California's New $20 Fast Food Minimum Has Immediate Impact as Franchisees Are Forced Into a Bind

California’s New $20 Fast Food Minimum Has Immediate Impact as Franchisees Are Forced Into a Bind


Lawrence Cheng, whose family owns seven Wendy’s locations south of Los Angeles, took orders at the register on a recent day and emptied steaming hot baskets of French fries and chicken nuggets, salting them with a flourish.

Cheng used to have nearly a dozen employees on the afternoon shift at his Fountain Valley location in Orange County.

Now he schedules only seven for each shift as he scrambles to absorb a drastic jump in labor costs after a new California law boosted the hourly wage for most fast food workers on April 1 from $16 to $20 an hour.

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“We kind of just cut where we can,” he said. “I schedule one less person, and then I come in for that time that I didn’t

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