(p. A17) “There’s only so much you can charge for tamales,” the owner of a small eatery said in 2015 to explain one reason he was closing.
For some empirical backup, consider an April  study from Michael Luca at Harvard Business School and Dara Lee Luca at Mathematica Policy Research. They used Bay Area data from the review website Yelp to estimate that a $1 minimum-wage hike leads to a 14% increase in “the likelihood of exit for a 3.5-star restaurant.”
Put differently, San Francisco’s minimum wage experiment may be dangerous for your favorite white-tablecloth restaurant–the kind of place where the food is exquisite and can command a premium–but it’s downright deadly for your local white-apron diner.
For the full commentary, see:
Michael Saltsman. “The Minimum Wage Eats Restaurants; A San Francisco ex-owner says: ‘There’s only so much you can charge for tamales.’.” The Wall Street Journal (Weds., May 9, 2017): A17.
(Note: bracketed year added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date May 9, 2017,)
The Luca and Luca paper, mentioned above, is:
Luca, Dara Lee and Luca, Michael. “Survival of the Fittest: The Impact of the Minimum Wage on Firm Exit.” (April 2017). Harvard Business School NOM Unit Working Paper No. 17-088.