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Punch Pizza Raises Minimum Wage To $10 Per Hour

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(credit: CBS) Edgar Linares
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The same week thousands of workers protested across the nation to raise the federal minimum wage, one Minnesota company decided to do something about it.

John Puckett, co-owner of Punch Neapolitan Pizza, says all eight of their Twin Cities’ locations now have minimum wage set at $10 an hour.

“My business partner and I decided to invest in our people because we are growing our company in the Twin Cities,” Puckett said. “We really believe to have the best quality product and service, it’s the right thing to do.”

Minnesota’s minimum wage is $7.25. Puckett hopes the pay will keep good workers and attract valuable employees to their company.

Puckett and John Sorrano are both owners of Punch Pizza. Puckett is the founder of Caribou Coffee, which he and his wife sold in 2000. Punch Pizza was his favorite restaurant, so he decided to buy half of the company.

Puckett is modeling his increase in pay after successful companies like Costco and In-N-Out Burger, who offer higher salaries to workers.

Punch has around 230 employees, and 90 percent received the raise. Katie Beck-Esmay, a cashier at Punch’s northeast Minneapolis location, will be benefiting from the raise.

“It’s going to make me a bit more comfortable and a little less stressed with my financial situation, and that will make me better at my job,” Beck-Esmay said.

Nick Chute, one of the cooks at Punch, says the increase in pay makes him feel more valued, and it makes him want to work harder.

“I appreciate it, and it makes me feel like a bigger part of the company,” Chute said.

After Puckett put the news of the increase on their Facebook page, they received 20,000 views and more than 1,400 likes.

“Which is incredible to us because when we’ve given away free pizza, the most likes we’ve ever had in a day was 400,” Puckett said.

On Thursday, thousands of fast-food workers earning minimum wage went on strike across the nation, demanding the federal minimum wage be raised to $15 an hour.

The National Restaurant Association says the majority of its minimum wage workers are part-time employees who are there to earn extra cash. It says that raising the federal minimum wage would only lead to layoffs.

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