A Sydney cafe owner who broke down in tears during an emotional TV interview about the increase to the minimum wage has been ‘gifted’ $10,000 by Kyle and Jackie O – but the money comes with a little catch.
Phillip Salhab, who runs the Appetite eatery in Five Dock, said he feared his business would not be able to survive amid the rising cost of living and a 5.2 per cent increase to the minimum wage.
He tried to put on a brave face when speaking about the possibility of going bust on Sky News last week.
He told reporter Peter Stefanovic he would ‘save his tears for the pillow’ before eventually becoming overwhelmed and admitting: ‘It would be a lot easier to close’.
The KIIS FM hosts on Monday morning told the cafe owner they’d give the store $10,000 to go towards free coffee and food for customers who turn up throughout the day.
Phillip Salhab (pictured) told reporter Peter Stefanovic he’ll ‘save his tears for the pillow’ before eventually becoming overwhelmed and admitting: ‘It would be a lot easier to close’
‘We’ll put $10,000 on the bar for you to shout as many people free coffee and cake as humanly possible,’ Sandilands said.
An elated Mr Salhab was left speechless after the grand offer and thanked the radio hosts for their ‘amazing’ gesture.
‘Oh my God, that’s crazy!’ he said as staff from the radio station were heard arriving at the cafe.
The cafe owner earlier said while he accepted the rise in the minimum wage to keep up with the cost of living pressures, his business ‘cannot afford it’.
‘I appreciate they are going to give us until October 1, but what guarantee is there that everything will be back to normal,’ he said.
From July 1, the nation’s lowest paid workers will receive $812.60 a week, an increase of $40, and $21.38 an hour, up $1.05. The awards in the aviation, tourism and hospitality sectors however will not kick in until October 1.
Mr Salhab said he was already paying well above minimum wage to his staff as the hospitality industry faces a massive shortfall of workers.
‘Workers are putting us up against each other from interview to interview telling us what they’ve been offered and getting us to hopefully match or beat it and we just cannot do it,’ he said.
‘We are looking for a kitchen hand at the moment and other venues are offering… $42 an hour, it would be a lot easier for us to close.’
He added that the rising costs for fresh food including bread and coffee is also making the business unviable and that continuing to jack-up prices is no longer an option.
The KIIS FM hosts on Monday morning told the cafe owner they’d give the store $10,000 to go towards free coffee and food for customers who turn up throughout the day
‘There is only so much people want to pay for a bacon and egg roll,’ he said, adding that his is the best in Five Dock.
‘I, as a consumer myself, cannot justify paying more than $13.50 for a bacon and egg roll.’
The café opened under dire circumstances just six weeks before the first lockdown in 2020.
Mr Salhab said if it wasn’t for diehard community support, ‘we probably wouldn’t be here’.
Minimum wage increase at a glance
A 5.2 per cent increase from July 1
That equates to $812.60 a week – an increase of $40
The $21.38 an hour rate marks an increase of $1.05
New minimum pay of $42,255 a year for those working full-time – up $2,080 from $40,175
The increase was above the 5.1 per cent inflation rate and was the most generous since 2006 during the mining boom
It was more than double last year’s 2.5 per cent increase
The decision to award a 5.2 per cent minimum wage increase directly affects 180,000 workers
The other low-paid workers on modern awards are getting a 4.6 per cent increase if they earn more than $869.60 a week and will get $40 more a week