CA Fast Food Restaurants Who Have Increased Prices Due to Minimum Wage Hike

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Apr 30, 2024

On April 1, a California law took effect that increased fast-food employees’ minimum wages to at least $20 an hour. For months prior to this law taking effect, various restaurants claimed they would have to raise their food prices due to paying their employees more.

Now, data has shown that many fast-food eateries have in fact raised their food prices.

Burger King

Burger King was one of the first fast food places that raised their food prices. New data has confirmed that the eatery has raised prices by at least 2% since April 1.

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A Burger King restaurant seen in the daytime in California.

Source: Clotee Pridgen Alloc…/Wikimedia Commons

This revelation comes from a report by Kalinowski Equity Research. This data looked at Burger King’s prices before April 1, and then after the law went into effect.

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McDonald’s

Many McDonald’s around the country are owned by franchise owners. Therefore, some McDonald’s in California have raised prices, while others haven’t.

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A modern McDonald’s building seen in the daytime in California.

Source: TaurusEmerald/Wikimedia Commons

Scott Rodrick owns 18 McDonald’s in northern California and has already come out and stated that he would raise prices at all of his locations. Rodrick has also claimed that he may change the restaurant’s hours to save profits.

Wendy’s

Kalinowski Equity Research also revealed in their latest report that Wendy’s is yet another fast food eatery in California that has raised prices after April 1.

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A modern Wendy’s building seen in the daytime in California.

Source: TaurusEmerald/Wikimedia Commons

According to this new data, menu prices at Wendy’s rose by about 8% at their locations in California.

Taco Bell

This data has also indicated that Taco Bell has increased the price of its food throughout its California locations.

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A Taco Bell location seen in the daytime in California.

Source: TaurusEmerald/Wikimedia Commons

According to this Kalinowski report, menu prices in Taco Bell have risen by about 3% since California’s new law went into effect.

Fatburger

Meanwhile, Fatburger revealed they would have to raise prices at their California locations way back in January, before the law even began. Franchise owner Marcus Walberg, whose family runs four Fatburgers in Los Angeles alone, said this would occur.

A Fatburger location seen in California with a worker.

Source: TenPoundHammer (aka wachovia_138)/Wikimedia Commons

According to Walberg, prices will likely be raised by about 8% to 10%. Walberg also indicated he was going to cut PTO for his employees, as well as stop hiring new workers.

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Chipotle

Chipotle is another restaurant that stated they would have to raise prices at their locations before the law even went into effect. Now, this new Kalinowski report indicates they’ve done exactly this.

A Chipotle restaurant with cars out front of it seen in California.

Source: TaurusEmerald/Wikimedia Commons

New data confirms that Chipotle raised their prices by 7.5% at their California locations.

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Vitality Bowls

Vitality Bowls is another company that allows people to run franchises. Brian Hom is one Vitality Bowls franchise owner in the Golden State who has had to increase prices at his locations.

A person holding a bowl with fruit, nuts, and yogurt in it.

Source: Alexis Chloe/Unsplash

The two Vitality Bowls locations Hom runs in San Jose have subsequently raised prices by about 5% to 10% since April 1. Hom has also stated that he has frozen hiring.

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Starbucks

For months before this new California law officially began in April, many publications wanted to know what Starbucks had planned for this minimum wage increase. The company hinted they would raise their prices.

A close-up of a Starbucks coffee cup.

Source: Sorin Sîrbu/Unsplash

Now, it appears they’ve done this. New data shows that Starbucks throughout the state has increased prices, so their beverages are now about 50 cents more than they used to be.

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Fast Food Continues To Be More Expensive

Many analysts have also pointed out that fast food has increasingly become more expensive in California, as well as throughout the United States.

A tray with a burger, fries, and a drink.

Source: Christopher Williams/Unsplash

For the last few years, inflation has caused prices at fast-food eateries to skyrocket. Now, food prices at these locations may continue to rise because of this new minimum wage law.

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Other Changes in Fast Food Restaurants

While many fast-food locations have chosen to increase their food prices, other restaurants have decided to go other routes as they try to save money while also paying their employees more.

A burger against a white background.

Source: Shardar Tarikul Islam/Unsplash

For example, a One Burger franchise owner has already claimed that he’s going to try to install order kiosks at his locations. In this way, he’ll be able to cut employees and save money.

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Other Places Refuse To Raise Prices

While some fast food places have stated they have no choice but to raise menu prices in California, other restaurants have found ways to keep prices low. These restaurants have refused to raise their prices, as they want consumers to still come to their locations.

An In-N-Out Burger sign seen in the daytime.

Source: W/Unsplash

In-N-Out’s president Lynsi Snyder recently said she kept prices from rising too high, even though there was a push for item prices to rise because of this new minimum wage law and inflation.

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