Ian’s Pizza raises base hourly wage for employees to $10

While the debate continues to swirl nationally over raising the minimum work wage, Ian’s Pizza is moving forward with plans to do that on its own.

Starting on Jan.  11, the company will raise the minimum wage for its employees to $10 an hour.  Currently the minimum wage paid to an employee at Ian’s Pizza is $8 an hour.  The minimum wage in Wisconsin is $7.25.

“The owners definitely were like, “You know what? This is something we have to do,'” Nick Martin, managing partner of Ian’s Pizza, said. “But the customers, too, the ones we talked to, are like, ‘Yeah, you should do this. This is the right thing to do.'”

Support from customers is important, as Ian’s will be asking them to pay 25 cents more for a single slice of pizza. Ian’s will not increase the price of a full pizza.

“I don’t think customers will even notice that, so I would pay an extra quarter,” Michelle Frantz, a customer, said.

Ian’s Pizza plans to be upfront with customers about the price increase by placing a sign near the cash register letting people know the proceeds from the increase are going to pay for wage increase.

Ian’s Pizza has 90 employees at its two locations in Madison. The company already offers workers a 401k plan, profit-sharing program and health benefits.

“For me, it is like a family here,” said Alex Christman, an employee who has worked at Ian’s Pizza for two years while taking classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Christman said the increase will improve life for the employees at Ian’s Pizza.

“Oh yeah, it will help me a ton as far as with paying off school and rent and all of those bills,” Christman said. “It will definitely make my life a lot easier.”

Martin said the decision to raise the minimum wage is not one the company made quickly. He said they spent a lot of time crunching numbers to determine the economic impact the minimum wage increase would have on the company.

“It was something we hemmed and hawed and talked about and tried to figure out for months. This wasn’t something we could snap our fingers and do. So there’s a reason it is a debate. It is not easy and I don’t know if it is feasible for everyone out there to do. I hope that we can get to a place where it is because we do feel it is the right thing to do,” Martin said.