California minimum wage hike stuns fast food workers; restaurant shuts: ‘Only the beginning,’ ex-manager warns

Another California small business and its employees appear to have suffered as a result of the state’s recently passed $20 minimum wage.

“It’s a shock,” Monica Navarro, former assistant general manager at Fosters Freeze in Lemoore, said Wednesday on “The Bottom Line.”

“It would have been nice to have a notice, so we could go get some applications [out], I could prepare them,” she said. “The best I can do is honestly give them some references.”

When Navarro and her colleagues arrived at work on Monday morning, they discovered that the restaurant’s owner had decided to permanently close its doors. Loren Wright, the owner, told local Fox affiliate KMPH that this was the “last thing” they wanted to do, but they realized by Friday night that the business would most likely be unable to handle the wage increase and didn’t “want to ruin their Easter Sunday.”

California minimum wage hike stuns fast food workers; restaurant shuts: 'Only the beginning,' ex-manager warns

The new California statewide legislation went into effect Monday, requiring a $20 minimum wage for eateries with at least 60 outlets worldwide, with the exception of those who make and sell their own bread.

“Two of my coworkers were actually about to clock in for the morning. Right after that, I received a phone call informing me that we were closing. So they found out just as they were ready to check in for the day,” Navarro explained.

“We had gotten a text in the group chat that we were shutting down, and I completely thought it was an April Fool’s joke,” said one of Navarro’s colleagues to KMPH.

After chatting with personnel and Fosters Freeze’s owner, Navarro discovered that the minimum wage regulation was the key reason for the restaurant’s downfall.

“He blamed it on the minimum wage increase. However, I believe we were excused from it due to the number of outlets he personally owns. However, he ultimately blamed it on the rise,” she stated.

“I can see their objectives with increasing the minimum wage, hoping that it will attract more workers,” the ex-manager added, “but I honestly don’t think it will work. This isn’t the first firm to close. There are already a few local businesses for me that are closing, so I believe this is just the beginning.”

Speaking on behalf of the now-unemployed Fosters Freeze staff, Navarro stated that they would have preferred to work at a reduced hourly wage rather than be laid off.

“From the people that I spoke to, my employees, we would have rather stayed at the wage that we did have before, just because now we don’t have a job,” said Navarro. “And those who continue to work in the places around us, where wages have risen to $20 per hour, have had their hours drastically reduced. And there are a lot fewer individuals working shifts. So their duties become much more tough.”

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