Restaurant owner pays $20 per hour: 'I believe if you pay them well, they will do a great job'

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Saturday, July 16, 2022
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Saul Castillo opened Bussin Pizza three weeks ago in the former home of Subconscious on Hillsborough Street.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- As some restaurants struggle to hire staff, one Raleigh eatery owner says he's found the secret to obtaining and retaining good workers: Pay them a decent wage.

Saul Castillo opened Bussin Pizza three weeks ago in the former home of Subconscious on Hillsborough Street. He pays his employees at least $20 per hour.

"I believe if you pay them well, they will do a great job," he said. "It works both ways."

Saul has three full-time employees and then has temporary staff come in on the weekends to help out.

It will cost you a few more dollars to get the pizza too because of inflation and because Saul doesn't want to skimp on ingredients.

"This is a great location because you get college students and also the neighborhood over here," Saul said. "So I see myself here for 40 years."

Gerald Cohen, an economist and professor at UNC's Kenan Flagler Business School, believes bar and restaurants workers have been vastly underpaid for years.

"We really need to pay them more," he said. "That's beneficial to society. As long as you don't have the inflationary spiral, this could be a really positive outcome. It just means it might cost more people to go to a restaurant."

Randy Hernandez is finding he has to spend more for ingredients and staff at his restaurants like Casa Cubana in Wake Forest.

He's been vocal about his troubles finding to find staff for the past year and half

"So we've had to increase our prices a little and watch our portions," Randy said. "We've increased pay and I'm not saying guaranteeing pay but for servers, they see the volume and money they can make so I'm retaining servers."

Randy said people are coming but they're not wanting to work "as hard as I used to. They want more money but less responsibility."