Vicksburg restaurant owner raises minimum wage to thank hard-working staff

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT
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VICKSBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - As the debate over raising minimum wage in the state rages on, a local caterer in Vicksburg is providing extra money and incentives to his staff to thank them for their consistent labor and hard work.

Over at Fit Chef in Vicksburg, the owner is helping all his employees stay afloat during the pandemic, and the special steps he is taking are also helping boost his business.

Owner Kevin Roberts recently raised the minimum wage at his company from $9 to $11 an hour for all entry level positions.

He also gave all existing employees a pay increase, with the average employee making $13 to $15 dollars an hour. Some are earning even more.

Roberts says he wants his business to be an example of how employees should be treated, especially after seeing so many people in the state working hard, yet still struggling to make a decent paycheck and not being treated fairly.

“They know I love them,” he said. “I actually give and pour into them. I give them books on a daily basis, I have a few of us who work out together. Of course, money, I am giving bonuses all the time and if they have anything substantial they need in life, I make sure they have what they need.”

Jonathon Johnson is grateful for the extra money and recognition this job offers him. He has been working here for a year and the job has changed his life for the better.

“I actually became a better father, better person just being here around the people who push me, so I appreciate it here,” said Johnson.

Roberts says since raising the pay and providing other incentives for his workers, he has seen sales soar.

“Giving away a little bit of my portion to make other people happy has made my piece of the pie bigger, and it has made everybody’s pie bigger,” he said.

The minimum wage in Mississippi is $7.25. It’s the same in Alabama and Louisiana. The highest in the Southeast is in Arkansas at $11 an hour. It’s $8.65 in Florida.

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