Owner of multiple Applebee's restaurants tells Fox Business that restaurant workers are paid enough already

Zane Tankel: “It's not supposed to be a career business”

From the July 23 edition of Fox Business' Varney & Co.:

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STUART VARNEY (HOST): Zane Tankel is with us, he owns literally dozens of Applebee's restaurants in the New York metro area and he's with us this morning. Tell me right off the top, what would $20 an hour do to your restaurant business?

ZANE TANKEL (APPLE-METRO CEO): Well it's not my restaurant business, what does it do to the overall economy, Stuart? Everything goes up. I think Rashida Tlaib should go into public housing and see what public housing's like a little bit, and then she'll be able to stand up and ask for $50 an hour. What does she have to say about my business? I don't know Stuart about you, but I sure don't want somebody operating on my heart that never was a heart surgeon.

VARNEY: Well, what do you mean by that?

TANKEL: I mean that she's never run a business. She hasn't got a clue about the competitive set. She hasn't got a clue about -- why not say $50 an hour? Let's say $50, $60, $80? We had 4,000 people in our company one year ago. We have 3,000 people today. Fifteen dollars did it, for the first time in New York City, the restaurant industry as an industry -- by the way, 10% of the total U.S. workforce works in the restaurant industry.


VARNEY: Let me put it like this. Twenty dollars an hour would really hurt Applebee's business?

TANKEL: Applebee's aside, there's a model. You know, if you build a restaurant for $3 million and the model sets a certain labor portion to it, when you put that budget together, it throws the whole model out of whack. We didn't build it for $20 an hour. We didn't build it for $15 an hour. And it's not supposed to be a career business. It's supposed to put you on the escalator of life to move on up through, teaches you how to wake up in the morning--

VARNEY: Yeah, sure does.

TANKEL: Teaches you how to go to work, teaches you how to interface with people.

VARNEY: Yeah exactly. Teaches you how to get the biggest tip you can possibly get.

TANKEL: A hundred percent.


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