Jan. 24, 2018 By Tara Law
Restauranteur Willie “Jack” Degel, who owns a restaurant and bar in Astoria, has come under fire after criticizing minimum wage increases and complaining about employee “entitlement” in an appearance on conservative talk show FOX & Friends Monday.
Degel, who grew up in Queens, is the owner of five restaurants in New York City, including Uncle Jack’s Meat House at 36-18 Ditmars Blvd in Astoria. Degel made the comments in a segment on the impact of minimum wage increases across the country.
Degel, a vocal critic of minimum wage increases, has been accused of failing to follow labor laws in the past. Degel agreed to a settlement in 2014 with more than 50 employees who said Uncle Jack’s Steak House locations failed to pay the minimum wage and took their tips, along with other accusations.
Speaking on FOX & Friends, Degel blamed the wage increases for causing restaurant closings.
“If I try to raise prices I have less guests, and they’re getting insulted and they’re not coming,” said Degel. “They [consumers] are not educated. They don’t understand what’s happening.”
Degel then went on to discuss the experience and work ethic of employees in the restaurant industry.
“Younger people, they’re not used to working,” he said. “They’re starting later, they’re going to school and then they don’t want to work and it’s tough because you meet someone who’s 23 years old and they’ve never really had a job.”
He said that workers attitudes have also changed.
“They used to be servants years ago,” Degel said. “People took great pride in being a servant. They have a more sense of entitlement.”
A number of social media users took to Facebook and Twitter to express their anger at Degel.
“Good people of NY should tell @UNCLEJACKS Jack Degel that they’re not stupid & they know he can afford 2 pay his staff a living wage w/out raising food prices,” wrote Melody L. on Twitter.
Degel responded to his critics on Twitter.
“Today on Fox I was trying to explain how my guests do not know about all the new laws, regulation, compliance, wage increases that has been forced on my industry, I love my staff yet today is very different then years ago,” he wrote.
In 75 Seconds
This Fox & @foxandfriends guest (the CEO of an NYC restaurant chain)
1. Calls his customers dumb
2. Calls his waiters entitled
3. Complains about his waiters going to school pic.twitter.com/iuRHi2HrAn
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) January 22, 2018
I know people who work for this man. He regularly insults staff members, always has multiple lawsuits going on. NEVER believe his BS about “loving his staff” and is always looking for ways to cheat his staff. Met him once. A total and complete arrogant jackass, not to mention totally in love with himself.
The picture painted on this board of Degel is 100%. Complete jerk. BUT even a jerk can be right sometimes. Only one bureaucrat in Albany forced the minimum wage hike for “tipped workers” through, that would be our unctuous governor. Tipped workers are the highest paid workers in the restaurant biz. This was an optics only move to appease the far left, as he looks to run for higher office. The last Dem primary shook him up, when his Socialist opponent garnered far more votes than expected. Many restaurants are closing or barely getting by, but the Gov and the far left could care less. They hate business people.
-got out -How childish of you to quote my child when I scold or send her to her room. Just because someone doesn’t see eye to eye with you on a topic doesn’t mean you’re “hated”. I could make more money in my restaurant if I was allowed access to slave labor. Restaurants have always had high failure rate, well at least since the 70’s when I started out. Paying somebody a living wage is better for an economy as a whole. If you can’t afford to pay a person a decent wage for a days work then you probably should be out of business any way. The problem with the restaurant business now is it no longer is a “cash” business. More and more business’s is electronic, debit and credit cards. Harder to hide proceeds. For every restaurant that goes out there are three who remain in business and two mite coming up. You sound like pseudo capitalistic Republican who engages in crony-capitalism. Just because you know your “business” is no guarentee you’ll understand the workings of entire economy. Especially an economy as big as a seventeen trillion dollar economy. What is the proportion of a restaurant that generates $250K a year in revenue to a seventeen trillion dollar economy?
I was talking about “tipped workers” minimum wage only. If your tipped workers relied on their base pay, your restaurant is not doing well. But if it makes you feel better that the highest paid workers got a gift from the newly leaning left governor, then fine. I am done here. Sure you will respond with another hysterical left wing rant. That’s what lefties do.
gotoutjustintime, Of course you’re done here, since you can’t debate Amanda on facts, you’ll go run and hide. Was the ‘left” leaning governors gift to “highest paid workers” as substantial as the gift the right leaning president gave to CEO’s and members of limited liability company’s (LLC’s)? Strange how the people who don’t know the differnce between “your” and “you”re” think they know it all and always lean right.
LI Press, ,
I was done until I read YOUR ridiculous post. Read Amanda’s post again moron. She indicated she was in the business. The word was used correctly. So I realize that elite leftists think they are smarter than those that lean right, but after reading YOUR post it is obviously not true. Try enrolling in a basic reading comprehension course. Now I am done. No matter how stupid YOUR next post is.
