California’s $20 Minimum Wage for Fast-Food Workers Expected to Cost 70% of Jobs

Lisa F. Young /
Lisa F. Young /

Nearly 70% of fast-food employees in California will have to be fired this year for restaurants to stay open. That’s according to analysts assessing the shockwave that has hit the fast-food industry after the legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) raised the minimum wage for low-skilled burger flippers to $20 an hour, with annual wage increases tied to inflation. Restaurants are now scrambling to balance their books while they have to raise prices, fire workers, and flirt with automation just to keep their doors open.

California had an estimated 540,000 fastfood workers at the start of this year. On April 1, the day that the new $20-an-hour minimum wage hike went into effect, more than 10,000 workers were fired. California’s statewide minimum wage had already increased from $11 to $16 an hour in January. Absorbing an additional $4 per hour increase in April was just too much for the industry. Many restaurants have already been forced to close their doors.

Delivery drivers were one of the jobs to immediately feel the pinch. Pizza Hut and other places that traditionally employ their own drivers are now using DoorDash as their delivery service. The in-house drivers have all been given pink slips.

Counter workers are also being laid off as soon as owners canreplace them with electronic ordering kiosks. Harsh Ghai owns 140 Burger King franchises in California. He expects to fire allhis human counter workers and replace them with electronic ordering kiosks in the next two months.

[W]e are just going ahead and installing the kiosks in every single restaurant in response to the legislation to be able to balance some of these labor costs that are hitting us,” said Ghai.“We can’t move fast enough on this.”

Meanwhile, business for most fast-food restaurants has plummeted since April 1. The sudden price hikes on meals have driven the poorest customers away. They can no longer afford to eat at most places, as owners try to shift their increased labor costs onto consumers.

One TikTok user complained that he just spent more than $25 for a 40-piece Chicken McNuggets meal with two orders of fries and no drink.

Okay, so it’s $25.39 for 40-piece nuggets and two large fries,” the TikTok user said. “You couldn’t even throw in the Sprite? You couldn’t even throw in, like, a medium Sprite in there? Holy crap.

He shouldn’t blame McDonald’s for the price hike, though. He should blame Gavin Newsom and the retarded communists in control of the California legislature. What did they think would happen when they increased the minimum wage by $9 an hour for the industry in a span of four months? A family of four can no longer get a meal at McDonald’s or Burger King for less than about $75.

Most fast-food restaurants are suddenly miserable places to visit in California, because of how the industry has been jammed up. The few workers who have kept their jobs are hating life because they’re doing twice the work now that their co-workers have been fired. The service is terrible because the workers are all grumpy. Restaurants located at prime intersections now only have one or two cars in the drive-through during the lunch rush, because most people can no longer afford to eat there.

Instead of making life better for fast-food workers, the California legislature managed to get tens of thousands of them fired. Even for those who have kept their jobs, it’s an unpleasant experience to work there because the customers are so unhappy with the high prices.

Great job, Democrats!