Although the company did have to raise the price of its products to compensate for the increased payrolls, it was only a minute increase.
Over the years, Chef Kevin Roberts has had the opportunity to travel to and reside in several states across the United States. His travels exposed him to a vast variety of flavors, ingredients, and diets, which combined with his passion for fitness, led to the inception of Fit Chef Catering — a meal prep company that removes "all of the guesswork when it comes to eating a balanced diet." While his business provides customers respite from the mental gymnastics involved in maintaining a healthy diet, Roberts also wanted to give his employees relief from worrying about their finances. So, a few weeks ago, he decided that his company has outgrown Mississippi's minimum wage rate of $7.25.
Taking to Facebook to explain his decision, Roberts shared how this move has helped his business flourish better than ever. "'We raised our minimum wage.' Two weeks ago, I raised the minimum wage across my entire company," he wrote. "Going from a previous $9/hr, to now a minimum wage of $11/hr. $11/hr is now the entry-level pay for my company. (Mind you, we are in Mississippi, where the cost of living is lower and this is above average for the surrounding area.) Along with raising the minimum wage, we also gave ALL current and existing employees a pay increase that matches. With the average employee making $13-15/hr."
Roberts went on to reveal that the revised pay scale structure "also includes a free daily meal, monthly tip outs, monthly performance bonuses, and options for employer-based group medical insurance." Although the company did have to raise the price of its products to compensate for the increased payrolls, he shared that it was only a minute increase. "To compensate for this increase in payroll, as well as the increase in costs of goods, we raised the prices of our products by 11-13%," Roberts explained. "Which equals to a total increase of $.50-$.75 per meal. WE RAISED OUR PRICES LESS THAN $1!"
The business owner then listed out all the improvements he's seen since increasing the minimum wage. "Employee tardiness is down," he revealed. "Callouts have reduced. Employee morale is at an all-time high. Teamwork is at an all-time high. Product quality is at its absolute best. Employees are stepping up in leadership. We have more applications on hand than the last 3 months. Production is at an all-time high."
Furthermore, within a week of adopting the new pay scale structure, the business saw its highest-grossing sales week since opening three years ago. "And we are expected to have a growth of near 30-40% about to occur in the next month with the opening of a new location," Roberts shared. "I can't tell others how they should run their business, but I will say this. The best thing I ever did for my company was take a long hard look at how I was leading and began working on my leadership. I went from leading with an 'iron fist' to now a compassionate heart. Needless to say, the results speak for themselves!"
As the post went viral with over 27k likes and 46k shares, hundreds of netizens praised Roberts for doing what he can to improve his staff's lives. "As a past service worker, to know my business was willing to try and do better for me would make a world's difference. If most places were to take a tip from you, they would be doing a lot better. Also, that free meal is clutch, as small as it may be, after you've been working for a place for a year or so you'll have saved a good chunk of change," commented Evan Davis. "Considering that Mississippi has a terribly low minimum wage, that pay rate is pretty generous. Out here in Oregon minimum wage is 14/hour and cost of living wage is closer to $20/hour," wrote Han Thu White-Duong.