Hey gotoutjustintime: There is nothing more “elitist” than putting your name on every piece of inventory “you’re” involved with..
Trump Tower, New York City
Trump Towers Istanbul, Turkey
Trump Towers (Sunny Isles Beach), Sunny Isles Beach, FL
Trump Tower (White Plains), White Plains, New York
Trump Towers Pune, India
Trump Tower Kolkata, Kolkata, India
Trump Tower Mumbai, India
Trump Tower Manila (Philippines)
Trump Tower Punta del Este, Uruguay
Trump Towers Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Trump Tower (Tampa), Tampa, Florida
Trump International Hotels
Trump sign on his Chicago Hotel and Tower
Trump International Hotel – Las Vegas
Trump International Hotel and Tower (Chicago)
Trump International Hotel and Tower (Honolulu)
Trump International Hotel and Tower (New York City)
Trump International Hotel and Tower (Vancouver)
Trump International Hotel Las Vegas
Trump International Hotel & Tower Panama
Trump International Hotel Washington, D.C., also known as Old Post Office Building
Trump International Hotel and Tower (Dubai)
Trump International Hotel and Tower (New Orleans)
Trump International Hotel & Residence (Phoenix)
Trump International Hotel and Tower (Baku)
Trump International Hotel and Tower (Toronto) (divested in 2017)
Trump Plaza (New Rochelle)
Trump Plaza (Jersey City)
Trump Plaza (West Palm Beach)
Trump Entertainment Resorts
Trump Taj Mahal, a casino and hotel on the Atlantic City boardwalk (closed in 2016).
Harrah’s at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey (formerly a 50/50 partnership with Harrah’s) now wholly owned and renamed as the Trump Plaza, which was closed on September 16, 2014.
Trump 29 Casino in Coachella, California (formerly a 50/50 partnership with the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians of California) 2006 Trump officially got out. Now Spotlight 29 Casino.
Trump Casino in Gary, Indiana now the Majestic Star II.
Trump World’s Fair at Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Operated as a wing of Trump Plaza, but with its own casino license, it was closed in 1999, and demolished in 2000.
Trump Castle (renamed Trump Marina in 1997) in Atlantic City, New Jersey, sold to Landry’s, Inc. in 2011
The Trump Building – New York City
Trump Bay Street, in Jersey City, New Jersey
Trump World Tower, in New York City
The Trump Building, in New York City
Trump Parc and Trump Parc East, Manhattan
Trump Parc Stamford, Stamford, Connecticut
Trump Park Avenue, Manhattan
Trump Park Residences, Yorktown, New York
Daewoo Trump World, apartment brand in South Korea
Trump SoHo, hotel condominium complex in New York City (name licensing deal ended in 2017)
Elite Tower, formerly known as Trump Plaza Tower, and Trump Elite Tower, Ramat Gan, Tel Aviv, Israel
Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, New Jersey
Trump Hotel Rio de Janeiro
Trump Ocean Resort Baja Mexico
Trump Tower Europe, Stuttgart, Germany
Trump condominium/hotel/office/shopping project, Charlotte, North Carolina. Announced in 2007; cancelled a year later, before the start of construction.
The 18th hole at Trump National Doral
Trump International Golf Club (West Palm Beach)
Trump National Doral Miami
Trump National Golf Club (Bedminster, New Jersey)
Trump National Golf Club (Colts Neck, New Jersey)
Trump National Golf Club (Jupiter, Florida)
Trump National Golf Club (Los Angeles)
Trump National Golf Club (Philadelphia)
Trump National Golf Club (Washington, D.C.)
Trump National Golf Club Westchester
Trump National Golf Club (Hudson Valley, New York)
Trump National Golf Club (Charlotte, North Carolina)
Trump Golf Links (Ferry Point, New York)
Trump International Golf Club (Dubai)
Trump World Golf Club (Dubai)
Trump International Golf Links, Scotland
Trump International Golf Links and Hotel Ireland
Trump Turnberry (Scotland)
Trump International Golf Club Puerto Rico
Food and drink
Trump Natural Spring Water, a water distribution company opened as Trump Ice in 2004.
Served at Trump’s properties and featured on an episode of The Apprentice.
Trump Golden Ale now renamed Chinga Tu Pelo beer]
There were two pretty simple questions asked by Amanda and LO Press that this blowhard never answered.
I think you all should enroll in a reading comprehension class. This thread was a response to Mr. Degel’s critique of minimum wage hikes, and how it is hurting the restaurant industry. That is what I wrote about, specifically the “tipped workers” hike, and how it was unnecessary. Where did I say the Trump tax plan is good, and why would it be pertinent to this conversation? I will really ruin your day now, I think Trump is a buffoon. Can you stay on topic please.
