Thousands of people have lost their jobs while prices soar at California’s fast food restaurants following Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to increase the minimum wage to $20 an hour, according to Fox News.

The California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA) President Tom Manzo told the outlet that California’s businesses are “fed up” with California’s new policies, noting that Americans are already struggling to pay for the cost of unmitigated inflation. As a result, fast food has become a “luxury item” for many customers. (TAKE A POLL: Do You Support the Idea of a Four-Day Workweek to Enhance Work-Life Balance?)

“The biggest issue California faces is continued increased cost and a continued anti-business climate,” Manzo continued … “Quite frankly, it’s having a ripple effect now on everybody … People can’t afford fast food when… it should not be a luxury item. Fast food isn’t a luxury item.”

Nearly 10,000 Jobs Lost, Prices Increased

CABIA data says nearly 10,000 jobs have been lost since Newsom signed the minimum wage legislation in 2023. “A spokesperson for the governor cited the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, claiming that 4,500 jobs were added in limited service restaurants in California from September 2023 through April 1. The governor’s office said 6,600 fast-food jobs were added in the Golden State from April 2023 through April 1,” Fox added.

Menu prices have surged throughout the state, leading 78% of Californians to see the item as luxury, as Manzo noted. A further 68% believe prices for fast food are too expensive. (TAKE A POLL: Do You Like to Workout?)

Risks of Rushed Legislation

“It’s a tough thing to do,” Restaurant Business editor-in-chief Jonathan Maze added to Fox and Friends. “You got two issues. You have the fact that it was done almost overnight. You have the fact that it was a 25% increase in the wage rate. Both of those things, happening simultaneously, is a really hard thing for restaurants, bottom line, and… you’re seeing the effects of it.” (LEARN MORE: Is Comprehensive Childcare Support Vital For Ensuring Workforce Participation and Economic Stability?)

“This has been a challenging environment,” Maze said. “If you looked at what McDonald’s had reported just a couple of weeks ago, their prices are up 40% since 2019. Their costs have been up since 2019. You had, right after the pandemic… a dramatic increase in food costs. You had a dramatic increase in labor costs. Insurance costs are up. Lending rates are up. Everything costs a lot more. Construction costs are up, and that requires companies to increase prices.”

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