Ever since the recent State of the Union Address where President Obama championed raising the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, the usual natterers and naysayers have been all abuzz with political attacks and alarmist predictions. At the same time, a number of businesses, ranging from Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor in Dania Beach to mega-retailer The Gap, have publicly endorsed the higher minimum wage and have already started to raise pay rates for their lowest income employees. “Today, Caffe Luna Rosa of Delray Beach is proudly joining their parade – and we are doing so because we believe it is in the best, long-term financial interests of both the restaurant and our loyal, hard-working staff,” says the restaurant’s founder/partner Fran Marincola. “While others have every right to ponder whether the federal government, or any government for that matter, should be dictating to independent business owners how much they should pay the people they employ, at our small, beachfront restaurant, we believe human reality trumps political theory every time,” he says. Accordingly, after careful consideration, the Caffé Luna Rosa management team decided that bringing all our hourly employees up to $10.10 an hour would have several positive benefits. Approximately 20 employees will be positively impacted by this higher minimum wage. “We see giving our employees a reasonable increase as an investment in our restaurant, one that is good for business both short term and long term,” says Marincola. “It’s also just the right thing to do.” “For years, we have been guided by the philosophy that it makes sense to invest in our employees because they are the people that are the first contact with our customers, he adds. “At Caffé Luna Rosa, wages and benefits make up about a third of our expenses, with food costs and operating costs making up the difference. We invest in quality food products, such as Eggland’s Best eggs and certified San Marzano tomatoes, because we know it is what our customers want. “At the same time, we invest in our employees because we have seen it translate into better customer service as most of our team members take a longer view of their employment with us and begin to take ownership in their jobs as well as in the restaurant as a whole.” That’s why, over the years, Caffe Luna Rosa has consistently helped employees set up bank accounts with direct deposit so they can avoid having to pay check-cashing fees. The restaurant also has helped staff members navigate the process of buying a car and even getting their first mortgage. In addition, Marincola and his team have helped fellow employees become American citizens. “As a direct result, most of our workers embrace Caffe Luna Rosa as more than just a job, we are part of their family, and this almost always translates into their providing our guests with superior customer service,” says Marincola. “Finally, we believe that investing in employees is not only good for business, but also good for the community we serve. So, after taking a hard look at the numbers, we decided that this was not only a bearable expense, but it was also a business investment that will pay large dividends in the long run.” For more information or to experience Caffe Luna Rosa visit www.caffelunarosa.com.