CLIVE, IOWA — When a couple purchased the Steamboat Boys restaurant in October 2021, they immediately increased their staff wages. Allan and Emily Bakker say since increasing employees’ wages morale is up among employees.

“We were shocked, and their [employee] wage is something we can control. We can’t control tips, but wages we can control,” said Steamboat Boys owner Emily Bakker.

Bakker and her husband increased the wages of the wait staff from $4.25 an hour plus tips to $7.25 an hour and tips. At the same time, other crew members’ wages were also increased substantially more.

“It seems like everyone is okay with paying people well below the minimum wage,” said Allan Bakker.

But the couple was not happy about their employees receiving pay below the minimum wage, and since they worked in the restaurant industry themselves, they understood the struggles that come along with it.

“I can actually afford things now before,” said Steamboat Boys Front House Manager Willie Quinn.

Quinn has worked at the restaurant for one year. He says the pay raise has changed his life.

“I used to walk back and forth to Git ‘n Go all the time like every day on my breaks, so nine months later, I got a car, and also I got a house now so,” said Quinn.

While owners are happy to give all employees a raise, they believe in paying their staff members before paying themselves.

“We want them to be making a good wage and making good money,” said Allan Bakker.