Philadelphia restaurateur more than doubling minimum wage for employees

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Right now the minimum wage in Philadelphia is $7.25.

So far, attempts to raise it on the federal level have been unsuccessful, but that's not stopping a local small business owner from implementing it herself for her own employees.

Nicole Marquis has become a real force in Philadelphia's restaurant scene.

Nine years ago she opened her first HipCityVeg in Center City, and just kept adding to her collection of vegan eateries.

Now, the female, Latina businesswoman is more than doubling the minimum wage for all of her employees to $15 an hour.

"Our employees have been asking for it and I think it's going to make a really positive difference in their lives," said Marquis. "This is our opportunity to really show our commitment with our actions and give all of our hourly employees a minimum of $15 an hour."

During the pandemic, Marquis started Save Philly Restaurants, a group of about 300 local, small businesses trying to stay afloat.

She helped lobby local, state and federal officials for help with funding and resources.

Marquis also helped her fellow restaurateurs and their families get free COVID-19 tests and vaccines.

Even though this has been a tough year for business, Marquis knows that rebuilding starts with her team.

"We know that in the beginning, this is going to add some costs. Absolutely. But in the long run, it's going to help with retention. It's going to help with turnover and recruiting and, more importantly, the company culture," she said.

Marquis currently has about 180 employees. Her $15 minimum wage for employees kicks in starting in July.
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