US News

California’s $20 fast food minimum wage balloons menu prices — with some chains increasing costs by nearly $2

You’ll be dropping a lot of dollar on that Whopper.

Menu prices at fast food chains across California have increased, as a new law went into effect requiring them to pay a $20-an-hour minimum wage to workers from Monday.

The Post checked menus at several restaurants in the Los Angeles area to see if the costs are already being passed on to consumers — with mixed results.

The biggest leap was at a Burger King, where a Texas Double Whopper meal cost $15.09 on March 29 but surged to $16.89 on April 1, a whopping increase of $1.80 (nearly 12%) for the same meal.

An LA-area Burger King enacted sharp price increases after the state’s controversial new minimum wage law. Genevieve Wong

The Big Fish meal also jumped from $7.49 on the menu before April 1 to $11.49 after — an increase of $4 (53%).

Most other items increased anywhere from 25 cents to a dollar.

Burger King did not respond to a request for comment.

Burger King was not alone. At Hart House, a fast food chain founded by actor Kevin Hart, prices increased up to 25%.

Before the law was enacted, a large fries cost $4.49. On April 1, that price went up to $5.99.

Menu prices at Burger King in Los Angeles on March 29.

Milkshakes of all sizes increased by $1, while most sandwiches went up by 50 cents each.

At a nearby In-N-Out Burger, the price hikes were more modest. Burgers went up about 25 cents, while sodas increased by a nickel.

The price increases got mixed reviews from customers on Monday.

“It’s such a nominal increase,” said Shawn Fields, 40, who was buying lunch at In-N-Out.

“It seems like a reasonable amount.”

Menu prices at Burger King in Los Angeles after the price increase on April 1.

But not everyone agreed.

“To be honest, I don’t like it, because then everything else goes up,” Ivan Moreno, who was buying a meal at Burger King, told The Post.

“These people have to make a living one way or another, but then [the restaurants] have to up their prices.”

In-N-Out Burger also rasied its prices recently. Genevieve Wong
“Before” prices at In-N-Out. Genevieve Wong
“After” prices at In-N-Out. Genevieve Wong

Other restaurants checked by The Post showed no change, including Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s and McDonald’s.

One McDonald’s franchisee, though, said he’s had no choice but to raise prices already.

“As a business owner, when you’re dealing with this kind of extraordinary overnight change, you know, a 25% increase in wages, (no) stone has to remain unturned,” Scott Rodrick, who owns 18 restaurants in Northern California, told CNN on Monday.

Wendy’s prices remained the same — for now. Genevieve Wong
Wendy’s menu showed no price increases as of April 1.

In the last three months, Rodrick has raised menu prices between 5% and 7% in anticipation of the new law going into effect.

Democrats in the state legislature passed the law last year that raises the wages of more than 500,000 people who work in fast food restaurants.

The previous minimum wage was $16 per hour.

The law applies to restaurants offering limited or no table service and which are part of a national chain with at least 60 establishments nationwide.

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