When Donald Trump was announced the winner of the 2016 presidential election, the restaurant industry was the very last thing on my mind. Now that we've all had a few days to let the news sink in, it has become apparent that Trump's presidency will have a few major effects — both potentially good and bad — on the way in which restaurants will operate.
It's no surprise that Trump wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. While many people are against the healthcare act created by the Obama administration, the act requires restaurants with 50 or more full-time workers to provide health insurance to all employees.
With Trump as president, restaurant workers across the country, along with their families, could be without health insurance.
A big fear of many restaurant workers and owners is the threat of Trump's promised deportation of immigrants. With so many immigrants working in restaurant kitchens, there is an anxiety of many restaurants being forced out of business. In an interview with SiriusXM, Anthony Bourdain described the importance of these workers:
"Twenty of those years in this business... I was a manager employer. Never... did... any American-born kid walk into my restaurant and say 'I'd like a job as a night porter or a dishwasher, even a prep cook.' If Mr. Trump deports 11 million people or whatever he is talking right now, every restaurant in America would shut down.”
While Bourdain's statement has been met with opposing views from fellow restaurateurs, it is undeniable that the deportation of employees will result in a frenzy for many businesses to find replacement workers.
Some in the restaurant business are expecting Trump's policies to result in looser regulations. Without the expense of healthcare or the worry of rising federal minimum wage (which Trump will likely not impose), businesses will follow fewer rules and operate at cheaper costs.
Obamacare reportedly resulted in a dip in business for restaurants — due to high insurance costs, people have been eating lower-costing groceries at home rather than spending their hard-earned money at a restaurant. Many in the business believe that the repeal of Obamacare will free up the money of the public, causing them to visit restaurants more often.
At the end of the day, lower labor costs could potentially lower the cost of menu items — a good thing for restaurants and the portion of the public that can afford eating out. However, restaurant employees across the country will not benefit, as their healthcare will be taken away along with the hope of a higher wage — and possibly the place they call home.