HONOLULU (KHON2) — Many businesses were forced to adapt during the pandemic, for many, it was about becoming more efficient, and efficiency is becoming more of a focus as employers will soon need to adjust to the state’s increase of the minimum wage.

Automation and self-service at businesses boomed during the pandemic. At Noi Thai Cuisine, reservations, orders and payments can be completed by the customers without even interacting with other humans.

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The Noi Thai Cuisine General Manager Tayawadee (Koi) Ford said their online software has made the restaurant work more smoothly.

“It’s making it easy, we don’t have to worry about getting the order wrong on a to-go online, so they order already,” Ford said. “And not having people stand and pick up a phone call… so they can do something else.”

While the online software does not immediately cut operational costs, it does help the restaurant better prepare for the day ahead.

Many businesses will be considering their operations moving forward as the minimum wage increase is set to begin on October first.

The state’s minimum wage will go from $10.10 to $12, and the increase by two dollars every two years until 2028, when the minimum hits $18.

A statement from the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii said,

“We appreciate the Legislature’s work to pass legislation to increase our minimum wage. As the voice of business in Hawaii, particularly small businesses, the Chamber supported having an increase in minimum wage that more gradually rose over a longer period of time to have less of a negative impact on businesses. The legislative process took its course and we would like to thank the Legislature for balancing all of the needs in our community.”

Governor David Ige signed the minimum wage increase on Wednesday, and he said increasing the pay in phases will help businesses adjust to the changes.

Ige said, “Having two years between every step up will allow the businesses to be able to incorporate the minimum wage increase as the time progresses, we do know that many employers are already paying above the minimum wage.”

Lonohana Estate Chocolate Sales Associate Lea Sado said her pay is more than the minimum wage.

Sado said, “They pay their employees livable and ethical wages so it is slightly above the minimum wage which allows us as workers to have one to two part-time jobs rather than multiple at a time.”

The shop located at Salt at our Kakaako is just one of many businesses that had to switch things up during the pandemic, going from a walk-in shop to a walk-up.

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Sado said, “This gives us an opportunity to interact with customers and also work with them rather than having five people all at once  juggling things around.”