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Local restaurants decrease their need for staff

Safehouse in North Park no longer uses servers to take orders.
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People seeking employment in the San Diego restaurant industry are finding it harder to find positions according to one new study conducted by the Point Loma Nazarene University.

Local eateries are not hiring people like they used to.

There are more than 125,000 restaurant hospitality workers in San Diego, but these positions have declined over the last seven years.

This wane in jobs may be to the recent county-wide minimum wage hike according to the PLNU study.  

Last summer San Diego voters raised hourly wages to $11.50 and over the course of the next several years that amount will raise to $15 an hour.

Chief economist, Lynn Reaser at PLNU gathered data on restaurant growth in San Diego and the state. She says she found after the vote, restaurant jobs began to diminish.

"We’ve already seen some experiments with robots, more efficient menu taking, iPads, electronic devices and that will only accelerate," Reaser said. 

North Park’s Safehouse has gone waitstaff-free since last year to adjust to the pay hike. Customers order menu items from the bar.

General Manager, Nathan Huckabone said, "The cost of business is going up and if we don't adjust we're not going to be here.”

The positive side, says Huckbone, is less turnover and more dedicated staff.

Gratuities are the life’s blood of the service industry and the $1.50 adds a little more than $3,000 a year to employee’s paychecks.