SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — With California’s minimum wage set to increase on January 1, restaurants facing high rent and staffing costs said it’s a price they can’t afford, which is forcing some to close their doors.

“It’s bittersweet. It’s been 14 years. It’s been a good run,” said Phil Courey, the owner of Opa! Opa! Greek restaurant in East Sacramento.

Courey has been at his location on J street since 2006 and was set to close on Sunday until the community stepped in and begged him on social media to stay open.

“We had a couple thousand comments or responses and I wanted to take this through the holidays for my staff,” Courey said.

Opa! Opa! will now remain open until December 29.

The minimum wage increase, which will hit $13 per hour, applies to businesses with 26 or more workers. Employers with fewer than 26 workers will have to pay a minimum wage of $12 per hour.

When considering his operating costs, Courey said it is just unsustainable.

“The wages are definitely a heavy pressure on us,” he said. “About 40 grand a year every time they jack up the minimum wage.”

Meanwhile, another popular Sacramento restaurant closed under pressure.

In South Sacramento, Perry’s restaurant along Highway 99 served their final meals on Sunday. Some customers who lined up for the last meal were dismayed.

“It’s really sad just thinking about this,” Patricia Smith said. “It’s an institution. This is a Sacramento institution.”

For years, Perry’s was the go-to place for cops, truckers and customers looking for late-night eats. Paul Fraga bought the business from the original owner 10 years ago.

“California is a rough state to do small business,” Fraga said. “They want everybody to make $20 an hour, but for the smaller guy, I can’t afford that.”

It’s the fourth straight year the minimum wage has been increased and it’s expected to jump to $15 by 2023.

Courey said the increases are hurting mom and pop restaurants.

“We close our doors one-by-one, Perry’s after 50 years, today Fat City and others…you’ll see a few more closing just after the first of the year,” he said.

Comments (21)
  1. j b says:

    no tears for unemployed.

  2. Jonathan Goh says:

    Fine with me. If you can’t afford to pay your employees a measly minimum wage of $13 per hour, you probably shouldn’t be in business in the first place. There are plenty of better paying jobs out there.

    1. Mike L says:

      Yet, the employees still chose to work for this restaurant. Maybe it wasn’t all about money for them. Too bad others force legislation down their throat and take that choice away from them.

    2. Molly M. says:

      Yes! I came here to say this. Instead of blaming minimum wage, they should adjust their business model.

      “No business which depends for its existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level–I mean the wages of decent living.” Franklin D. Roosevelt

      1. Edwin BARKER says:

        The problem with Franklin Roosevelt’s logic is it would probably require higher prices for the customers so the owner can afford to pay that “living wage.” If customer’s refuse to pay the necessary prices, you need to blame them, not the business owner.

      2. J-West says:

        Restaurant jobs are not meant to be career opportunities except for exclusive places where prices allow for career-level paychecks.

        Restaurant and fast food work is a place where young people can learn to work … learn to show up on time … learn a bit about what to do with the money they earn and how many deduction governements take from your money.

        Service work of that type is also now a great place for seniors to pick up those extra few bucks to help with small pensions etc …. they always show up on time.

        The commies in California may demand that the capitalists pay more, but in the end all they do is lose the revenue from the capitalist who simply fold up the tent and move to more desirable quarters.

    3. Careless says:

      You people cheering on the employees getting fired and earning $0 because they weren’t getting paid an amount you consider sufficient are really sick.

    4. Get A. Clue says:

      Jonathan, you really should wed somebody named Fkyrself so that your full name becomes, “Jonathan Goh Fkyrself.”

    5. J-West says:

      Tell that to young kid who working to pay for his education on the current pay rate and doesn’t want to lose that job that he likes and that he also likes the other staff … friends n stuff.

      Most people have worked for a lot less than they need or want …. best solution, upgrade your skills, most will, but it takes time and money to make progress. Money that will now be denied to many service workers who will now be getting zero money, thanks to the commies of California.

  3. Historian says:

    First and only time I went to Perry’s I was overwhelmed by the smell of dirty mop water.

  4. DAVID BARON says:

    You are going out of business business your restaurant is filthy and the food is terrible. It is amazing how you could ruin eggs and serve the worst cup of coffee ever and blame the minimum wage.

    1. Chris says:

      Isn’t that what people do now, blame everyone else?

  5. Jayson Gawthorpe says:

    I’ve lived in Sac off and on for 40 years. I was born here. Amazing how I’ve never heard of these amazing places. Perhaps if they had advertised they could afford to pay a living wage.

  6. Rich Lather says:

    If you cant make it because you have to pay $12 an hour you are bad at business. Time to call Robert Irvine or Gordon Ramsey to straighten yourself out.

  7. Liberals just don’t like the idea of poor people being able to eat good food.
    That’s why they’ve been attacking restaurants for years now.
    Grocery stores will be next.

    1. Limit Fox News in your day says:

      If we were all as intelligent as you there would be no problems anymore.

  8. John says:

    In the 1960s I was paid $1.25 and was happy to get a job. After a year I was given a raise to $2.40 … Now I had a GREAT resume and I built on that . Now, I’m living in a penthouse suite, have a beautiful yacht … We must stop the government from controlling our lives! … ie daylight savings time.

  9. Sylvia Gibson says:

    My dad was one of the regular customers for over 40 years. He had 4am coffee and breakfast there daily and after mom passed, he had all his meals there. Not my type of food, yet they fed many and the staff was very caring and attentive to my 92 yr old dad.

  10. Mulder35 Mulder35 says:

    The problem is the bleeding heart liberals thinking that EVERYONE owes them a living… These jobs aren’t meant for full-time with benefits and a higher min. wage. The girls n guys that work there make alot of income on TIPS that they never tell you about or how much they make under-the-table. And DONT have to report that to the IRS!! Its decent money and even 30% more when you figure in its TAX-FREE…Sooo now if you protestors want these higher wages then watch how much the food will cost to stay in business. And NO TIPS then maybe I’d go.. be careful what you ask for California… if it isnt broke for 40 years DONT fix it.. or you’re the ones costing those workers their jobs!!!

  11. John C. says:

    Keep in mind that the people who worked at Perry’s chose to work there. No one forced them to work there. If there was a better choice, they would have made it. Now, the choice they made is gone. Does the closing make them better off and the now former customers better off?

    You can vilify the former owner all you want, but he and his restaurant are water under the bridge. The legislation lives on. There will be more water under more bridges.

  12. Lanh says:

    Profit margins in the restaurant business is not high at all, with rent, payroll, vendors, utilities, insurance, cable, internet, licensing fees, linen laundry fees, pest control services, plumbing, electrical, every thing in the restaurant from toilet paper, napkins, condiments, spoons, forks, cleaning supplies, etc. are all bought out of pocket from restaurant owners.. now on top of that increased in minimum wage. (servers also makes tips that people aren’t factoring in towards their pay). the only way a restaurant can supplement that additional cost is increasing the food price. everyone jumps for joy for minimum wage, but they don’t factor in that the business, whether big or small will have to increase the cost of goods. so even though you get paid more by the hour, you are now paying more for your goods as well. and it’s not that restaurant owners don’t know how to run a business, its the state of California with all its liberal rules, that make it for any owner to make any profit.

Leave a Reply