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DENVER — It’s official: minimum wage in Denver is going up.

On Wednesday, Mayor Michael Hancock signed the measure, which requires all private-sector minimum wage employees to see raises in the coming years.

The new law sets forth the following rates:

  • $12.85 an hour on Jan. 1, 2020
  • $14.77 an hour on Jan. 1, 2021
  • $15.87 an hour on Jan. 1, 2022

Colorado’s state minimum wage will be $12 an hour in 2020. State law requires tipped employees like servers and bartenders can only be paid $3.02 an hour less than the minimum wage.

“A lot of people have done well in this economy. We should not be ashamed of standing up for those who have not done as well,” Hancock said at the signing.

But many restaurant owners are expressing concerns.

Last month, FOX31 was invited to a meeting of restaurateurs threatening the city with layoffs and closures if the measure passed.

“As an industry, I think we have a lot of challenges ahead,” said Mark Berzins, the owner of Little Pub Company. Little Pub runs more than 20 establishments around metro Denver — including Don’s, a bar in Capitol Hill.

“You’re going to see diminished floor staff, diminished servers, that’s just going to be a fact,” Berzins said Wednesday after the law was signed, adding, “You’ll see automation tablets and things to replace a server.”

Berzins says the main concern is with tipped wages — believing the $3.02 amount below minimum wage is insufficient.

Hancock confirmed to FOX31 Wednesday he is hoping the General Assembly addresses the issue in January.

Seattle did see restaurants experimenting with different tipping and compensation procedures when that city passed a $15 minimum wage a few years ago.