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December 19, 2016

Bear's Smokehouse to adopt $15 hourly minimum wage

Jamie McDonald (right) and his wife Cheryl (left) own the Bear's Smokehouse BBQ franchise.

The co-owners of Bear's Smokehouse BBQ are raising the minimum wage for all their non-tipped employees to $15 an hour starting Jan. 1.

Jamie “The Bear” and Cheryl McDonald operate the woodfired restaurants that serve wood smoked, Kansas City style barbecue, sauces, and sides in Hartford, Windsor, and South Windsor. They are also opening the newly acquired woodfired pizza restaurant The Blind Pig in the Arch Street, Hartford location vacated by the Smokehouse eatery now located on Front Street.

The minimum wage increase will affect approximately 80 employees at the three existing restaurants and commissary kitchen. On Jan. 1, the state's minimum wage is also rising, but only from $9.60 to $10.10.

“Our goal is to share our success with our employees, but also attract the best employees who can deliver a memorable experience to our customers,” said Jamie McDonald, in a statement.

Cheryl McDonald said the couple believes employees will be encouraged to elevate their level of service knowing the new wage will attract a wider array of experienced candidates.

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