LETTER: The sobering reality of the minimum wage increase

Letting no good crisis go to waste, David Cooley/Abbey Bar has just raised its drink prices across the board by $1.00/drink. As if they were not outrageous enough already. Considering serving about 5,000 drinks per weekend day, it adds up quickly.

By the time that the new minimum wage laws go into effect, he will no doubt raise the prices again and blame it on the wage increase, COVID and anything else that can be dreamt up.
Will he have to raise the food prices in order to stay in compliance with the State of CA liquor license rules mandating that food and alcohol sales should be about even in order to maintain a “47 License”? Doubt it. He knows that it’s a bar and not a restaurant.

Who wins?:
● Bartenders (nearly all of which live outside of West Hollywood) charging more and getting higher tips.
● Staff (nearly all of which live outside of West Hollywood) receiving higher wages
● David Cooley getting higher revenue
● All other bars and restaurants that will increase their prices to come up to market rate.

Who loses?
● Local Weho patrons having to pay even more to purchase the product
Who’s not very affected?:
● Tourists and occasional visitors to Weho who accept the higher prices but do not experience it too often.

Ah, the power of GREED!!

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Keith Kaplan
17 days ago

I can’t help but wonder if the people commenting here have any idea of the realities of running a restaurant today. Do they understand that a restaurant is lucky if they are running margins of 6%? Do they have any idea of how much our restaurants lost last year due to the extended closures during the pandemic? Or the tens of thousands of dollars lost in perishable foods each time when they had to close in an instant as protestors marched into our city? How about the costs to restaurants last year just to make physical changes to comply with… Read more »

Frank
Frank
17 days ago

This is all about David Cooley making more money, not the workers. Duhhhhh. Don’t blame the wage increase – blame David Cooley.

angry gay pope
20 days ago

The woman who owns YOGURT STOP told me Abbey owner Cooley was taking a FULL PAYCHECK all the time his bar was closed and he had nothing to do and his staff was earning ZILCH.

RJL
RJL
17 days ago
Reply to  angry gay pope

His staff was collecting unemployment benefits plus the government supplement which is over 50K/year. Cooley shoulders the financial responsibilities of his organization. And more importantly, why is it anyone’s business what HE does with HIS hard earned money???

Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
20 days ago

Mr. Cooley “wins” only if the higher prices result in higher profits. Higher revenue is not a win when they reflect higher expenses. Simple math, simple business.

Randy
Randy
20 days ago
Reply to  Alan Strasburg

Alan, exactly. And, not that it matters, you wouldn’t catch me at the Abbey any day of the week, unless I was entertaining an out-of-town visitor who insisted on going there. And I will tell him/her, to bury your phone deep in your front pocket. And not to leave your drink unattended.

Eric Jon Schmidt
Eric Jon Schmidt
20 days ago

Too bad the Gold Coast couldn’t stay open and the Abbey close. The Abbey is so lame. It was interesting 20 years ago, but now its just pitiful, sad and tired. The bar is like an old lady smoking and drinking at the end of a bar knowing her prime is over. And in fact, there are plenty of straight women at the Abbey smoking on the patio. The food sucks, the servers have attitude and the atmosphere blows. If you go during the day, it is so hot and humid with tons of flies buzzing around and landing on… Read more »

Randy
Randy
20 days ago

The Abbey, a dive bar? Do you know what a dive bar looks like, or feels like? Seriously? As much as I loathe that place, it is as far from being a dive bar is it could get. Gold Coast, Faultline, The Eagle, Motherlode, Mickey’s (before they renovated), and even Gym Bar, those were/are dive bars. And I miss the ones that didn’t survive, or renovated into something else.

angry gay pope
20 days ago

What? A friend took me to the Abbey a few weeks ago. The food was excellent, the portions large and the prices moderate for a pandemic. I told the server “We ordered too much food because we thought the portions would be small and pandemic sized but they are not!” She said “Absolutely. No skimping here.”

Kip Thompson
Kip Thompson
20 days ago
Reply to  angry gay pope

Well, take a look of the filth on top of the rafters in the dance area, the filthy chandeliers in the kitchen, the broken lights along the front gates. And the city has installed mega bright used-car-lot acid white led lights in front to super light up the decay. You walk out of the place into this searing white light and think you’re in the Haunted Mansion. Interesting choices by all if wanting to make the place relaxing and welcoming.

C.R.
C.R.
20 days ago

LMAO! How many more diatribes about the minimum wage are there going to be? This is more like a support group now for penny pinching elitists clinging desperately to their entitlements they should just be thankful they have held for this long. You know what works great in WeHo as an alternative to dropping money at The Abbey? Undercutting! You don’t try to match them in price, you halve your prices and increase your customer demand. The only thing in WeHo that’s prospering regardless of the economy, are bars! This is literally what has made The Bayou and Motherlode successful.… Read more »

Randy
Randy
20 days ago
Reply to  C.R.

Thank you for putting some perspective on this. On your note, Gym Bar is back to their “two-for-ones,” between 4 and 8 PM.

angry gay pope
20 days ago
Reply to  C.R.