@gotoutjusti- You’re the one who obviously needs to learn to read. That Trunp post is quite clear, it’s in response to your use or misuse of the word elitist. So far you’ve misspelled words, Misquoted a simple saying and proven you don’t know the difference between your the possessive, pronoun and the contraction you’re, but everyone else needs to learn to read and write. Typical Blowhard..
The saying is “couldn’t care less”.
I see you gave no examples of my misspelled words, oh maybe Trunp? Wait that was YOU not me. Why did you capitalize misquote in the middle of a sentence? Because you’re a moron? Please show me an example of where I used YOUR wrong? I may have, but I just don’t see it. It is YOUR opinion that I misused the word elitist. What I am doing wrong is wasting my time with hysterical lefties. Done for good.
This guy posting under the handle gotoutjustintime has been done posting here at least 3 times. He’s quit more times than Brett Farve. What a mess. I think he hates poor people.
Bureaucrats in Albany are making business decisions without direct knowledge about how a business runs. They do this without responsibility. They haven’t researched the best location for the company. They haven’t saved or taken a mortgage to purchase the company. They haven’t set up the company. They haven’t researched and purchased all the items needed to run the company. They haven’t gone through myriad resumes and interviewed countless employees to find the best. They haven’t filed all the necessary paperwork. They haven’t filed taxes. They haven’t had to comply with all the many rules and regulations. They haven’t had to absorb the cost of employee mistakes or their own mistakes. They haven’t had to absorb the loss if one of their items or one of their services doesn’t sell. They haven’t had to worry 24-hours a day about whether they can stay in business another day, another week, another year. They haven’t had to cover if one of their employees is sick. They haven’t had to risk their own capital, their own time, their own sweat. And yet… these removed dead souls up in Albany know best?
Asparagus – Who bailed out the airline industry to the tune of a trillion dollars in 2001, when they failed to secure their assets from being used as weapons of mass destruction.? Who bailed out the banking industry in 2009 for well over a trillion dollars, when they bet the house and lost “it all” and under wrote hundreds of billions in fraudulent loans? Who bailed out the insurance companies and entire insurance industry who insured these losses? Who financed the building of the interstate high way and freeway system? Who funded and built the vast majority of the airports, water works, cable and other utilities or anything else that is essential to modern society but can’t be built while turning a profit for the financier in this country? Gov’t bureaucrats with our ( the tax payers) money. That’s why we elect them. The gov’t has a large percentage of “successful” and not so “successful” business people in position of power. Just look in the White House and former NY Governor Rockefeller. Not all businessmen or politicians are cast from the same mold some are better than others.
@asparagus tips: WOW, what a belly acher,wah wah.wah! If you can’t take the heat get out the kitchen. I’m sick of hearing cry babies like you. I’ve worked in my family’s restaurant all my life and I’m sixty years old. It’s not as bad as you struggling cry babies make it sound. Does there appear to be a restaurant shortage to you? The way you make it sound running a restaurant is impossible. It sounds like you just don’t got it. Get out and move on already.
It’s amazing how naive the American worker and American public in general are..Willie “Jack” Degel is expressing is feelings toward what he views as a major expense, liability on his books. Who likes an expense?
Whats even crazier supporters of the employer based healthcare system feel your employer should be responsible for the healthcare plan you and your family should be covered by. The best plan money could buy for an over paid unenthusiastic lazy “liability”. He’s just expressing what most employers feel, right Papa John CEO John Schnatter and Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon. Its a consumer driven market economy, “uneducated and lazy” people need to make money to access the market for goods and services, plain and simple. Just because Willie “Jack” Degel knows the “restaurant business” exclusive to the NYC Market (a micro economic niche) does not mean he knows anything about running or how an entire national economy (macro economic scale) works.
Yes, Bruno you get the healthcare your employer feels you are entitled to. It’s actually a pretty scary thought. In the case of Degel you may want to pass on the company plan. LOL
If you’ve ever seen his show you’d know this guy is a proper prick, this just make it more obvious. I hope that jip-joint on Ditmars goes down in a ball of flames.
And he charges way to much at his resturant….I’m NEVER going back!!
I used to work for Mr Degel sometime ago. He is and egostistical and horrible person to work for. A lunatic who made money out of being a snitch to get out of jail. He did also abuses his staff verbally and is extremely racist as you can only imagine. I was in his office many many times and had conversations with him that made me regret my position in his company. Something like this was due to happen to him and I hope that karma comes and bites him in the ass for all the years of abuse he had put on his employees and everything he stole from people.