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Impact of a $20 Minimum Wage on California’s Large Restaurant Chains

Impact of a $20 Minimum Wafe on California’s Large Restaurant Chains

A recent article by GlobeSt highlighted a new California law effective April 1, mandating a $20 minimum wage for restaurants with at least 60 locations nationwide. This change has triggered a reassessment among restaurant owners, landlords, and industry professionals.

The restaurant expansion landscape in California is shifting. Some franchises are proceeding cautiously, while others see the wage increase as an opportunity, anticipating a potential exodus of restaurants from the state and aiming to occupy prime locations.

These changes have significant implications for commercial real estate. Insights from JLL indicate that the higher minimum wage could drive a move towards automated solutions in restaurants, such as digital kiosks, to maintain profitability.

However, the wage escalation could also lead to job losses and force a reevaluation of traditional business models, as highlighted by Kyle Gulock of Century Partners. The absence of ‘tip credits’ in California further strains operators’ profit margins, intensifying the search for innovative solutions.

John Few of SRS Real Estate Partners notes the paradoxical nature of rising wages post-Covid, indicating challenges for businesses, especially for small-scale operators. Pierre Debbas of Romer Debbas warns of potential shifts in demand for retail real estate as businesses consider relocating to more favorable jurisdictions.

Bob House, president of BizBuySell, underscores the broader impact of rising minimum wages on small businesses nationwide, emphasizing the need for innovative solutions.

As California’s restaurant industry adapts, stakeholders in commercial real estate must also adjust. At illi Commercial Real Estate, we comprehend the nuances of this evolving market and are dedicated to offering customized leasing solutions to help businesses thrive amidst change. Reach out to us today to explore how we can support your commercial real estate needs in California and beyond.

Source: – “Wage Hike Has Restaurant Owners Hesitant to Expand in California” (
Stuart Steinberg
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