I agree. Fiesta Cantina is ALWAYS busy.

Steve Lamson
Steve Lamson
21 days ago

By not disclosing the name of the writer of the “letter” makes this collection of words meaningless. No respectable journalistic operation would allow this. My once a month glance at this website just got fulfilled and now will change to once in a blue moon.

By citing that the bartenders and staff who “nearly all of which live outside of Weho” is an odd unverified statement to make. Are you insinuating Cooley discriminates against job applicants from Weho?

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
21 days ago
Reply to  Steve Lamson

I totally agree with you here. There are several unverified statements in this “letter”.

Randy
Randy
20 days ago
Reply to  Steve Lamson

Completely agree. “Contributor?” Not everyone in the comments section here reveals their first and/or last name. But if you are going to put an editorial out there, shouldn’t you affix your name to it?

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
21 days ago

Are people honestly just expecting drink and food prices to stay the same over time while inflation soars?

Also- no one ever goes to the Abbey expecting a reasonably priced drink.

JF1
JF1
20 days ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

No one expects the prices of anything to stay the same however prices just went up at all the restaurants and bars because of Covid and on top of that the city is now increasing the minimum wage. Prices will once again go up. People won’t be able to afford to go out as much and that means less customers. That will force businesses in the long run to raise prices even more to make up for the lost revenue. Combine that with high inflation and the economy is going to head further south.

Counter
Counter
20 days ago
Reply to  JF1

On the other hand, we typically hear that minimum wage is only intended for entry-level jobs and young workers.

If so many West Hollywood employers are paying the bare minimum, then why are so many businesses dependent on greenhorn labor?

JF1
JF1
21 days ago

Tipping started because servers were making far less than minimum wage. Now that the City of West Hollywood will have servers making almost $20 an hour, there should be NO MORE TIPPING or far less than the 15-20% that is currently typical. Pretty soon the only people that can afford to shop or dine here will only be tourist and the wealthy. All the people that they want to build affordable housing for will not be able to shop, eat or drink or buy products in this city.

Joshua88
Joshua88
21 days ago

How much are the drinks at The Abbey?

Joshua88
Joshua88
21 days ago

Looks like a win-win for workers and business owners. Who could possibly complain about that?

Why hide behind anonymity????

WehoFan
WehoFan
21 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Fewer customers means less money for everyone.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
21 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Exactly. I just don’t get the notion that increasing the minimum wage was a bad idea because it primarily helped low income people who “don’t live in our City”, which has been a common thread among the unending pro-Chamber of Commerce commentaries. I suppose that the only “losers” are the go-go dancers as higher drink prices may leave a bit less for the g-strings. But I imagine they will get by.

Randy
Randy
20 days ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Thank you, Steve. I also imagine that bartenders at The Abbey make plenty enough to afford to live in the City of WeHo. Other bars, not so much. If this opinion piece cited some kind of statistics, or study, I might think twice.

Live Work Play
Live Work Play
21 days ago
Reply to  Joshua88

Who could complain? Maybe customers who have to spend more of the hard earned money they got from working. But you’re right, the business breaks even by covering their extra cost through higher prices. No complaint there, unless the customers take their hard earned money to Silverlake.

voter
voter
20 days ago
Reply to  Live Work Play

Thank you Live Work Play for an intelligent comment! The others see only one side of the issue. They don’t seem to realize–or care–that it will hurt their own pocketbooks.

Randy
Randy
20 days ago
Reply to  Live Work Play

If you live in WeHo, are you seriously going to go all the way across town, risking a DUI, or worse (an accident involving alcohol, which could result in someone being hurt, or killed), or pay exorbitant Uber prices to get there? It doesn’t help that there are really only two gay bars standing over there, which includes Akbar and The Eagle. And I’m not even sure if the latter is back open for business.

Live Work Play
Live Work Play
20 days ago
Reply to  Randy

I may or may not live in Weho and I wasn’t talking about me. But staying on point, most working customers that visit the Abbey don’t live in Weho. So traveling someplace else or staying in Silverlake (example) for more value is common sense.

Randy
Randy
20 days ago
Reply to  Live Work Play

What place in Silverlake compares to The Abbey? I mean, if you are into that type of place, with all of the excess? I believe it is the environment that draws the visitors to LA, and people who live in LA, but not in WeHo. And the go-go dancers. I certainly avoid it.

Woody McBreairty
Woody McBreairty
21 days ago

Didn’t Cooley get one of those “COVID Relief” loans from the U.S. government for $5 million? As I recall that is the case. And as I recall, the “loan” was forgiven & not required to be repaid because he said he would use it to keep on all of his staff. If that is the case, which I think it is, $5 million would last far beyond one year for paying his employees. .

08mellie
08mellie
21 days ago

If this is true, then he’s just doing a money grab.

Randy
Randy
20 days ago

I’ve heard worse. The executive branch of our government (run by Trump, at the time), handed out PPP loans to his favorite millionaires/billionaires, heads of multi-national corporations, who didn’t need the money to begin with.

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