the weather gets colder.

“Like for the winter sometimes, it could be 15-20 people, maybe 50 people a day. In the summer we could have over 100 people or more at different times throughout the day. It just depends,” said Castro.

She’s been able to stay afloat because of her catering business. “Luckily, I subcontract I go to different companies and do lunch. That’s what keeps me going. If it wasn’t for that we would really be struggling,” said Castro.

While minimum wage in Illinois is on the rise, minimum wage in Iowa is still at $7.25. It’s been at that level for more than a decade.

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