California Law Mandating $22 Wage for Restaurant Workers Is “Discouraging” Entrepreneurs

(p. A3) A government-appointed council could increase wages for California’s estimated half-million fast food workers to as much as $22 an hour starting next year, under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom Monday [September 5, 2022].

. . .

“You can’t charge enough for food to offset what will happen from a labor perspective,” said Greg Flynn, president of Flynn Restaurant Group, which operates franchise brands in 44 states and owns 105 restaurants in California. “California is already the most difficult state in the nation to operate as a restaurateur. This just makes it more difficult and less attractive.”

. . .

Michaela Mendelsohn, an El Pollo Loco franchisee in Southern California, said she recently put on hold plans to add to her group of six stores because of the measure.

If wages shoot up, she added, she will consider eliminating cashier positions or installing kiosks in her California locations that allow customers to input orders.

“We’ve gone too far here,” Ms. Mendelsohn said. “It’s just really discouraging.”

For the full story, see:

Christine Mai-Duc and Heather Haddon. “California Fast-Food Bill Signed, Opening Path to Higher Pay.” The New York Times (Tuesday, September 6, 2022): A3.

[Note: ellipses, and bracketed date, added.]

(Note: the online version of the story was updated Sept. 5, 2022, and has the title “California Governor Signs Fast Food Bill, Opening Way to Higher Wages.” The last two sentences quoted above appeared in the online, but not the print, version.)

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