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NYC Steakhouse Owner Torched by Twitter Haters Over Objection to Rising Minimum Wage Costs

Willie “Jack” Degel, long an outspoken critic of rising minimum wages and their effect on restaurants, talked himself into the firestorm when he inadvertently knocked both his customers and his employees during an interview on national TV.

“One could conclude that more restaurants are closing than opening.”

— James Famularo, senior director of Eastern Consolidated.

Degel, who owns Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse and starred in Food Network’s reality television show “Restaurant Stakeout,” first put his foot in his mouth when he was asked about how the rising minimum wage affects his eateries.

Degel said he can’t just pass the added cost to his customers because they are “not educated” about the economics of running a restaurant.

Degel’s Twitter feed blew up with hate tweets.

The businessman also said it was harder to keep his employees today because wait staff, like those at other restaurants, have a “sense of entitlement.”

After the comments, made on “Fox & Friends,” Degel’s Twitter feed blew up with hate tweets.

“Omg! I would never patronize a place that thinks so little of its staff,” jacottrell tweeted. “Calling your staff entitled and prefer when they were servants? Good grief man!”

“This makes me sad,” tweeted sdusn06. “We go have brunch there at least once a month Guess We will find another place.”

While Degel clearly fumbled the interview, many restaurant owners are feeling the pain of rising minimum wages.

Many eateries are seeing their profits squeezed, or worse, as wages rise.

The amount of vacant food service space in Manhattan has never been higher, according to real estate experts. Read the rest of this entry »

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