Like many of you, I received the email from IAAPA to oppose the minimum wage increase.
I can see how the minimum wage increase can reduce the labor force, diminish the quality of service, eliminate profitability, increaseticket costs to guests—all ofwhich canpotentially decline tourism and negatively impact the amusements industry we all love.
Many savvy owners are already exploring ways to get self-service kiosks for game cards or point-of-sale systems.
Heck, some may even be thinking of moving to a facility that's run without staff members like some of the 24-hour fitness centers that are popping up.
The trigger events like this force businesses to start thinking differently and take actions. In the case of rising minimum wages, here are three little changes that will make a big difference:
1. Embrace Automation
Employers should always be streamlining the business and automating the repetitive work that requires little effort. An example is automating your party booking process to overcome this manual and inefficient process.
Since 34% of parties are booked outside of business hours, having party booking automation integrated with your website ensures you're not leaving money on the table. It also frees up time so your staff can do the things that enhance the guest experience at your facility.
2. Pay more than minimum wage
Paying more than minimum wage might not be a change you wanted to hear, so bear with me. Any employer wants to attract those rock starswho do things that few people can do like enhancing the guest experience or share an idea with the masses.
When you pay minimum wage, you're telling staff members, "We're going to pay you as little as possible in order to fill a job. If you don't do the job well, we'll just find someone else who wants it." If you were the employee, would you want to go above and beyond if someone told you that?
You want to create a culture that gets everyone to contribute as much as they can, not as little as possible. Don't just hire high school or college students, hire brand ambassadors who love your company. That's how you create the Disney Experience andset an example for employmentin your market.
3. Create new revenue streams
Who doesn't want additional sources of revenue—especially during the slow summer months?
Creating new revenue streams can take some time and energy, but it's doable when you talk to customers and find ways to help them get accomplish jobs they're looking to complete.
I've seen some customers offering creative services like parent's night out where parents drop kids off at facilities for a few hours. If you're selling the service online, you increase your chances of reaching and closing the sale around the clock.
There's a Chinese proverb that says, "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." You don't have to wait for an increase in minimum wage or other things outside your control to happen to you.
Instead of telling congress to oppose the minimum wage, I decided to take action in another way. That's to share these thoughts with you.
Let's create an industry that sets the standard for employment for other industries. Let's find more ways to provide quality employment opportunities for young people. Let's come up with other ways to innovate and discuss them with the community.