Mike DeRosa has been a restaurant owner for 30 years. He bought a single Burger King franchise in 1983 and now owns twelve across central and western Wisconsin with his partner, Gene Hatfield. As a successful restaurateur, he employs between 300 and 325 people, depending on the season. Many of them have worked with him for decades.
Having worked, at one time or another, every job in a fast-food restaurant, he knows what it’s like to be one of his employees, and he worries about how changes in government policies, such as the minimum wage and Obamacare, will affect not only his business, but his employees as well.
“We always see if there’s a way we can do more for our employees,” he tells me. “But if you’re running on the tight margins that restaurants do – we’re not talking about 10 or 15 percent, you’re looking at margins of 2 to 5 percent, but even 5 is pushing it – there’s only so much we can do.”