California Over Minimum Wage Increase Causing Increasing Layoffs

With California set to implement a $20 minimum wage severely affecting food chains across the state, multiple fast-food restaurants recently began firing employees and raising prices.

The Wall Street Journal reported that fast food restaurants, specifically pizza chains and other high-end food establishments, have started to cut staff to prepare for disastrous financial consequences resulting from the massive minimum wage increase.

A driver for Pizza Hut, 29-year-old Michael Ojeda of Ontario, California, told reporters that he was notified by his employer in December 2023 that his last day of work would be at the end of February 2024.

“Pizza Hut was my career for nearly a decade, and with little to no notice, it was taken away,” the 29-year-old said.

Multiple Pizza Hut restaurants across California announced in 2023 that they would end their delivery services to comply with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

In December 2023, Southern California Pizza Co. said it would fire about 841 drivers across The Golden State. Pizza Hut locations in counties such as Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernadino, Riverside and Ventura will be significantly impacted by the upcoming financial changes.

“Where select California franchises have elected to make changes to their staffing approach, access to delivery service will continue to be available via Pizza Hut’s mobile app, website, and phone ordering, and the customer ordering experience will remain consistent,” a spokesperson for Pizza Hut told the press.

An article by the Wall Street Journal reported that a pizza restaurant based in Menlo Park, California, said it would lay off at least 73 delivery drivers in 2024.

“The franchisee is transferring their delivery services to a third party. While it is unfortunate, we look at this as a transfer of jobs,” the statement read.

“As you know, many California restaurant operators are following the same approach due to rising operating costs. We anticipate third-party delivery providers in turn will see a boost in their business, which will require additional staff on their end,” it continued.

With changes to California’s minimum wage set to take effect, a company that owns restaurants such as Johnny Rockets, Hot Dog On A Stick, Fatburger and Round Table Pizza, said the change would result I higher delivery costs and higher prices for customers.