Michigan restaurants are still reeling from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s pandemic edicts four years later, and industry leaders contend a pending Michigan Supreme Court case could put many more out of business.

A survey of more than 200 Michigan restaurants released by the Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association on Wednesday found 59% have fewer customers than a year ago as the state lags behind others in recovering from the pandemic, WJRT reports.

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“We are in the bottom third of all states – Michigan is – in terms of the restaurant industry workforce growth since the pandemic. So, we are slow to recover,” MLRA CEO Justin Winslow told the news site, pointing to inflation as a major factor. “It is what is driving the challenge for restaurant operators right now, it is what is pushing them to the brink of whether they can or will keep their locations open.”

Other survey results show 40% are not profitable, 55% do not have adequate staffing, and only 25% experienced sales growth over the last year, data that illustrates “restaurants are a little too expensive for some people and they’re going less often,” Winslow told WXMI.

That situation could get worse with a pending Michigan Supreme Court case over the minimum wage for tipped workers, such as bartenders and servers. In the coming months, the state’s highest court will decide whether to eliminate Michigan’s tip credit that allows employers to pay tipped employees at a lower rate if those employees earn more than minimum wage with tips.

If plaintiffs are successful, those employees could instead earn about $14 an hour, along with other minimum wage workers.

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“What is going to happen to this industry, especially in the full-service industry that employs servers, it will be catastrophic,” Winslow said.

“One in five full-service restaurants, according to this survey, said they will just close their doors forever,” he said.  “They’re barely profitable, if they are at all profitable right now.”

The MLRA estimates 40,000 to 60,000 restaurant jobs lost if plaintiffs prevail. A whopping 95% of restaurants surveyed said they would raise prices as a result, with the average menu price increase expected to be 25%.

“If an adverse ruling from the Michigan Supreme Court later this summer requires the elimination of the tip credit, and industry on the edge will plunge headfirst into the abyss,” Winslow said. “The Michigan legislature is in a position to implement a reasonable solution to prevent such a catastrophe, but we all need Democrats and Republicans to quickly work together in common cause.

“The alternative is a pandemic-level of restaurant closure and job loss, which will decimate Michigan’s second largest employer, wreaking havoc on Michigan’s overall economy,” he said.

At least one anonymous server who spoke with WSYM predicts a decision in favor of the plaintiffs would also be bad for her, as well.

“I think a lot of servers will end up quitting,” she told the news site. “I think restaurants are going to start closing.”

John Sellek, publicist for the advocacy group Save MI Tips, told the Midland Daily News a survey from the MRLA found 83% of bartenders and servers want to maintain the current system, which allows them to earn much more than minimum wage with tips factored in.

“They feel their customers know the system is special,” Sellek said. “They’re holding the servers or bartenders to a higher standard of service, and when they deliver that kind of service, then they’re getting rewarded for it.”

Currently only seven states have a uniform minimum wage regardless of tips: Alaska, California Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, according to the Daily News.

Four other states are considering ballot proposals to do the same, according to NBC News.